We’re 5 weeks into the 2017 National Lacrosse League season, and we’re picking up on a trend.
This year’s crop of rookies aren’t so much about the flash and dash we saw last year and the season before. This year, it’s all about the blue collar ethic and steady production.
It’s a valuable asset, to be sure, and to many, it’s an asset that’s not appreciated as much as it should be. With just 9 teams in the league, there are plenty of veteran players to take care of the big games and entertainment value.
But for that to work, teams still need solid production from second and third lines and this year’s rookie are keen on providing that. That said, let’s see what’s going on after 5 NLL weekends with the Class of 2017.
Kyle Jackson (Rochester): The left-hander out of Sarnia scored a pair of goals, the second of which ended up being the game-winner for Rochester in Toronto. He also added an assist and has a team-leading 17 points through 3 games.
Ryan Keenan (Saskatchewan): The left-hander out of Oshawa was held to 0 points for the first time this season, but he contributed in other ways with 2 loose balls and a caused turnover in Friday’s home win over Vancouver. The 10 points he scored in the Rush’s first 3 games are welcome, of course, but the Rush are in the comfortable position of being able to absorb games like this from forwards because they’ve got so many other sticks to pick up where others may be off.
Josh Currier (Rochester): Another game, another 3 points for the right-hander out of Peterborough. Currier had 1 goal and 2 assists in Saturday’s road win over Toronto and has scored at least 1 goal in all 4 games for Rochester this season to give him 14 so far.
Tom Schreiber (Toronto): The right-hander out of East Meadow, N.Y., added 2 more goals (on 7 shots) and had 3 assists for his second straight 5-point game. He’s had at least 3 assists in all 3 games for Toronto this season.
Holden Cattoni (Calgary): The lefty out of Calgary had 1 goal and 1 assist in Saturday’s home win over Colorado, along with 3 loose balls. The goal was timed well, too, coming with 7:29 left in the game to give the Riggers an 11-8 lead and a bit of breathing room down the stretch.
Dan Lomas (Rochester): The lefty-out of Burlington has been playing so well that the return of 3 veterans to the Rochester lineup didn’t affect his status. He came through with 3 assists in Saturday’s road win over Toronto and he’s obviously working well with veteran right-hander Joe Resetarits, who scored 3 goals with assists on all 3 from Lomas.
Mike Messenger (Saskatchewan): The right-hander out of Surrey had 1 loose ball and caused 2 turnovers in Friday’s home win in which the Rush held the stacked Vancouver offense t 12 goals.
Kieran McArdle (Toronto): The left-hander out of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., had just 1 assist but his hustle produced 6 loose balls for the Rock in Saturday’s home loss to Rochester. It’s his first game of the season he failed to score a goal.
Challen Rogers (Toronto): The right-hander out of Coquitlam had just 1 loose ball in Saturday’s home loss to Rochester, but he was part of a unit that still put in an impressive performance in allowing just 9 goals.
Latrell Harris (Toronto): The right-hander out of St. Catharines continued his work as a vacuum, scooping 9 in Saturday’s home loss to Rochester. He’s got 26 for the season, second-most on the team.
Defenseman John Rae, a right-hander out of Barrie who was on Colorado’s roster in 2011, made his NLL debut with Rochester against Toronto on Saturday … Toronto’s Mike MacDonald, a lefty out of Georgetown, Ontario, had an assist and a pair of loose balls in Saturday’s home loss to Rochester … Colorado D Taylor Stuart had 3 loose balls and forced a pair of turnovers in Saturday’s road loss to Calgary … Colorado F Jacob Ruest had 1 goal, 1 assist and 4 loose balls in Saturday’s road loss to Calgary … Calgary D Chad Cummings continued his strong play in the back end, scooping 5 loose balls in Saturday’s home win over Colorado … Georgia D Leo Stouros had a pair of loose balls in Saturday’s road win over Vancouver … Georgia T Bryan Cole had his string of 3 straight games with a goal snapped, but he still contributed in Saturday’s road win over Vancouver with 2 loose balls … Vancouver D Justin Goodwin had 3 loose balls and a pair of caused turnovers in Saturday’s home loss to Georgia … F James Rahe made his debut for Vancouver, playing both games over the weekend. He had 2 assists in Saturday’s road loss to Saskatchewan, then scored his first NLL goal and had 2 more assists in Saturday’s home loss to Georgia … Vancouver T Brendan Fowler played both weekend games for the Stealth, winning 14 of 32 draws on Friday in Saskatchewan, then winning 17 of 30 on Saturday at home against Georgia. He scooped a total of 14 loose balls in the weekend doubleheader.