Crease Dives – Exhibition Win
By Mike Hancock
The Kids Are Alright
Turner Evans and Dan Lintner are the new kids on the block for the Toronto Rock and so far, they are doing just fine. While no one wants to heap lofty expectations on this duo, their situation is somewhat like that of righty forward Garrett Billings (selected 6th overall) and lefty forward Stephan Leblanc (selected 11th overall) in 2009 NLL Entry Draft. Evans, a lefty forward, was the Rock’s first pick in the 2015 NLL Draft, 10th overall while Lintner, a righty forward, was selected by New England 8th overall before being traded to the Rock in October. These two new faces could be a part of the core of the Rock offence for many years to come.
Lintner and Evans scored seconds apart in the third quarter. Lintner’s on a superman like dive, with a fake thrown in the mix, to bury maybe the nicest goal of the night. Evans had a cut, catch and shoot type finish that was reminiscent of a regular day at the office for Kasey Beirnes.
The kitchen got a whole lot more crowded with Jordan Robertson’s 3 goals on Saturday night in the Rock’s 14-8 exhibition win over the Rush in Ottawa. A 5th round pick in the 2014 NLL Draft, the Toronto, Ontario native spent most of the 2015 season on the practice roster. After playing his entire Junior A lacrosse career with his hometown Toronto Beaches, he was traded to the Whitby Warriors in his final season of Junior lacrosse. It was there that he caught the eye of Rock assistant coach Dan Ladouceur who serves on the bench with the Warriors in the summer. Not only did he score three times in that game on Saturday, but one of them was shorthanded.
Just A Five Spot For Hickey
Doubters, shut your mouths. Okay, it’s one exhibition game, but the scales have to tip in favour of the, “he can do this again” side of the argument. Hickey looked every bit as good as he did last season in burying, and I mean burying, 5 goals on Saturday night. His crease dive was magnificent; his accuracy from outside was jaw dropping. Maybe we can find a nickname for the 50-goal man that isn’t just a play on his last name. Maybe, the Bull? Suggestions welcomed.
Looking into the seats, the crowd on Saturday night was a real mix of lacrosse fans and people trying out the game for the first time. Several minor lacrosse teams from Gloucester and Nepean were in attendance and the Ottawa Senior B Axemen were recognized on the video board as being in attendance at the game. There is definitely a dedicated lacrosse fan base in the nation’s capital that would love to see the NLL return. The Rebel left after the 2003 season, the die-hards feel the wait has been long enough and are excited about a possible return of pro lacrosse to Ottawa.
Fans at the game on Saturday night may have recognized the public address voice bellowing throughout the rink. The man most NLL PA announcers model their game after, the voice of the Buffalo Bandits Chris Swenson, was on the mic at TD Place. “Swennie”, as Bandits’ fans affectionately know him, has been a part of the Bandits in-game presentation for every season in Buffalo and 2016 will be his 25th. He will also be the PA announcer for another neutral site NLL exhibition game between the New England Black Wolves and his Buffalo Bandits in Allentown, Pennsylvania on December 19th.