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New England vs. New York: The Rundown on the Home Opener

New England debuts at home on Friday, Dec. 27 at Mohegan Sun Arena after starting the 2019-20 season 2-0. The Black Wolves faceoff against the New York Riptide for the first time in history at 7:30pm.

History: This will be the first all-time matchup between New England and New York in the history of the National Lacrosse League. The Riptide joins the league as one of the two expansion teams this season.

New England: The Black Wolves have recorded road wins over Toronto and Saskatchewan 12-8, respectively.

Offense: The Pack is seeing strong offensive play from multiple contributors. Callum Crawford leads the front end with six goals and seven assists for 13 total points. Crawford is currently in a four-way tie for second in the league in goals scored, but holds sole possession of third place for points.

Other important offensive notables are rookie Andrew Kew and Joe Resetarits. In just his first two games in the NLL, Kew has scored three goals and dished out seven assists. He is tied with Crawford for the most assists on the team and is second in points with 10. Following close behind is Resetarits with nine points on three goals and six assists.

Defense: Although the offense has been strong throughout the first two games, defense is ultimately what has been the difference maker in each contest.

Veteran defender Brett Manney holds things together on the back end. This season, Manney has collected nine loose balls and has caused two turnovers. Also supporting the captain is Joe Nardella, Mackenzie Mitchell and Nick Chaykowsky. Nardella and Mitchell lead the team in caused turnovers with three apiece. Nardella not only helps on the defensive side, but helps start the offense with faceoffs. In the circle, he is 25 of 48 for 52%.

The main key in New England’s defense is goalkeeper Doug Jamieson. Jamieson has been named one of the three Stars of the Game in both contests. In two performances, he has racked up 89 saves for a save percentage of .848. While in the net, the Pack’s main goalie has faced 105 shots on goal and has only allowed 16 total goals, eight in each contest.

Jamieson is currently ranked fourth across the board in goals allowed, saves and save percentage and is one of two goalies to have a 2-0 record thus far.

New York: The Riptide hold an overall record of 0-2 after facing both Halifax and Vancouver on the road.

Four primary players are contributing to the Riptide’s offense. Connor Kelly and Dan Lomas each have three goals and four assists on the season. Former member of the Pack Tyler Digby, along with Travis Longboat, have both scored two goals for New York this year. Digby has also dished out four assists. Tyson Gibson, the top-pick in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, is also projected to add strength in the Riptide’s offense this season. Gibson is the son of New England’s offensive coordinator, Darryl Gibson.

Taking a majority of the faceoffs for the Riptide is Alex Woodall. The team has 48 total and Woodall is 17-of-29.

Two more former Black Wolves players are key components in New York’s defense. Alex Buque stands in the net for the Riptide and has made 77 saves this season with a .748 save percentage. Andrew Suitor will continue to add strength on defense having seen action in just one game but has collected 15 loose balls and has caused two turnovers. Additionally, Dan MacRae, who has seen action in both games has caused a team-high four caused turnovers and has also collected nine loose balls. Suitor leads the team in loose balls in just one game, but Ryan Fournier follows close behind with 13 in two contests. Fournier was also a member of the Black Wolves last season.

Looking Ahead: To start the New Year, the Pack will have two back-to-back bye weeks before returning home for five straight weekends. The Black Wolves kick off the month of January on Saturday, Jan. 18 when they welcome the Philadelphia Wings in a Rivalry game at 7pm.

Tickets for the 2019-20 season are on sale now and start at $15 per game. For more information, contact a Black Wolves sales representative by calling 844-LAX-WOLF or visiting blackwolves.com.

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