If you only watch one game of lacrosse this weekend…THIS is the game to watch. This could be one of the best games of the whole tournament.
If you have seen Albany play this year, it is like watching a tape of lacrosse from the 80’s with the way they play (Old SU vs Hopkins are CLASSICS). Up and down, crazy shots, passes that make the term, “threading the needle” seem easy. Add in Albany’s rides and I feel like I’ve dusted off those old VHS cassettes (don’t judge me). It is all thanks to the Thompson genetics (brothers Lyle and Miles and cousin Ty). Albany has scored 20+ goals four times this season, and 15+ goals 12 times this year.
On the flipside, you have one of the most brilliant coaches in the game, Bill Tierney, coaching a Denver team that is a 180 degree style versus the “old” Tierney Princeton teams.
Albany is 13-4 this year with quality wins over Syracuse, UMass, Bryant, and Hopkins. Their losses were to Drexel, Yale, Bucknell, and Siena.
Albany is led by the Thompson trio. Lyle has 46 Goals, 62 Assists; Miles Thompson has 42G, 25A; and Ty Thompson has 51G, 14A. In goal is Blaze Riordan who has posted an 11.55 Goals Against Average, and a save percentage of 50%.
Denver is 12-4 with wins over Duke, Lehigh, Penn, and OSU. Their losses were to Penn State, Notre Dame, Fairfield, and OSU.
Denver’s losses to OSU, Fairfield, and Notre Dame were by 1 goal.
Denver is led by Eric Law with 33G, 31A; Wesley Berg with 44G, 14A; and Cameron Flint with 32G, 11A. In net…well that is a Bill Tierney thing. He splits time right down the middle with two different goalies. Ryan Laplante has a GAA of 9.57 and a save percentage of 56.9%. Jamie Faus has an 8.94 GAA, and a save percentage of 56.4%.
Keys to this game:
1) With Albany’s faster pace, lots of shots, hard riding…will the altitude sap their energy if thye play as usual. 3 Quarters of many shots, not being afraid to take it inside and take a beating, along with hard rides…these will all sap energy at the Denver altitude.
2) Denver defense. Tierney was a mastermind at defense with Princeton, and this Denver defense still can play a tight zone well. No doubt they will be prepared against an offense that likes to take it inside and play a “box” style of offense. Between the defense of Tierney and the offensive boxlax skills of the Thompsons, it is a wash.
3) Goalies…Blaze for Albany is a bit of a question. While you don’t want a goalie who lets his emotions get the best of them, Blaze shows little to no emotion. Goalies need o be leaders on defense and at least some emotion is appreciated.
For Denver…I HATE splitting time for goalies. The defense doesn’t get one solid leader, the goalies’ confidence is not built, and no one can get into a rhythm. Now I say it tongue in cheek because Denver has won so many important games, but at some point this goalie by committee will fail. It might get you to the FF but will never win a championship…mark those words.
This game is a toss up. Albany’s fast pace may actually hurt them due to the altitude. On the other hand, Albany’s attack is flat out amazing, AND fun to watch. This could go either way, but I am going to go with Albany in this one.