Week 1 Matchup Preview - FireWolves at Rock
For the first time in nearly two decades, the National Lacrosse League returns to the Capital Region. The Albany FireWolves, formerly the New England Black Wolves, kickoff their inaugural season on Saturday, December 4 with an away game against the Toronto Rock before returning to Albany for a home matchup versus the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday, December 18. This weekend's game will be at 7 p.m. in the FirstOntario Centre on Saturday, December 4, and broadcast live on My4 WNYT, ESPN Plus, and TSN as the NLL Game of the Week.
Though this will be the first game under the name FireWolves, the organization will look to start the 2021-22 season with a win and pick up where the team left off before the season came to a halt in 2020. The then Black Wolves were riding a four-game win streak and boasted the best record in the league at 8-3 when play was stopped. Toronto was having a solid year as well, holding a 7-4 record and was a game back from first place in the North division. The last time the two clubs met, the Black Wolves came out on top 12-8.
FireWolves Players to Watch:
Joe Resetarits is a player whom locals might recognize after his standout career with the University of Albany just a few years ago. The former Great Dane scored a goal in every single game he played in throughout his four years and was named All-American and Conference Player of the Year honors the last season he played in the Capital Region. Returning to the 518, Resetarits has established himself as one of the best forwards in the NLL and is the only American player to log a 100-point season in league history. During his short tenure with the Black Wolves, Resetarits has compiled 68 points in 18 games. Look for Resetarits to create multiple scoring opportunities for the FireWolves both as a scorer and a distributer.
Another key name is one fans will see between the pipes this season. Coming off a Goalie of the Year award in 2020, Doug Jamieson returns to the team after posting eye-popping goaltender numbers the last time he was on the turf. He allowed a mere 8.80 goals per game, good for second best in NLL history, and set a league record for save percentage at 82.9%. Though a testament to a solid defensive unit as a whole, Jamieson served as the backbone while in net as the team was on pace to allow the fewest goals in the league since 2014. The magic number is to keep the opposing team under 10 goals and who better to have in net than one of the best in the business?
Though the FireWolves were able to retain numerous key guys on the roster, the team still made waves in free agency this offseason. Trading away a pair of second round 2020 draft picks, the FireWolves brought in Jacob Ruest, a four-year league vet who adds a ton of firepower to the team's already loaded offense. Playing each of his first four seasons with the Colorado Mammoth, Ruest tallied up 188 total points in 67 career games. Ruest has already made an impact for the FireWolves, scoring a goal in their most recent preseason victory last Saturday. The new addition to the offense will look to ride the momentum from the preseason win to help lift the FireWolves to a 1-0 start to begin the team's inaugural season. Look for Ruest to quickly transition defense stops into scoring opportunities for the FireWolves.
Opposing Players to Watch:
Entering his tenth season with the Rock, Rob Hellyer has been a staple for the Rock offense since being drafted in the third round in 2010. Last season, Hellyer finished third in MVP voting while leading the Rock in scoring with 56 points. Hellyer was limited to just one goal in the only matchup against the Black Wolves during the 2019-20 season.
Nick Rose, another long-tenured member of the Rock, has been in a Toronto uniform since he joined the team in 2012. In the shortened season, Rose posted career bests 9.41 GAA and Save Percentage .816. In one game against the Black Wolves in 2019, Rose allowed 11 goals.
Tom Schreiber has been nothing short of great since joining the Rock in 2017. In 18 games during his debut season, Schreiber compiled 33 goals and 61 assists on his way to being named NLL Rookie of the Year. Two years later, he tied his 94 points from his rookie season and set a career high with 65 assists. In five games prior to the season shutting down in 2019-20, Schreiber tallied 19 points on eight goals and 11 assists.
This will be the first meeting between the FireWolves and the Rock this season. The two clubs will faceoff one more time after the season opener on Saturday, February 19 in Albany.
Do not miss your opportunity to witness history! Fans can secure their tickets for the historic inaugural 2021-22 FireWolves home opener today! For more information regarding home opener tickets, visit https://albanyfirewolves.com/tickets/2021-22-home-opener/ or call/text the FireWolves front office at 518-362-4900.
The Albany FireWolves 2021-22 Inaugural Season is presented by CDPHP.
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