February 11, 2011

NLL Week 6 Floor Pass: Previews, Audio

by Corey McLaughlin | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Buffalo's John Tavares, one goal shy of becoming the NLL's first 700-goal scorer, can reach the mark Saturday against Philadelphia.

A meeting of the East and West Division leaders, the Toronto Rock and Calgary Roughnecks Saturday night in Toronto, highlights week 6 of the National Lacrosse League season. It's one of four games hosted by East teams this weekend. Only the home-and-home series between Washington and Edmonton will be played in West arenas.

Here's a look at this weekend's six games, including several sound bytes from Wednesday's conference call with coaches. Check back to laxmagazine.com each week for game-by-game breakdowns and more audio from around the NLL. (All game times are local.)

Washington Stealth (3-3) at Edmonton Rush (0-5), 7 p.m. Friday
Edmonton Rush (0-5) at Washington Stealth (3-3), 7:30 p.m. Saturday

The Stealth and Rush play a home-and-home series in the first rematches of last year's West finals. Washington started the season 1-2, but coach Chris Hall thinks the team has reached the end of a possible championship hangover. "It didn't take long to figure out there's no freebies around here," Hall said.

The Rush is still searching for its first win of the season. Said coach Derek Keenan: "0-5 is not good, but you don't hide from it. You don't run from it. You got to face it head on and learn from it, get better and move forward. We're still in the thick of it so we have to be positive about it."

Listen to Washington coach Chris Hall talk about the Stealth's 10-8 win at Colorado last week, if the team is over its championship hangover and differences between last year and this year.

Listen to Edmonton coach Derek Keenan on coming off the bye week, the matchup with Washington, differences between this year and last and the attitude he feels the team needs.

Buffalo Bandits (3-2) at Philadelphia Wings (3-3), 7 p.m. Saturday

The Bandits' John Tavares is now one goal shy of becoming the first in league history with 700 goals, and he figures to reach the milestone in this East Division matchup. Philadelphia, after winning three games in a row, fell to Rochester last week, scoring just six goals. But coach John Tucker anticipates that the Wings' offense, led by comeback story Athan Iannucci (13g, 14a) and Drew Westervelt (10g, 8a), will get back on track.

Listen to Buffalo assistant coach Rich Kilgour assess the Bandits' last game, what to think about this game and wax poetic on the abilities of Mark Steenhuis.

Listen to Philadelphia coach John Tucker talk about rebounding from the Rochester loss and goaltender Brandon Miller making the all-star game.

Calgary Roughnecks (4-2) at Toronto Rock (4-2), 7 p.m. Saturday

It's a matchup of two first-place teams, Toronto in the East and Calgary in the West, though Roughnecks coach Dave Pym played the underdog role this week, saying the Rock "are the No. 1 ranked team in the league ... and are expected to win it all this year."

The Rock split the season series with the Roughnecks last year. The Roughnecks won the first meeting 10-8, while the Rock won 9-8. Toronto lost to Boston, 9-7, last weekend.

Listen to Calgary coach Dave Pym talk about the season to date, the matchup with Toronto and Curtis Dickson, January's league rookie of the month.

Listen to Toronto general manager Terry Sanderson on the loss to Boston, the game with Calgary, how the offense needs to improve  and if this is a statement game for the Rock. Hint: He doesn't.

Colorado Mammoth (1-4) at Boston Blazers (4-3), 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Colorado suffered another close defeat last week at Washington, but this one was more painful than the rest. The Mammoth led in the final minutes, but the Stealth scored three straight goals to win, 10-8. It was the first time Colorado had lost my more than one goal this season. On the other side last weekend, Boston, had its "most complete performance of the season," coach Matt Sawyer said, in a 9-7 win over West Division leading Toronto.

Listen to Colorado coach Bob Hamley explain another close loss and the frustration of losing so many close games.

Listen to Boston coach Matt Sawyer talk about last weekend's win over Toronto, Josh Sanderson and the Blazers' defense.

Minnesota Swarm (3-2) at Rochester Knighthawks (3-2), 7:35 p.m. Saturday

Mike Lines was unhappy with the Swarm's defensive effort last weekend in a 15-12 loss to the Buffalo Bandits, and would like to see improvement against Rochester. "We had breakdowns non-stop the whole game," Lines said. "Guys in Buffalo stood in front of our net and outworked us. It was one of those games that every team has. Hopefully we got it of our system." Rochester got its first home win a week ago, and will look to string two together.

Listen to Minnesota coach Mike Lines about what he'd like to see from Swarm this week, Ryan Benesch, Nick Patterson and the Swarm defense.

Listen to Rochester coach Mike Hasen on the Knighthawks' first home win, Jordan Hall's debut, Gary Gait's retirement and faceoff woes.



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