NLL: Riptide score first home win of the season in dramatic fashion

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Anything can happen in the NLL, and the New York Riptide are proof of that statement. The Long Island boys pulled off a 14-13 win over the Toronto Rock on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum, just their second of the season.

How crazy is this? The Rock defeated the first place Buffalo Bandits just two weeks ago. This week they lost to the last place Riptide. That speaks volumes of the parity in this league, and reinforces just how close the Riptide could be to being a playoff team, had a bounce here or there gone the other way. What will be key for the Riptide moving forward is continuing to stay positive with their never-say-die attitude.

“It feels really good to win at home. We’ve been chasing it since day one, said head coach Dan Ladouceur. “We always wanted to win here on the Island to for the fans and the organization so getting that first one is really important for us. We did it with a bit of a broken roster, we did it with some adversity so it’s really rewarding.”

Jeff Teat led the attack with four goals and three assists as he continues his incredible rookie season. He and the other young guys on the Riptide are a big part of the team’s growing success.

“There are a lot of rookies on this team, and we were fortunate to be put into a good environment where we just have to be ourselves,” Teat said. “There’s no pecking order in terms of shot selection or anything. It’s just coming in and playing our game. Our coaches trust us; the vets trust us. Larson Sundown is in the same position as me. He does all the dirty work, if you watch him play he doesn’t get a lot of credit but he’s doing a lot of stuff behind the scenes that makes this team and the offense spin.”

Callum Crawford was right behind Teat with four goals and one assist, in addition to scoring his 1100th career point. Crawford is the 10thplayer in league history to reach that milestone.

Damon Edwards had his biggest game in transition for the Riptide, and it came against his old team. Edwards scored two fast-break goals; the first with just a second left on the clock in the first quarter and the second only a minute into the second quarter. He also had the only assist on Teat’s game winning goal with 1:51 left in the game.

“We’ve been in that situation a lot this year and we had to learn to finally win a game,” said Teat. “McArdle did a great job of hustling up the floor and did a lot of work without the ball. Damo had the ball, gave me a great feed and McArdle gave me a lot of separation to let me shoot the ball. It was a lot of work done by the other guys.”

The Riptide led from that second quarter on, holding an 8-7 lead at halftime and 11-10 after the third. Tyson Gibson and Crawford gave New York at three-goal cushion in the fourth but the Rock rattled off three straight to tie the game with just 3:49 left.

Connor Kearnan, Kieran McArdle and Jake Fox had the remaining goals for the Riptide. Steven Orleman was named third star of the game after making 39 saves.

Toronto was led by Tom Schreiber’s three goals and five assists, and Dan Dawson’s two goals and four assists. Reid Reinholdt and Zach Manns also scored two each. Nick Rose made nine saves and was then pulled in favour of Riley Hutchcraft, who made 12.

Toronto and New York have a quick rematch; the teams play each other again this coming Saturday, March 5th, at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton. New York is now hungry for their third win of the season and will have another offensive weapon in their lineup when Dan Lomas returns.

“Dan’s a big part of this team, he’s a great guy in the locker room and a great teammate,” said Ladouceur. “He’s anxious and hungry to get back and his recovery is right on schedule. I’m excited to see what he can inject into our offensive lineup.”