Coming off a tough 15-13 road loss to inner-state foes, Rochester Knighthawks, Albany is set to play their second and final back-to-back slate of the regular season this weekend. Currently sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Division, the FireWolves get two divisional games this weekend with a chance to make waves in the ranks. The first game will be on Friday, February 18, at the KeyBank Arena in Buffalo at 7:30 p.m. and televised on ESPNews. The second game will be on Saturday, February 19, back in Albany at the MVP Arena at 7 p.m. and televised on My4 Albany. Both games can also be heard on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.
Both the Bandits and Rock enter this weekend having played each other just last Saturday. Toronto bested Buffalo, 12-10, as the Bandits suffered their first loss of the season. The Rock came out hot, starting the game with an early 4-1 lead after the first quarter, but Buffalo fought back to tie the game in the fourth quarter, only for Toronto to pull away with three consecutive late goals and secure the victory. Currently, both teams sit ahead of the FireWolves in the standings with the one-loss Bandits holding the top spot in the East while Toronto has a game over Albany in the third spot. This will be the first time the FireWolves and Bandits meet this season. Albany has already faced Toronto, falling 10-9 in the opening weekend of the NLL season.
FireWolves Players to Watch:
Joe Resetarits has been a man on a mission, further proving that he is one of the best forwards in the game. His 47 total points on 20 goals and 27 assists all lead the team. He also ranks inside of the top five in the league in both points and goals so far on the season. Resetarits followed up a 19-point back-to-back weekend against Georgia with a 10-point outing last weekend against Rochester. Resetarits has been one half of a lethal combination on the opposite side of the floor with Ryan Benesch. Going up against two of the top teams in the league this weekend, the FireWolves will need Resetarits to continue to get quality looks on net while lighting up the stat sheet in both games.
Reilly O’Connor has quietly had himself a solid season thus far, ranking third on the team with 25 total points and 18 assists, and fifth on the team with seven goals. The assistant captain has been on a tear of his own of late, scoring 16 points over his last three games. In last weekend’s loss to the Knighthawks, O’Connor logged four points on one goal and three assists. Look for lefty to provide not only leadership to the team, but a hot stick for the offense as they face two of the toughest goaltenders in the league.
Doug Jamieson has followed up his Goaltender of the Year season with another outstanding start to the 2021-22 campaign, giving the team a chance to win every night. In the team’s eight games, Jamieson has allowed just 82 goals while saving 290 shots at a .780 percent clip. Even despite the loss to the Rock back in December, Jamieson only allowed 10 goals. If Jamieson and the FireWolves defense can hold both Buffalo and Toronto to under 10 goals in either contest, there is a real shot that Albany can not only walk away with two wins on the weekend but gain ground in the standings.
Buffalo Players to Watch:
Dhane Smith has been on an absolute tear through Buffalo’s first seven games, tallying a team-high 47 points and 32 assists while his 15 goals rank him second on the team. His 47 total points tie him with Resetarits and are good for the third most in the league. Smith’s 32 assists tie him for the second most in league ranks. The forward is coming off a five-point performance despite Buffalo’s first loss a week ago, adding two goals and three assists to his season totals. The FireWolves defense has been a strong point so far this season and must try to at least limit the damage of one of the best offensive players to come out with a win on the road against the first place Bandits.
Josh Byrne, like Smith, is another forward who has had his way with opposing defenses thus far on the season. His 16 goals are the most on the Bandits with his 35 total points and 19 assists ranking second just behind Smith. Though Byrne was held in check last weekend with just one goal and one assist, he is more than capable of putting up huge offensive numbers. Through seven games, Byrne has scored five or more points in four of them. The combo of Smith and Byrne have caused issues for the opposition all season long and will be a great matchup as the duo goes head-to-head with one of the best defensive units in the game.
Goaltender Matt Vinc has been a huge reason for the Bandits’ success so far this season and why they currently sit atop the Eastern Division. With a record of 6-1, Vinc has stood on his head all season, allowing just 70 goals in Buffalo’s first seven games. His 285 saves rank fourth overall in the league and he also boasts a .803 save percentage. Simply put, he has been a wall so far on the season and the firepower of Albany’s offense will be put to the test in this one.
Connor Fields and Tehoka Nanticoke should be familiar names to Capital Region lacrosse fans. Both forwards attended the University at Albany and played in Coach Scott Marr’s dominant program. Fields was traded to Buffalo in the offseason and has not disappointed, posting 25 total points on 15 goals and 10 assists. Nanticoke was drafted by the Bandits and sits right behind Fields in the team ranks with 21 total points on 11 goals and 10 assists. As if Smith and Byrne were not enough for opposing defenses to deal with, throw Fields and Nanticoke into the mix and the Bandits offense has no shortage of weapons to beat anybody with.
Rock Players to Watch:
Tom Schreiber has been a dangerous man since the end of January, posting three consecutive games with six points, all of which Toronto has been the victors. Schreiber has a knack for scoring goals as his 23 on the season lead the Rock. Speaking of scoring goals, Schreiber gashed the FireWolves defense when the two teams met back in December, scoring four goals, and added one assist. The FireWolves defense may have changed since the last meeting, but Schreiber will continue to pose a challenge as Albany tries to keep him at bay.
Rob Hellyer did his part to set up his Rock teammates in the Week One win over Albany. Scoring five points in the game, Hellyer recorded four assists, one of which setup the game-tying goal late in the fourth quarter. The long-time veteran is having a spectacular season of his own, ranking second on the team with 36 total points and first on the team with 27 assists. Look for Hellyer to have the ball in his stick often in this game as he continues to find open teammates and get them quality looks on net.
Goaltender Nick Rose held his ground against Albany in the first matchup of the season, allowing just nine goals in the contest while recording 34 saves. The goalie is coming off a game where he held the previously undefeated Bandits to only 10 goals. Furthermore, Rose has allowed just 25 total goals over the Rock’s three-game winning streak and will be another tough assignment for the FireWolves offense as they look to gain ground in the Eastern Division standings.
After this weekend’s set of games, the FireWolves will head out west to face the San Diego Seals. The game will be on Saturday, February 26 at 10 p.m. EST.
Fans can secure their tickets for any of the 2021-22 FireWolves games today! For more information regarding tickets, visit www.AlbanyFireWolves.com or call/text the FireWolves front office at 518-362-4900.
The Albany FireWolves 2021-22 Inaugural Season is presented by CDPHP.
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 NLL, 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/.
Established in 1984, CDPHP is a physician-founded, member-focused and community-based not-for-profit health plan that offers high-quality affordable health insurance plans to members in 26 counties throughout New York. CDPHP is also on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.