Category Archives: NLL Lacrosse

lacrosse

Lacrosse league will have 11 teams in 2005-06

by Jason Stone

The Arizona Sting will have more teams to contend with in order to return to the National Lacrosse League Champion’s Cup final.
The NLL announced that Edmonton and Portland, Ore., have added teams for next season, while the Anaheim franchise has folded.
The net gain of one team gives the NLL 11 teams next season.
The Sting, which play at Glendale Arena, played in the five-team West Division last year. The NLL has not yet released division alignments.
Additionally, the league announced the New York and New England markets may be open for expansion consideration the following season.
“We finished our season on a very positive note, and we’re pleased to be increasing our number of teams,” NLL Commissioner Jim Jennings said.
The Sting lost in this year’s final at Toronto.

Published at glendalestar.com • June 8, 2005

lacrosse

Sting settle for second in NLL

by Jason Stone

Coming into the 2005 season, the Arizona Sting only had goals to make the playoffs.
But after the team advanced all the way to the NLL Champion’s Cup, the bar has officially been raised at Glendale Arena.
That’s OK with Sting coach Bob Hamley, whose team nearly beat Toronto for the league championship last week in only the team’s second year in Arizona.
The Sting, playing in only its fifth season overall — the team played three years in Columbus, Ohio, before moving to Glendale — made the playoffs for the first time, won their first postseason game and made their inaugural appearance in the Champion’s Cup game.
The Sting stayed close in the nationally televised game on NBC, cutting Toronto’s second-half lead to 12-11 when Cory Bomberry and Chris Seller scored.
But the Rock showed why they have won five of the last seven cups with a scoring barrage that pleased most of the nearly 20,000 fans in attendance, scoring five straight goals to put the game away.
The total of 19,432 made it the most watched lacrosse game in history. Toronto added to its championships in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003.
It was a bittersweet week for the Rock, which lost former coach Les Bartley to colon cancer last week. Bartley led Toronto to all its championships prior to this year.
The Rock were able to add a fifth banner under new coach Terry Sanderson, thanks to a defense that held Arizona super-scorer Dan Dawson to only one goal.
Craig Conn continued his hot play in the playoffs with three goals, while Jonas Derks collected three himself. Pat Maddalena and Seller each scored twice.
Arizona goaltender Mike Miron made 43 saves in the losing cause.
Conn and Seller scored early in the first quarter to give Arizona a surprising 2-0 lead.
But Toronto took advantage of some Sting penalties to score four of the next five goals to take a 4-3 lead after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, a pair of goals got Arizona back on top, but Josh Sanderson scored consecutive goals for Toronto to eliminate Arizona’s final lead of the game.
The Rock scored six of the last seven goals of the first half to give Toronto a four-goal lead at the break.

Published at glendalestar.com • May 22, 2005

lacrosse

Sting set for international stage

by Jason Stone

Saturday’s National Lacrosse League Champion’s Cup final in Toronto won’t be much of a road game for the Arizona Sting.
A good portion of Sting players live in the Toronto area and 18 of the 27 players on the active roster reside in Ontario.
That has Sting coach Bob Hamley a bit on guard.
“We need to get past some of the distractions of being at home,” Hamley said. “Hopefully, we (got) the family stuff out of the way early in the week.”
Sting players, who live in the Valley during the season, made the trip to Canada Monday in preparation for Saturday’s title tilt that will be televised nationally by NBC.
Practices were scheduled for Tuesday and today as the Sting attempts to win the West Valley’s first-ever professional sports championship.
Arizona has been playing with a nothing-to-lose attitude during the postseason, gutting out wins at home against Colorado and on the road at Calgary last week in the West Division finals.
The win over Calgary was big because it was the franchise’s first north of the border in five previous attempts and it came in front of 11,000 fans.
The Sting will be up against the same adversity this week against Toronto, a Canadian team that pulls in a big crowd.
The Rock won the East Division with a 12-4 record and beat Rochester 12-10 last week in the East Division final.
The Sting will have to contend with three of the top five scorers in the league, all of whom have more than 100 points.
Colin Doyle (42-69-111), Blaine Manning (39-66-105) and Josh Sanderson (31-71-102) present a big challenge for the Sting defense.
The Rock scored a league-high 227 goals this season and have gone 7-2 at home, including the playoffs.
The Sting are hoping to counter with offensive force Dan Dawson, who finished seventh in the league in scoring, but whose 48 goals were only one less than the league leader.
“We just need to keep it going,” Hamley said. “They’re going to have a big crowd and we need to be ready.”
NBC will televise the championship game for the first time.
First drop begins at 12:30 p.m.

