NLL: East Tops West in All-Star Game, Plus Week 8 Recap

Ron KnabenbauerCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2011

Toronto's Garrett Billings had 10 points on Saturday against Philadelphia before he represented the East at the 2011 All Star Game on Sunday (Credit: John McCabe).
Toronto's Garrett Billings had 10 points on Saturday against Philadelphia before he represented the East at the 2011 All Star Game on Sunday (Credit: John McCabe).

The trend of high scoring All-Star games in the world of professional sports continues.

The East defeated the West 30-26 on Sunday afternoon in the 2011 National Lacrosse League All-Star Game, at the Event Center at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY.

“I think the fans got what they expected,” said East All-Star John Tavares, who was making his ninth all-star appearance.

“A lot of offense and no defense. I feel bad for the goalies.”

The four goalies who played in the game felt the rubber of the ball 162 times as both teams finished with 81 shots on net.

Shawn Evans led the East in total points with 12, scoring four goals and adding eight assists, while also earning the game MVP.

Mark Steenhuis found the back of the net five times for the East, while teammates Josh Sanderson and Cody Jamieson finished with four goals each.

Plenty of fans were in the crowd to cheer on the rookie Jamieson, who grew up close to Western New York in Six Nations, Ontario and played his college ball at Syracuse University, which is about 30 miles west of Verona.

“It was a lot of fun,” Jamieson said of his first All-Star game.

“I’ve been kind of going through a little bit of a shooting slump. No better time than the all-star game to let loose, release some nerves and have fun.”

Luke Wiles led the West in scoring with six goals and four assists (10 points) while John Grant Jr., the captain of the West team, finished with five goals—all of which came in the second half.

In the game, the East built several solid leads, but the West All-Stars came back almost every time and even took the lead themselves at several points in the contest.

However, the West couldn’t come back in the end as the East scored seven straight goals in the later stages of the fourth quarter, extending their lead to five with about a minute left.

Although the West was unable to close the final gap, the game was entertaining for all the players and coaches involved.

“It’s a great game because it’s a lot of fun,” said West head coach Chris Hall, who is also the coach of the Washington Stealth.

“More or less, the guys just go out there and are being creative. They really got a chance to display their skills and show some of the fancy stuff.”

The All-Star game was the 10th in the league’s history and the seventh time the East faced the West. The East now leads the overall series, 6-1.

Sunday’s game was also the highest scoring all-star contest, with a combined 56 goals being scored, surpassing the 49 red lighters of the 1999 game in Rochester, NY.

Before the All-Star game, two regular season games were played on Saturday night.

Here is a look at both of those contests.

Rock Grind One Out Against Wings

Playing the day before the All-Star Game didn’t seem to slow down Toronto all-stars Colin Doyle and Garrett Billings, as both found their way onto the evening scoresheet plenty of times.

Doyle finished with three goals and six assists and Billings ended with two goals and eight assists, as the Toronto Rock defeated the Philadelphia Wings 16-13 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Toronto (8-2) held a 10-5 lead at halftime, but Philadelphia (4-5) stayed close the entire game and made it interesting in the end with eight second half goals.

“It was a funny game,” Doyle said.

“I thought we played really well offensively and they just kept figuring out ways to score. I’m certainly glad we won, but we had to grind it out.”

Brendan Mundorf and Athan Iannucci led Philadelphia in scoring with four goals and five assists each.

The Rock and the Wings will play again on Friday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, before Philly heads back home to host the Calgary Roughnecks on Saturday.

Knighthawks Take Care of Rush

The Edmonton Rush lost their second game in a row, as they were defeated by the Rochester Knighthawks 13-9 on Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.

Mike Accursi led the Knighthawks (5-4) in scoring with four goals and one assist while teammate Shawn Evans finished with three goals and two assists.

Both Jordan Hall and Craig Point had four assists in the game for Rochester.

Former Knighthawk, Scott Evans led the Edmonton Rush (2-7) in the scoring category with four goals and one assist against his former club.

Rochester goaltender Matt Vinc had another solid night in the cage, making 44 saves on 53 shots in the win. Matt Disher finished with 34 saves for Edmonton.

Next week, Rochester will head to Buffalo on Saturday while Edmonton will host Washington, the team in which they’ve won both of their games against this season.