Boston Blazers to Battle Buffalo Bandits in First Round of 2009 NLL Playoffs
Boston (April 21, 2009) - Last Saturday night, Sean Morris closed out the Blazers' regular season in dramatic fashion scoring 26 seconds into overtime to give Boston a 13-12 victory over Buffalo at HSBC Arena. The victory may be a foreshadowing of more theatrics to come between the teams, which will meet again in the opening round of the 2009 National Lacrosse League (NLL) Playoffs.
The Blazers' heroic come-from-behind-win ignited a firestorm of statistical tie-breakers to determine the final playoff seeding order and opening round postseason pairings in the East Division. The ultimate result places Boston on the road to open the postseason with a return trip to HSBC Arena to battle Buffalo on May 2 at 7:30 p.m.
The Boston victory coupled with a Titans win put Boston, Buffalo and New York in a three-way tie for first place in the NLL East Division with identical 10-6 regular season records. By virtue of having the best combined head-to-head record of the three teams (a combined 4-1 vs. Boston and Buffalo during the regular season), New York wins the tiebreakers to claim the East Division regular season title and earn second overall seeding in the NLL Playoffs.
Since Boston and Buffalo split their head-to-head meetings (1-1) and finished with the same divisional record (7-5), a third tiebreaker was used to break the deadlock - a team's record versus a common opponent played an equal number of times. The only team that Buffalo and Boston played an equal number of times during the season was the Portland LumberJax. Each team faced the Portland once with the Bandits winning (14-4 on March 21) and the Blazers losing (9-8 in OT on January 31). Thus, the Bandits secured the third overall playoff seeding - earning the opportunity to host the fourth overall seed, the Blazers, in the East Division Semifinals on May 2 at 7:30 p.m.
BLAZERS PRACTICE/MEDIA AVAILABILITY The Blazers will have next weekend off to prepare for the NLL Playoffs, which begin on the weekend of May 1st. Boston is practicing on Thursday, April 21 from 9-11 a.m. at Teamworks (321 Charger St.) in Revere. There is media availability before and after the practice.
NLL PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE FOR DIVISIONAL SEMIFINALS The NLL has announced the schedule of games for the Divisional Semifinals weekend of the 2009 Playoffs. All eight playoff teams participate in this opening round of the playoffs, consisting of four single-elimination games over the weekend of May 1-3.
Schedule, Divisional Semifinals Friday, May 1
Rochester Knighthawks (7-9, #4 East) at New York Titans (10-6, #1 East), 7:30pm ET at Madison Square Garden San Jose Stealth (7-9, #3 West) at Portland LumberJax (9-7, #2 West), 10:30pm ET at Rose Garden
Saturday, May 2
- Boston Blazers (10-6, #3 East) at Buffalo Bandits (10-6, #2 East), 7:30pm ET at HSBC Arena
Sunday, May 3 Colorado Mammoth (7-9, #4 West) at Calgary Roughnecks (12-4, #1 West), 5pm ET at Pengrowth Saddledome
NLL PLAYOFF SEEDING The winners of this weekend's games will advance to the Divisional Finals, to be played on the following weekend (May 8-10). The winners of the Divisional Finals will be the champions of the East and West Divisions, and will meet in the Championship Game on the weekend of May 15-17. The Championship Game will be hosted by the higher overall seed of the East and West Division champions.
By posting a league-best 12-4 regular season record, Calgary has earned the #1 overall seed. As winners of the East Division, the New York Titans are the #2 seed.
Overall seeding of the eight teams in the 2009 Playoffs:
Calgary (12-4) New York (10-6) Buffalo (10-6) Boston (10-6) Portland (9-7) San Jose (7-9) Rochester (7-9) Colorado (7-9)
PLAYOFF BROADCAST INFORMATION Fans can watch the Blazers battle the Bandits in the opening round of the 2009 NLL Playoffs on May 2 live online and free of charge via the NLL Network at NLL.com.
DAN DAWSON SHARES REGULAR SEASON ASSIST RECORD Besides the Blazers exciting win in the final weekend of the NLL 2009 regular season, Boston's key offensive cog "Dangerous" Dan Dawson made history on Saturday night setting a new NLL regular season record for assists (74) that was tied by Calgary's forward Josh Sanderson. Both surpassed the old single season assists record of 71 that was set by Sanderson in 2005 while playing for the Toronto Rock.
Overall, Dawson paced the Blazers with 104 total points (2nd in NLL) for the season and rookie Daryl Veltman notched a team-high 34 goals (T-9th in NLL). Veltman led a balanced Boston attack which featured five players scoring 20 or more goals including D.Dawson (30 goals), Brenden Thenhaus (27 goals), Matt Lyons (21 goals) and Gary Bining (20 goals).
In goal, Anthony Cosmo backstopped the Blazers defense the entire season finishing with a 10.14 goals against average (GAA) and .781 save percentage - third best amongst NLL goalies, while playing the second highest number of minutes amongst goalies (840:02).
ABOUT THE BOSTON BLAZERS The Boston Blazers professional indoor lacrosse franchise was established in May, 2007 when owner Tim Armstrong was awarded an expansion team in the National Lacrosse League (NLL). The team made its debut in January 2009 and plays eight home games at Boston's TD Banknorth Garden as part of a 16-game regular season schedule. Now in its 23rd year, the NLL is the world's premier professional indoor lacrosse league and features 12 teams playing in state-of-the-art arenas throughout the United States and Canada. For additional information on the Boston Blazers and tickets to Blazers games, fans can visit http://www.bla z erslacrosse.com or call 1-888-BLAZERS.
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National Lacrosse League Stories from April 21, 2009
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