News | 10/22/2009 4:54:08 PM | Bandits.com
Led by 2009 National Lacrosse League (NLL) top goal scorer Mark Steenhuis, the impressive offensive talent of the East All-Stars was too strong for their West-side competitors at Hisense Arena tonight, taking out the first game of the LeasePlan NLL All Star Series in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
The fire power of the East team didn't take long to ignite, scoring the first two goals courtesy of 2007 number one draft pick Jordan Hall and Steenhuis at the five and ten-minute mark of the first quarter.
Sprung into action, Calgary Roughnecks' Jeff Shattler got the West All-Star's on the board with a goal in the eleven-minute mark, followed by his second in the thirteen-minute mark. Further goals from Dane Dobbie and Aussie favourite Tim Fry securing the West a two goal lead at the first break (4-2).
A scoring frenzy in the second quarter for the East saw them create a seven goal turnaround to take a five goal lead into the main break (12-7). Impressive goals from league tough man Geoff Snider, six-time league MVP Gary Gait and a double from Rochester star John Grant Jnr. stole the show.
A last minute goal to Fry, taking his tally to two, provided hope for the West going into half time.
The hope was short-lived when 2006 all-world representative Jeff Zywicki drew first blood for the East team in the second half.
Despite holding together in the third term and a trio of goals from Aussie players Wes Green, Ben Newman and Ryan Garnsworthy, the West team couldn't reel in the offensive brilliance of the East, out-scoring them by just one goal to narrow the difference to four leading into the final quarter (16-12).
The East All-Stars put their foot down again in the final quarter, scoring eight goals to four finishing the first game with a convincing win, 24-16.
Steenhuis took his goal tally to six with two final quarter goals which earned him MVP honours, an award the 28-year-old is familiar with as the only multiple All-Star MVP in NLL history.
Steenhuis was pleased to get the opportunity to play amongst some of his fiercest rivals.
"I really enjoyed playing tonight in front of the Aussie crowd," Steenhuis said.
"All year we play against each other, and often hate each other, so it's neat to get to play alongside these guys tonight."
A keen surfer, the Buffalo Bandits player thought his MVP performance may have been enough to gain a leave pass for tomorrow night so he could head to the beach.
"I thought that if I won tonight, I wouldn't have to come back tomorrow," Steenhuis joked.
"No, I think that the West team will have something to prove tomorrow night so we are up for another great contest."
The second and final game of the series will be decided at Hisense Arena tomorrow night. The game kicks off at 7:30pm Melbourne time (4:30am Eastern), with tickets available for purchase at the gate.