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Portland Wraps Up First Half At Home

February 24, 2009 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Portland Lumberjax News Release

PORTLAND, February 24, 2009 - The Portland LumberJax finish the first half of the 2009 National Lacrosse League season on Saturday, February 28th as they host the Philadelphia Wings at 7:30 p.m. at the Rose Garden Arena. The Jax (4-3) are looking to enter the All-Star Break with a winning record for the first time in franchise history and extend their winning streak to four games.

After two consecutive bye weeks, the Jax finally return to action. During the team's last game, which was played on Feb. 7, the Jax slammed the San Jose Stealth, 16-13.

Goalie Matt Disher stopped 45 of the 58 shots he faced in the winning effort. Disher has made at least 32 saves in every game this season and has stopped 45 shots or more in every win.

Since being acquired at the trade deadline last March, Disher has gone 6-5 in the regular season and has stopped at least 32 shots in every game he's appeared.

Disher, defenseman Brodie Merrill, forward Peter Morgan and Assistant Coach and Community Relations and Creative Design Director Dallas Eliuk will all travel to Denver, Colorado next weekend to partake in the All-Star Game festivities. Disher, Merrill and Morgan will all play in the All-Star Game. Eliuk, the greatest goalie of all-time, will be inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame and then will coach the West Division All-Stars.

Eliuk retired after a distinguished 18-year pro career in the NLL in 2008. In addition to being the league's career leader in saves with 6,356, Eliuk's distinguished resume includes four Champion's Cup rings, nine All-Pro Awards and two Champion's Cup Most Valuable Player Awards.

Besides scoring a season-high 16 goals in the San Jose win and tying a season-high with 23 assists, a total of nine different players scored goals for the Jax. Merrill, Peter Jacobs, Scott Stewart, Derek Malawsky, Ryan Powell, Richard Morgan, P. Morgan, Dan Stroup and Cory Conway all supplied goals in the victory.

The Jax have quickly learned that a balanced scoring attack is what ultimately produces positive results. Portland is 3-0 this season when nine or more players score goals and 19-8 all-time when eight or more players score at least one goal.

Combined with solid goaltending and a defense that wreaks havoc for the opposition, the Jax have quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the West Division.

After winning 10 games last season the Wings dropped three of their first four games to start 2009. However, since the slow start Coach Dave Huntley and his squad have seen a rapid transformation. Philadelphia knocked off the defending champion Buffalo Bandits 13-11 on Feb. 6 to hand Buffalo its first loss since last March.

The final game before the All-Star Break gives Portland one final opportunity to solidify itself in the West Division. After all, March is just around the corner and then it's the final stretch in April.

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