Two of the Bayhawks pivotal players are having a major impact in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) this season. Philadelphia Wings’ Drew Westervelt and the Colorado Mammoth’s John Grant, Jr. have been key factors in each of their team’s games the past two weeks.
The Philadelphia Wings came into their match-up with the Toronto Rock January 19
th carrying an undefeated record. One team would end the game with their first loss.
Following a phenomenal first quarter by Toronto’s Nick Rose, holding the visiting Wings scoreless, the Rock maintained the lead throughout the entire game until the final minutes.
In what seemed to be a solid 7-4 lead with less than 8 minutes left in the game, the Rock found themselves in a great position. But a five-goal spree from the Wings offense in the final minutes of the game resulted in Philadelphia's first and only lead of the night.
Joel White started the Wings’ rally with an unassisted goal, while Kevin Ross bounced a ball past Rose 30 seconds later with 5:28 remaining. Breaking ahead of a defenseman, Kevin Crowley caught a pass from Ned Crotty to tie the game with 2:14 to go.
With overtime approaching, Philadelphia Wings’
Drew Westervelt scored a tiebreaker that resulted in the game-winning goal. Stunning the Air Canada Centre crowd of 11,703, Westervelt made a cut back from behind the Rock goal to tuck the ball behind Rose with 10.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. A video review was required to determine if Westervelt avoided the crease with his winner, however, the goal stood, keeping the Wings undefeated and giving the Rock their first loss.
The Philadelphia Wings (2-0) became the NLL’s only unbeaten team with their 8-7 comeback road win against Toronto. In the victory, Kevin Crowley led the Wings with three goals, Westervelt had two and Brodie Merrill, Joel White and Kevin Ross each got one.
This past Saturday, in a re-match of their home opener, where Philadelphia came away with the victory 13-8, the Wings traveled to Buffalo to take on the Bandits.
The game opened at a fast pace with five goals in the first five minutes of play. Tied at halftime 8-8, both teams were neck-in-neck. Heading into the fourth quarter, Buffalo took a 12-10 lead.
Staying in the game, Philadelphia converted two early fourth-quarter goals to even the game back up at 12-12. However, John Tavares, a Bandits captain, broke the tie with 4 minutes left to play.
With the Bandits gaining a man advantage after an illegal hit by the Wings Paul Rabil at the 1:50 mark, Philadelphia’s chances were looking slim.
The Wings refused to give up however and Drew Westervelt scored with just 43 seconds left. This marked the second straight game in which Westervelt scored a clutch goal late.
After Philadelphia’s goal, the Bandits proceeded to call a time-out to plan the game-winning goal. The man advantage proved to be too much for the Wings, with Luke Wiles scoring with 23.6 seconds remaining. Buffalo handed Philadelphia their first loss with the 14-13 victory.
In a quick turnaround, the Wings had to return home to play the Calgary Roughnecks the following day.
Philadelphia experienced a slow start resulting in a Calgary lead of 4-0 after the first quarter. By halftime, the Roughnecks extended their lead to 8-2.
However, the Wings came out fast in the third quarter, outscoring the Roughnecks 5-2. But the Calgary attack was too much, resulting in a 16-8 victory.
The Wings entered Week 4 as the NLL's only undefeated team, but after losing two back-to-back games this weekend, they have an even .500 record. Philadelphia will get a much needed bye next weekend.
After an opening night loss to the Washington Stealth in which Colorado trailed the entire game, the Mammoth found themselves in a familiar position against their arch-rivals, the Calgary Roughnecks in Week 2.
Starting both of their seasons off with a loss, the Mammoth and Roughnecks were each looking for their first win. Both teams came out at full speed, particularly the Roughnecks who had seven different players score in the first-half. Mammoth forward, John Grant, Jr. kept his team within striking distance early with a hat trick in the second quarter as Calgary led 7-4 at halftime.
Less than a minute into the third quarter, Grant, Jr., the 2012 National Lacrosse League MVP, scored his fourth goal of the night. Calgary's Shawn Evans responded with two goals of his own before Grant then added his fifth goal of the game. After 45 minutes, the Roughnecks still held an 11-8 lead over the Mammoth.
Calgary went up 12-8 after a goal by Jeff Shattler, but Colorado answered with four late goals in the final five minutes to drag the game into overtime. Grant scored his sixth of the night with 4:17 left, Jordan McBride added one a minute later and Gavin Prout a minute after that, before Adam Jones tied the game at 12-12 with 1:20 left remaining in the game.
After erasing a four goal deficit, the Mammoth beat the Calgary Roughnecks 13-12 with a game-winning goal by Sean Pollock in overtime.
The Colorado Mammoth improved their team to 1-1 while the Calgary Roughnecks dropped to 0-2.
The rivals met in a rematch this past Friday night. The Roughnecks earned their first win of the season and responded to last week’s overtime loss with a dominant 19-12 win over the Colorado Mammoth on the road.
By the end of the first quarter, Calgary recorded six unanswered goals. The Mammoth’s Gavin Prout scored early in the second, cutting the Roughnecks lead to 5 going into halftime. In order to prevent another comeback from Colorado, the Roughnecks continued their aggressive approach. They ended up scoring 3 goals in the opening 90 seconds of the fourth quarter, all but locking up the win.
Recording 13 points (4 +9), the most by any NLL player this season, Shawn Evans effectively led the Calgary offense throughout the game. Mammoth captain Gavin Prout led all Colorado players with seven points (2+5), while John Grant Jr. (3+5) and Adam Jones (2+3) also provided offensively in the team’s second loss at home.
The Colorado Mammoth (1-2) look to get their first home win this upcoming Saturday, Feb. 2 against the Minnesota Swarm (1-2).