Panther City Lacrosse Club Defeats Las Vegas Desert Dogs in Home Opener, 13-11
Fort Worth, Texas - The Panther City Lacrosse Club (1-0) opened their 2022-23 season with a 13-11 victory over the visiting Las Vegas Desert Dogs (0-1). Will Malcom (7 points - 4 goals/3 assists) and Phil Caputo (7 points - 3 goals/4 assists) led the way for Panther City and continued to build on the chemistry the two developed last year. Three different Panther City defenders caused two turnovers (Liam Byrnes, Pat Foley and Liam Patten) and newly acquired Tony Malcom (older brother to Will Malcom) led the club with eight loose balls, while also registering an assist.
The game was tied 7-7 at the half and Panther City came out and scored six of the eight goals recorded in the third period. Goalie Nick Damude settled down in the second half and made 17 of his 29 saves in the last two quarters to finish with a .725 save percentage.
In his debut, first overall selection in the 2021 NLL Entry Draft Jonathan Donville recorded three assists. Fellow rookie Cam Wengreniuk also recorded his first ever career goal in the third quarter.
Panther City will travel to face Las Vegas again next Friday in Las Vegas for the Desert Dogs inaugural home game. The game will be televised by ESPN2 and face-off is set for 9:30 p.m. CT
PANTHER CITY LACROSSE CLUB HEAD COACH TRACEY KELUSKY QUOTES
On Will Malcom and Phil Caputo picking up where they left off last year...
"I love the fact that both of them seemed to be composed. Both are obviously big contributors on our offensive side. Malcs [Will Malcom] was dangerous from the get go. His first shot goes in and he is a guy that once he gets going with some confidence he is hard to stop. Caputs [Phil Caputo] on the other side didn't have a great camp because he was nursing an injury and then the more the game wore on, the more he got in a rhythm and we need those two guys to contribute every night for us."
On the play of Nick Damude in the second half...
"It was good to see. Obviously, it is a tale of two halves for him because I thought he struggled in the first half and we talked about that at halftime. Tightening that up. It is really good when your goalie can find a way to rebound and stay composed and get back into a rhythm. I thought he made some really good saves late in the game at key times which is what you need your goaltender to do. The first half we will leave it at what it is. It wasn't pretty, but I love the fact that he had the composure to come back and play a really good second half."
On Nate Wade fighting in the third quarter and the effect it had on the club...
"One of the things we have identified from day one was that we needed to be harder to play against. When Nate Wade became available it was a no-brainer for us. I had some experience coaching Nate when I was in Philadelphia. A top-class guy, great locker room guy that we want to have in the locker room. He plays a physical game. He cross checks. He will certainly answer the bell to anyone at any time. Shame on me for allowing it when we had a three or four goal lead. It was 'ehhh', but I know Nate can take care of himself and let's see what he was at."
On beginning the season 1-0...
"It feels good. The best part about being 1-0 is the guys are not content. There was a lot of guys [not satisfied] - guys were certainly excited we won, but going in [the locker room], guys were maybe a little disappointed with some of our decisions and some of our game play. That was a good Vegas team. They worked hard. They worked really hard. They came out guns blazing. Being an expansion team we know what that looks like. You have to earn everything and dig for it and they certainly did that. I like the fact that our guys were not content with just coming away with the two points. 1-0 is great, but we certainly have a lot of work to do."
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