February 13, 2014

NLL Notes: Kelusky Becomes 12th to Reach 800

by Neil Stevens | LaxMagazine.com



Philadelphia Wings forward Tracey Kelusky has 15 goals in eight games this season, already surpassing his production with Buffalo last year.

Philadelphia's disappointing two-loss weekend obscured a milestone achievement by Wings forward Tracey Kelusky.

The 38-year-old forward picked up five points to become just the 12th player in indoor pro lacrosse history with more than 800 points. In 186 games, Kelusky has 376 goals and 426 assists for 802 points.

"I guess I've celebrated too many birthdays," Kelusky said, adding a chuckle. "It is what it is. I've been playing a long time and have had some success in this league. If you've been playing a long time, you're going to get points."

The 5-foot-8 native of Peterborough, Ontario, is in his 14th season.

"I'll have a chance to reflect on my career when I'm done playing, but when you're in the midst of it you don't look at any of that," he said.

Kelusky's four goals last weekend boosted his season total to 15 in eight games. He only scored four in seven games as a little-used member of the Buffalo Bandits last season.

"I'm happy with my output although I still think I can contribute more but, at the end of the day, it's all about wins and losses," he said. "We could be well above .500, and that's not the case. My job is to be a veteran leader, and if I can contribute offensively, I'll do that. But we're on the bad side of .500 and that's not where we want to be. I've never looked at it as what's good for me is the main thing. It's unfortunate we're below .500. We've got to be better."

The 800-Plus Club

1. John Tavares, Buffalo, 1,688 points
2. Colin Doyle, Toronto, 1,287
3. John Grant Jr., Colorado, 1,229
4. Josh Sanderson, Toronto, 1,169
5. Gary Gait, retired, 1,165
6. Shawn Williams, Buffalo, 1,131
7. Dan Dawson, Rochester, 971
8. Gavin Prout, UFA, 922
9. Lewis Ratcliff, Vancouver, 913
10. Blaine Manning, retired, 833
11. Mike Accursi, Rochester, 826
12. Tracey Kelusky, Philadelphia, 802

Vinc, Bold, Cosmo at their best

Only three of the NLL's nine teams have  records above .500, and it is no coincidence that their goaltenders have the best save percentages in the league.

The first-half shutout registered by Rochester's Matt Vinc was a big reason why the Knighthawks beat Buffalo 9-6 to improve to 4-2 last Saturday. Vinc held the Bandits scoreless for 38 minutes, 39 seconds, breaking Pat O'Toole's team record of 30:26 set on Jan. 20, 2001.

Edmonton's Aaron Bold allowed only three goals through three quarters of play in Philadelphia and the Rush prevailed 8-6 to remain the only undefeated team at 6-0.

In defeat, Buffalo's Anthony Cosmo allowed Rochester only four second-half goals, giving the Bandits a chance to claw their way back. There was no victory celebration, but don't blame Cos.

The save percentages (minimum 200 minutes played)

1. Matt Vinc, Rochester, .821
2. Aaron Bold, Edmonton, .814
3. Anthony Cosmo, Buffalo, .802
4. Tyler Richards, Vancouver, .780
5. Nick Rose, Toronto, .774
6. Evan Kirk, Philadelphia, .769
7. Dillon Ward, Colorado, .767
8. Mike Poulin, Calgary, .723
9. Tyler Carlson, Minnesota, .703.

Ward, out of Kentucky's Bellarmine University, is just a rookie, but he has been extra special since assuming the starting job with Colorado. The Orangeville, Ontario, product allowed only one Vancouver goal in the first half and made the clutch save of the weekend when he blocked a shot by Brett Bucktooth as time expired, allowing his team to escape Canada with a 10-9 win.

Rush homecoming

Edmonton, the NLL's only undefeated team, will try to improve to 7-0 against the Minnesota Swarm (1-5) in St. Paul on Saturday. The Rush has a bye the following weekend, then returns home for its first home game in four weeks, against Toronto on Feb. 28. If there ever was a time for the city's sports fans to show owner Bruce Urban's club they recognize what his team is accomplishing, that's the day.

Should Edmonton get to 7-0, it would be the third time in the 28 years of indoor pro lacrosse that a team went so far into a season without a loss. Buffalo started 7-0 in 1993 and again in 1996.

Tyler Digby the top rookie scorer

Vancouver's Tyler Digby (Robert Morris), with 14 goals in eight games, has scored the most goals among first-year players. He was the 20th player selected in the 2013 entry draft.

No. 1 pick Logan Schuss (Ohio State) has eight goals in six games for Minnesota. Undrafted Garrett Thul (Army) has seven in seven games for Philadelphia, and Riley Loewen (Limestone) has seven in six games for Edmonton since being picked 11th overall.

No. 8 pick Cody Bremner (Cornell) has six in eight games and No. 5 pick Robert Church (Drexel) has five in five.

Cam Flint scores first NLL goal

Former Denver midfielder Cam Flint of Georgetown, Ontario, who was the fourth overall draft pick by Minnesota last September, scored his first NLL goal in his team's 15-13 home loss to Calgary last Saturday.

Rusty Miller reappears

Fourteen-year NLL veteran goalie Brandon Miller, whose prolonged contract hassles with the Wings were settled last week, was thrust into action in Toronto with starter Evan Kirk having a sub-par performance.

Miller was as rusty as a discarded soup can.

The first shot by a Toronto player eluded him and in two stints totaling 31 minutes, 51 seconds, he allowed nine goals on 25 shots in the 20-10 Toronto win. Because he was on the floor when Toronto scored its 11th goal, Miller was tagged with the loss.

Hamley is a winner

Colorado's three-game winning streak has moved Bob Hamley within one win of becoming just the fifth coach in NLL history with at least 80 wins.

The winningest bench bosses (games in parenthesis):

1. Darris Kilgour, 121 wins (206 games)
2. Les Bartley, 93 (131)
3. Chris Hall, 83 (160)
4. Paul Day, 82 (151)
5. Bob Hamley, 79 (171)
6. Derek Keenan, 71 (150)
7. Troy Cordingley, 62 (103).

Shawn Williams has staying power

Buffalo forward Shawn Williams has extended his NLL-record consecutive games played streak to 219 straight regular-season games.

Time capsule

Feb. 12, 2000: The Pittsburgh CrosseFire acquired Paul Gait in a mid-season trade with the Syracuse Smash, reuniting Paul with twin brother Gary Gait for the first time in their pro careers since 1994.


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