Albany FireWolves

Albany FireWolves Begin 2023-24 Season in Las Vegas

November 30, 2023 - National Lacrosse League (NLL)
Albany FireWolves News Release

The Albany FireWolves (0-0) will start the 2023-2024 National Lacrosse League season on the road as they face the Las Vegas Desert Dogs (0-0) in what should be an exciting first weekend across the NLL. The 10 pm EST matchup will be the first of two meetings between these teams this season and will be available to watch on ESPN+. TSN+, and locally on My4.

The FireWolves fell to the Desert Dogs last season 10-12 in their only meeting, but this season both teams have some new faces and new ambitions.

New Look FireWolves

The retirement of Brett Manney leaves the FireWolves without their longtime leader on the floor, but with 13 returning players from last season there remains a very strong core. This is a young team on paper with several draft picks like Alex Simmons, Tye Kurtz, and Nicholas Volkov making the roster as well as many players who only have a few NLL seasons under their belts. However, that mixture of new and old is an exciting one that has already shown great chemistry in training camp and their preseason games. The leadership of new captain Colton Watkinson and Head Coach Glenn Clark will be invaluable as this new look team goes into season three in Albany.

Jamieson Back On Track

Doug Jamieson has been the backbone of this team since the FireWolves arrived in Albany and he will be called upon once again to provide a steady presence that they can rely on all season. Jamieson was named NLL Goalie of the Year after the shortened 2020 season and was recently named a Top 5 goalie by the league Coaches and GMs. If he can return to his Goalie of the Year form the FireWolves will be tough to beat.

Viva Las Vegas

The Desert Dogs return much of their roster from their inaugural season with some additions to balance out their offense and defense. They return their top 3 scorers from last season in Rob Hellyer (92 Pts), Jack Hannah (64 Pts), and Zack Greer (55 Pts) which will be strong first test for the FireWolves defense. Las Vegas also features some serious threats in transition with players like Jacob Ruest, Colin Kirst, and John Wagner constantly looking for breakaway opportunities.

FireWolves Players To Watch

Alex Simmons

Simmons was drafted in 2022 and FireWolves fans have anxiously been waiting to see him suit up in maroon and gold. The rookie can shoot from anywhere with his incredibly hard and accurate shots, but he is also a dynamic dodger and has great vision. Look for him to work well with Ethan Walker who was his teammate for three seasons at Denver.

Travis Longboat

Longboat was signed before the 2022-23 season but missed the season due to injury. This preseason, he has looked fantastic and in the team's two preseason games he scored 5 goals while also doing the dirty work setting picks and getting loose balls. Longboat had shown flashes of his potential playing with the New York Riptide in 2020, but this season could be his breakout year.

Joe Nardella

Nardella is coming back from an injury that left him out of last season and his presence in the faceoff circle will be crucial to give the FireWolves more possessions and transition opportunities that they dearly missed. He was recently named a top 5 faceoff man in the NLL by the league coaches and GMs. He will be chasing a career milestone as he only needs 10 more faceoff wins to reach 500 in his career.

Opposing Players To Watch

Jack Hannah

Hannah was a revelation for the Desert Dogs in his rookie season and can score in a variety of different ways that helped him find the back of the net 33 times. He will be the main initiator on offense and the FireWolves will have to focus on getting in his hands and forcing bad shots.

Jacob Ruest

Ruest is one of the best transition scorers in the league and was also named a top 15 defenseman by the league coaches and GMs. The FireWolves will need to limit his breakaway opportunities and set hard picks on him.

Landon Kells

Kells played the majority of the minutes in cage for Las Vegas last year but was pulled several times for back up Joel Watson. When he gets hot, he is one of the better goalies in the league so it will be vital for the FireWolves to score multiple goals early to get him off his game.

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