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GAME PREVIEW: FIREWOLVES VISIT RUSH FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE SPECIAL

Saskatoon, SK – It will be a National Lacrosse League New Year’s Eve Special as the Albany FireWolves (3-0) visit the Saskatchewan Rush (1-2) this Sunday, December 31 at 8 pm ET at the Sasktel Centre in Saskatoon, SK. Tune into ESPN+, TSN+, or locally on MY4 as the FireWolves aim to stay undefeated. 

Coming off of a two-week break, Albany is still at the top of the league thanks to their talented young offense, great goaltending from Doug Jamieson, and a hard-working culture that has brought them success early this season. The Rush are coming off a 17-5 win against Las Vegas, which should make for an exciting finale to 2023 as these two teams provide some fireworks in front of the dedicated Rush fans. 

Maintaining Momentum 

With 44 goals scored in 3 games, the FireWolves’ offense leads the league and has been the fuel for their great start. Keeping that scoring rate going will be crucial and with such a balanced offense they have plenty of players who will be ready to step up. Ethan Walker and Alex Simmons have 20 points each while Tye Kurtz, Travis Longboat, and Sam Firth all have 15 points. Albany has also been great on loose balls and working hard in between the lines as Joe Nardella is winning 69.9% of his faceoffs. Keeping all of this momentum going on both ends of the floor will be the formula for success for the FireWolves.

New Year’s Resolutions  

The FireWolves have been terrific in almost every category so far this season, but one area they can improve is their power play. They are 3 for 20 through three games on the man advantage and if they can convert on more of these opportunities, they will give themselves an even better chance to outscore their opponents. The young offense is building chemistry with each game played, so look for their power play unit to begin to improve against the Rush and into 2024.  

Scouting The Rush 

Albany has not played against Saskatchewan since 2022 when they defeated the Rush 10-5. So far this season, Zach Manns (10g, 7a), Robert Church (9g, 8a), and Ryan Keenan (3g, 14a) lead the team with 17 points and they have transition threats with players like Jake Boudreau (2g, 7a) and Mike Messenger (2g, 3a). Frank Scigliano will be in net and has a 11.91 GAA and 78.4 Save Percentage through three games. They dropped their first two games against Halifax and Rochester, but turned things around in their 17-5 win against Las Vegas. Playing in front of their home crowd, the Rush will be eager to take a shot at the 3-0 FireWolves.  

FireWolves Players To Watch 

Nathan Grenon scored his first goals as a member of the FireWolves with 2 against Philadelphia while also adding 2 assists. Grenon plays with an edge and is not afraid to mix it up in the middle. Look for him to continue to score and get more comfortable in the offense.  

Alex Simmons is the front runner for rookie of the year with 20 points in his first three NLL games. He has the most shots on the team with 40 and his fearless play will continue to be a huge part of the team’s success.  

Anthony Joaquim was acquired in a trade from Colorado on December 26 and the defenseman will add experience and transition goal scoring to an already solid Albany defense. Joaquim won an NLL Championship in 2022 and will give a boost to this young FireWolves squad. 

Opposing Players To Watch  

Zach Manns was traded to the Rush in the offseason and has been the catalyst for their offense so far this season. He is an elite shooter, can weave his way through the defense, and is a great feeder. The FireWolves defense will need to key in on him to limit his scoring.  

Frank Scigliano is in his twelfth NLL season and the veteran goaltender was brought to Saskatchewan in the offseason to anchor the Rush defense. It’s been rough going so far, but Scigliano is still a top goalie in the league and the FireWolves shooters will need to work hard to beat him.  

Ryan Keenan has been the quarterback of the Rush offense for several seasons and has great vision with 13 assists so far this season. Son of head coach Derek Keenan, he will be orchestrating the plays on the floor.  

Single game tickets for the 2023-2024 FireWolves season are available now! Join us for Country Night on January 6 at MVP Arena and experience FireWolves lacrosse. For more information regarding tickets, 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. 

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