Published at glendalestar.com • May 11, 2005

lacrosse

Sting to play for NLL title

by Jason Stone

Devastated. A failure. A season to forget.
Those were words used in Calgary newspapers this week after the Roughnecks were upset at home in the West Division finals of the NLL playoffs.
But those negative words never sounded better to the Arizona Sting.
That’s because the Sting added another “biggest win in franchise history” tag last week when they upset the defending-NLL champions in front of a rowdy, packed crowd.
The Sting scored five goals in the final minutes to erase a four-goal deficit to post an 19-15 win.
“I think we caught them a little off guard, especially when they’re up by four,” Sting coach and general manager Bob Hamley said. “They might have been packing their bags for Toronto (the site of the championship game). I think they’re all in a state of shock.”
Instead, it is the Sting who are going to Toronto, the East Division champion, to play in next week’s NLL title game.
It won’t be any championship either. NBC is televising an NLL playoff game for the first time.
“It’s a groundbreaking day for our league,” Hamley said.
The Sting advanced to the title game for the first time ever. In three years in Columbus, Ohio, and two years at Glendale Arena, the Sting had not won a playoff game until beating Colorado two weeks ago.
Arizona upset Calgary by rallying for a win, something the Sting had done in more than half of their wins this season.
The Sting were down 13-10 after Tracey Kelusky, a former player for Columbus, scored less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
Arizona then rolled to six straight goals — from six different players — to take a three-goal lead late in the game, stunning the packed crowd at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
The Roughnecks got life with consecutive goals to trail by only one in the final minutes, but Arizona got those goals back just 15 seconds apart and ran out the clock. The Sting scored an empty-net goal in the final seconds.
“Anything less than a championship is failure,” Calgary forward Lewis Ratliff told the Calgary Sun.
The comeback did not shock the Sting’s coach.
“I don’t think we’re as a group surprised,” Hamley said. “We knew we could do it. It’s just a matter of putting it together.”
The Valley-based players will leave for Toronto the beginning of the week and the team will practice Tuesday and Thursday.
For local fans wanting to make the trip, tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.ca, although the game is expected to be a sellout.
In the first meeting this season, Arizona scored only four second-half goals and lost to the Rock 18-10 to snap a three-game winning streak.

Published at glendalestar.com • May 4, 2005

lacrosse

Sting face Mammoth test

by Jason Stone

When Glendale Arena was conceived, the first playoff game was supposed to be a Coyotes “White Out.”
Instead, a team that nobody even expected to be playing in the new venue will hold the distinction of hosting the first postseason game.
The Arizona Sting split a pair of games with Anaheim last week to finish the regular season 9-7 and in second place in the West Division.
That allows the Colorado Mammoth to come back to Glendale to take on the Sting in a division semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“I’m very proud of our players and all that they have accomplished this season,” coach and general manager Bob Hamley said. “We are very excited to host our first-ever playoff game at Glendale Arena.”
It will be the fourth meeting of the season for the Sting and Mammoth. The two met just two weeks ago and the Sting’s 15-12 win ultimately determined the site of the playoff game.
That is a disadvantage to Colorado, which regularly draws 18,000 fans at Pepsi Center and has one of the biggest followings in the NLL.
The Sting drew their biggest crowd of the season in the finale against Anaheim. More than 7,000 fans saw Arizona drop an 11-10 decision, which knocked the team out of a division championship.
Arizona had a chance for the top spot and a first-round bye, but it needed to sweep Anaheim in the two games and hope for a Calgary loss to Toronto Sunday.
Arizona held up its end of the bargain in the first game against Anaheim with a 14-12 road win.
But when the teams came back to Glendale Saturday, the Sting lost their third game of the season at home.
The Sting beat Colorado in two of the three meetings this season.
The Mammoth enter the game reeling, having lost their last three regular season games to finish at .500.

Published at glendalestar.com • April 20, 2005