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GAME 8 MATCHUP PREVIEW – FIREWOLVES VS DESERT DOGS

The Albany FireWolves (2-5) return to their home turf this Saturday, February 18, at 7:00 p.m. for a matchup against the Las Vegas Desert Dogs (2-5).  Being that Las Vegas was an expansion team prior to this season, this will be the first time these two teams have ever played against each other.  Las Vegas enters the game after defeating the defending NLL champion Colorado Mammoth last week.  This weekend’s game can be watched on My4 Albany or ESPN Plus.

FireWolves Players to Watch: 

Kieran McArdle has been a key part of the FireWolves’ new look offense in his first season with the club.  He leads the team with 32 total points and 20 assists, and ranks second on the team with 12 goals.  Though the team fell short of what would have been an incredible comeback last weekend, McArdle posted seven points on two goals and five assists. His second goal of the contest sparked a seven-goal run for Albany as they willed their way back into the game.  As the offense continues to gel, McArdle will be heavily leaned on to continue to provide firepower.  Don’t be surprised to see another impressive stat line out of the team’s top scorer this weekend.

Zac Tucci filled a huge void at the faceoff dot in his first career game last weekend.  Signed just the day before the game, Tucci won 13 faceoffs in his debut.  Those 13 wins were the team’s most since Week 1. Since Joe Nardella suffered a season-ending injury, Albany has been struggling in the faceoff department, but as Tucci continues to learn the box game, he could be the answer the team needed.  Tucci’s addition to the club will create extra possessions for the offense, hopefully translating to more goals.

Nick Chaykowsky has played a pivotal role on the defensive unit for the FireWolves this season.  Statistically, the defender tops the team with nine caused turnovers and ranks second with 40 loose ball recoveries.  Chaykowsky can do a little bit of everything, and last weekend, he even scooped up a ball after a Tucci faceoff win and turned it into a quick goal for Albany.  Chaykowsky and the FireWolves defense will need to keep up the strong play and limit the amount of open looks on net the Desert Dogs see in order to snap a three-game skid. 

Opposing Players to Watch:  

Rob Hellyer is a guy the FireWolves saw multiple times last season.  The forward was a member of the Toronto Rock since 2011 before being traded to Las Vegas over the summer.  The veteran has been a staple in the Desert Dog offense, leading the team with 40 total points on nine goals and 31 assists this year.  Hellyer has proven throughout his career that he can put up big numbers, and is entering the game fresh off a five-point performance when the Desert Dogs took down the defending champs.  He has a knack for setting up teammates with scoring opportunities and Albany must find a way to limit that ability and shut down passing lanes.  

Jack Hannah may only be a rookie in the NLL, but he has made an immediate impact for the league’s newest franchise.  Entering this weekend, Hannah leads the team with 16 goals, and is second on the team in total points with 28.  Hannah played his best game to date last weekend, compiling nine points on six goals and three assists.  Despite the two-win record for Albany, the defense has been pretty stout.  That defensive unit has to keep an eye on the young forward and try to limit how many he puts into the back of the net in this one to come away with a much needed home win.

While both Las Vegas goaltenders have seen time in all seven games this season, Landon Kells has been the team’s primary netminder.  Like Hannah, Kells is coming off his best game as a pro last weekend.  He recorded 41 saves and allowed a season-low eight goals.  The FireWolves offense started out slow last weekend against the Riptide, but then the flood gates opened as the team scored seven unanswered.  Albany will look to get ahead early on the young goalie and then rely on their tough defense to close out a victory to get back on a winning track. 

This will be the first and only time Albany and Las Vegas face each other in the regular season.

Fans can secure their tickets now for Albany’s next home game on Saturday, February 18 against the Las Vegas Desert Dogs!  For more information regarding tickets and Box Out Cancer night, visit www.AlbanyFireWolves.com or call/text the FireWolves front office at 518-362-4900.

About Albany FireWolves

The Albany FireWolves is the Capital Region’s very own Professional Box Lacrosse team, playing in the National Lacrosse League out of the MVP Arena in downtown Albany, NY. For more information, contact the Albany FireWolves Front Office at (518) 362-4900 or visit AlbanyFireWolves.com. Follow the team on Facebook at facebook.com/AlbFireWolves, Twitter @AlbFireWolves, and Instagram @AlbFireWolves.

About the National Lacrosse League

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s premier professional lacrosse league. Founded in 1986, the NLL ranks third in average attendance for pro indoor sports worldwide, behind only the NHL and NBA. The League is comprised of 15 franchises across the United States and Canada: Albany FireWolves, Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, Las Vegas Desert Dogs, New York Riptide, Panther City Lacrosse Club (TX), Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors.

For more information, visit NLL.com and find @NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For more information visit NLL.com.

About ASM Global
ASM Global is the world’s leading venue management and services company. The company was formed by the combination of AEG Facilities and SMG, global leaders in venue and event strategy and management. The company’s elite venue network spans five continents, with a portfolio of more than 325 of the world’s most prestigious arenas, stadiums, convention, and exhibition centers, and performing arts venues. From Aberdeen to Anchorage, and Sydney to Stockholm, its venues connect people through the unique power of live experiences. ASM Global’s diverse portfolio of clients benefit from the company’s depth of resources and unparalleled experience, expertise and creative problem solving. Each day, the company’s 61,000 passionate employees around the world deliver locally tailored solutions and cutting-edge technologies to deliver maximum results for venue owners and amazing experiences for guests. By consistently looking for new ways to envision, innovate and empower the spaces and places that bring people together, ASM Global elevates the human spirit while delivering the highest value for all stakeholders. For more information, please visit www.asmglobal.com.

About MVP Arena
MVP Arena is a full-service entertainment and sports facility featuring a wide variety of family shows, sporting events, trade shows and concerts. Owned by Albany County and managed by ASM Global, MVP Arena opened in 1990 and is home to the Albany FireWolves of the National Lacrosse League, the Albany Empire of the National Arena League and the Division I Men’s College Basketball Siena Saints. For more information, please visit https://www.mvparena.com/.

Albany FireWolves