Justin Ivey, Co-Editor and NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: K. Richelle
The Albany Firewolves (1-2) used a quick start on Saturday night behind strong play from faceoff savant Joe Nardella (1G, 1A, 14/16 FO) to get their first win since the move from Connecticut. The defense was stifling with the return of Brett Manney and Adam Bomberry to the lineup in front of a stone-cold Doug Jamieson (31 SV) in net. They beat a struggling Saskatchewan Rush (1-3) who could not find any offensive rhythm through the contest despite the huge effort from Robert Church (3G). Final Score: Saskatchewan – 5, Albany – 10.
Faceoff wins can create momentum in a lacrosse game that is tough to compare to any other sport possession. Nardella’s prowess at the dot allowed Albany to net two goals in under a minute to start the first quarter. Jackson Nishimura (1G) scored just 12 seconds in off a rebound from Tony Malcolm (2A) and on the next possession, Nardella hockey assisted a goal by Joe Resetarits (2G, 1A) after picking up his own ground ball. With only 39 seconds off the clock, Saskatchewan hadn’t even touched the ball and were down two. Albany would make it 3-0 as Reilly O’Connor (1G, 1A) scored 6:10 in before a powerplay goal by Dan Litner (1G) finally got the Rush on the board with 1:25 remaining. At the end of the first quarter, Albany led Saskatchewan 3-1.
Fresh from the trade this week from Panther City, veteran Ryan Benesch (2G) opened the scoring in the second quarter extending the lead to three goals again for Albany. The goal came 2:38 into the frame. Saskatchewan quickly answered as Mark Matthews (1G, 2A) found the net under 20 seconds later. Just two minutes later, Church would score his first of the game cutting the deficit to just one. For the rest of the quarter, neither offense was able to break through as Jameison and Rush goaltender Adam Shute (37 SV) stood strong between their respective pipes. At halftime, Albay led Saskatchewan 4-3.
The defensive foothold continued after the halftime break. Both sides were able to get some good looks, but it took nearly half the quarter before the first goal. Church fired home a shot after the pass from Ryan Keenan (2A) and Saskatchewan completed the comeback tying the game 4-4 with 7:48 remaining in the third. It would slip their grasp with a beauty from sophomore Andrew Kew (2G, 1A) with 5:23 remaining. Nardella decided to take the next face off all the way home himself, doubling the lead in a mere eight seconds. Playing with a needed sense of urgency, Church completed his hat trick on the powerplay with 2:42 remaining and the third quarter ended with Albany leading Saskatchewan 6-5.
The fourth quarter was all Albany, much to the enjoyment of the home crowd witnessing their second home Firewolves game. Jamieson and the Firewolves’ defense held the Rush to zero goals. The offense clicked as well, posting their highest quarter total of the game. Benesch, Kew and Resetarits each found the back of the net for the second time in the game before Tanner Thompson (1G) scored the final tally with under a minute remaining. Final Score: Saskatchewan – 5, Albany – 10.
The Saskatchewan Rush (1-3) host the San Diego Seals (3-1) on Friday, January 14 at 8:30 PM EST.
The Albany Firewolves (1-2) visit the Philadelphia Wings (3-1) on Saturday, January 15 at 12:00 PM EST.