Albany NY – The Albany FireWolves (1-0) welcome the defending NLL Champions the Buffalo Bandits (0-0) for their home opener this Saturday, December 9 at 7 pm at MVP Arena.
The FireWolves are coming off a thrilling 12-10 win in their season opener against the Las Vegas Desert Dogs and are riding that momentum into a big test for this young team.
New Kids On The Block
The FireWolves rookies and new faces on the team were outstanding against Vegas as they pulled off the comeback after going down 6-3. Tye Kurtz and Alex Simmons fared well in their first NLL action with both scoring two goals that helped them seal the win. Two more newcomers to the FireWolves Sam Firth and Travis Longboat were also impressive in their debuts as Firth scored 2 goals and Longboat scored what would be the game winning goal in the 4th Quarter.
Return To The Capital
This will be the first home game of the season for the FireWolves who return to MVP Arena for their third season in the Capital Region. The FireWolves players and staff have been working hard to connect with the Albany community through school visits, community service events, and the AFW Training Academy. A great crowd should be on hand to cheer on the FireWolves.
Scouting The Champs
This game is the Bandits first of the season and the majority of their 2023 championship roster returns for the start of their title defense. Future hall of fame goalie Matt Vinc will be back in net for his eighteenth NLL season along with their captain Steve Priolo who will hold down the defense. Dhane Smith was voted the #1 forward by the league coaches and GMs and limiting his point production will be crucial for the FireWolves. Last season the FireWolves went into Buffalo for the first game of the season and beat the Bandits 11-10. Can they surprise Buffalo once again?
FireWolves Players To Watch
Kurtz was voted the Rookie of the Week by the NLL after a dazzling 2 goal and 3 assist performance in his first NLL game. He showed off his creativity with a behind the back goal and made an immediate impact on the offense. Look for #2 to get more comfortable in game #2.
Firth was acquired from Las Vegas in the offseason and had a triumphant return against his old club scoring 2 goals and adding 3 assists. He brings a gritty game to the left side of the offense and compliments the games of fellow lefties Ethan Walker and Marshall Powless well.
The defenseman was all over the floor against Las Vegas as he dished out 2 assists, picked up 6 loose balls, and caused 2 turnovers. Having players like Reid making an impact on offense and defense will be vital for the FireWolves to find success against the Bandits.
Opposing Players To Watch
Between the regular season and playoffs, Smith scored a whopping 51 goals and 130 assists for 181 points total last season. With his change of direction, precision shooting, and vision he will be a handful for the FireWolves defense.
Cloutier put up big numbers in both meetings against the FireWolves last season. He had 5 points (2G, 3A) in the first game and 5 points (4G, 1A) in the second game.
Vinc remains one of the best goalies in the league despite getting up there in age. He won his fourth NLL Championship last season with the Bandits, but he obviously still has more lacrosse left in the tank. The FireWolves shooters will have to get him moving side to side to beat the veteran goaltender.
Single game tickets for the 2023-2024 FireWolves season are available now! 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/.