It’s all about the lefty forwards this week in the IL Indoor Rookie Report. I’m stepping in for Mike Mackley for the Week 8 edition of the rookie rankings and I was most impressed by a trio of lefties who stepped up and played like veterans for their respective teams. There was also a lefty forward making his National Lacrosse League debut: Dan Taylor drew into the lineup for his first game with the Saskatchewan Rush and played alright. His pair of assists and generally quiet night won’t get him into this week’s top 10 rookies—it’s far too strong a freshman class for that—but it does bode well for him to continue to get some playing time and a chance to adapt to the NLL game and make an impact down the road.
Look for a different style of Rookie Report next week when Mackley returns. To this point, we’ve been listing the top 10 performances of each week of the NLL season. Starting next week, Mackley will list his top 10 rookies (and maybe some honourable mentions) for the season to this point, giving you an inside track on his leading candidates in the Rookie of the Year race.
Reilly O’Connor (LF) Calgary Roughnecks
2 G – 4 A – 6 PTS – 0 PIM – 9 SOG – 7 LB – 3 TO – 0 CTO
O’Connor had been getting better each week lately, but this was his breakout performance. In the absence of the injured Dane Dobbie, O’Connor played the role the Roughnecks likely anticipated from him but may not have expected him to step into so soon. He was a leader for Calgary’s offence, confidently handling the ball and achieving an effective mix of shooting and passing. There was no question that O’Connor had the talent to eventually be an impact player in the NLL, it was just a question of when he would adjust to the pace of the professional game. He took big strides in that direction in Week 8.
Wesley Berg (RF) Calgary Roughnecks
0 G – 3 A – 3 PTS – 2 PIM – 5 SOG – 6 LB – 6 TO – 0 CTO
Not that Berg was bad on Saturday night, but when you don’t score a goal on eight shots it makes half a dozen turnovers look worse than if they were balanced by a bigger contribution on the positive side of the score sheet. Rookie seasons tend to be about ebbs and flows; Berg had a bit of an ebb in Week 8 but expect his tide to rise again when he gets back on the turf.