Justin Ivey, Co-Editor and NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: K. Richelle
The Albany Firewolves (9-9) could still have made the playoffs if the New York Riptide (6-12) beat them for a second time this season. At the end of March, the Riptide hosted the first matchup and handily won 15-6. Since pretty much that loss, Albany has been fighting every week to stay in the playoff race, winning at Vancouver and at home against a tough Philadelphia team. New York is out, but that doesn’t mean that the plethora of players who played with on the previous Firewolves iterations didn’t want to spoil the Black Out night at MVP Arena. The Riptide jumped out to an early lead, but the Firewolves stayed calm and tied the game by half time. Using a nine-goal unanswered run to start the second half, the Firewolves decided their own playoff destiny and left the home fans with a win in their final regular season game. Final Score: New York-9, New England-17.
Callum Crawford (1G, 2A), arguably the MVP of the shortened season last year while he was a member of the New England Black Wolves, opened the scoring for New York against his former team 1:32 in. Andrew Kew (5G,2A) started his career night with the equalizer just about two minutes later when he found himself left alone in front of Riptide goaltender Steve Orleman (28SV). A delayed penalty call gave New York the opportunity to go six on five where rookie record setter Jeff Teat (1G, 4A) added to his season point total with a beautiful goal. Dan Lomas (3G) stretched the lead to two goals four minutes later with a transition score. A Firewolves goal from Reilly O’Connor (2G, 4A) followed but was answered before the first quarter ended by veteran Kieran McArdle (1G). AT the end of the first quarter, New York led Albany 4-2.
The Riptide would see their largest lead of the game come on the first goal of the second quarter. Larson Sundown (1G) made it a three-goal margin just 54 seconds in. O’Connor put up his second of the night just 16 seconds later and you could sense the Firewolves were starting to get their game legs. Joe Resetarits (5G, 6A) added to his record setting season point total with his first of the game on a power play opportunity and suddenly Albany was only down one just over two minutes in. Just over two minutes later, Resetarits scored again, this time charging at the net and diving across the crease. The defenses clamped down until Tyler Digby (1G, 1A), another former New England player, scored a shorthanded goal with 1:37 remaining. Calling a timeout with just seconds on the clock, Coach Clark drew up a play that got Charlie Kitchen (1G, 1A) free enough in the middle to score a behind the back goal, tying the game once again. At the half, New York and Albany were tied 6-6.
Albany came out of the break determined and they put together possibly their best quarter of lacrosse all season. Doug Jameison (23SV), who must be in the conversation for Goaltender of the Year, did not allow a goal. The defense made it tough for New York to get good shots off ball movement, and the offense caught fire. Specifically, Kew, who tallied four goals in the quarter to bring his game total to five. Nick Chaykowsky (1G, 1A) was the one who got things started though, scoring in transition to give the Firewolves their first lead of the game. Ryan Benesch (2G, 5A) also scored in the quarter on the powerplay. At the end of the third quarter, Albany led New York 12-6.
Albany’s dominance continued to start the fourth quarter as they scored three more goals in the first five minutes. Two goals from Resetarits sandwiched a big effort transition goal from Adam Bomberry (1G), his first of the season. Since the start of the half, the nine-goal unanswered run had Albany comfortably leading 15-6, ironically the same score the previous meeting ended in. Lomas finally broke the drought, scoring on Firewolves backup Ethan Woods (3SV), but with 5:52 left, it was too late. Resetarits and Benesch both added to the Albany total finding the net behind Riptide backup Will Johnston (3SV). Lomas would score again, and the final goal of the game was scored by New York’s Darryl Robertson (1G). Final Score: New York-9, Albany-7
The Albany Firewolves (9-9) landed as the four seed in the East and will visit the one seed Buffalo Bandits (14-4) Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET.