Friday Flashback: 1974-1975 National Lacrosse League

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Toronto Tomahawks play the Philadelphia Wings in the 1974 version of the NLL

Although there is currently a league called the National Lacrosse League, the first attempt at creating a professional indoor lacrosse league came in the mid-70s as hockey owners attempted to fill their arenas during the summer months with a sport which was similar to hockey.

Lacrosse in the 70s was virtually an unknown to much of the United States except for the Northeast.

Unfortunately, the league was not very successful with only the Philadelphia and Montreal franchises having any sizeable crowds in attendance.  Some of the notable players were Rick Dudley, Doug Favell and Bruce Arena.  Arena would achieve more notoriety later as the head coach of the United States National Soccer Team.

In the two seasons that the NLL was in existence, the teams were:

  • Maryland Arrows
  • Montreal Quebecois
  • Philadelphia Wings
  • Rochester Griffins (1974) became Long Island Tomahawks (1975)
  • Syracuse Stingers (1974) became Quebec Caribous (1975)
  • Toronto Tomahawks (1974) became Boston Bolts (1975)

Teams played a whopping 48-game schedule during the summer months.  The playing surfaces were not artificial turf as it is today but mostly covered ice rinks as the game was played on the same size as hockey teams used.

Players were paid about $6,500 a year to play in the NLL and most of the players were from Canada where the sport was more successful than in the United States at the time.

The Rochester Griffins won the 1974 title by defeating the Philadelphia Wings four games to two.  In 1975, the Quebec Caribous defeated the Montreal Quebecois in six games.

In one of the more interesting stories about the Philadelphia Wings, the Wings debuted in Philadelphia on Sunday night, May 19th, 1974.  The Philadelphia Flyers beat the Boston Bruins that afternoon at the Spectrum to capture the Stanley Cup.  While the city celebrated, stadium workers hurriedly flipped the building, laying the NLL”s wooden court over the ice for the Wings game that same night.  Wings players made their way through the revelers out on the streets to get to the arena.  An announced crowd of 12,841 turned out to watch the Wings beat the Montreal Quebecois 18-11.

When three of the six remaining teams went bankrupt before the 1976 season, the season was cancelled.  Professional indoor lacrosse returned in January 1987 with the Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League.  Today’s NLL has 11 teams spread across North America to include the San Diego Seals which begin play next season.

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Obscure Sports News (6/20/18)

American Arena League (AAL) – The Richmond Roughriders and Atlanta Havoc won close games to advance to the title game.  The Roughriders jumped out to a 22-0 lead on the Carolina Energy in the first quarter then had to rally from a 29-22 deficit in the third quarter as the Roughriders scored on five consecutive possessions for a 57-43 win.  The Atlanta Havoc was the higher seeded team in their semifinal matchup with the Cape Fear Heroes but due to scheduling conflicts they had to play in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  The Havoc scored with 22 seconds left to take a 61-54 win as Quarterback Chris Wallace scored from three yards out.

Arena Football League (AFL) – The Philadelphia Soul (5-4) defeated the Albany Empire (5-4) in a thrilling game at the Times Union Center in front of 9,534 fans with a final score of 75-74 and are now tied with Albany for 2nd place. With 0.4 seconds left in the game, Soul QB Shane Austin found WR Darius Prince in the end zone to score the game-winning 10-yard touchdown. Although the Empire led the entirety of the second half, the Soul made the comeback of the year as they scored 12 points in the last minute of the game.

Champions Indoor Football (CIF) – Top-seeded Duke City Gladiators opened the playoffs with a 50-39 win over the Wichita Force to claim their first postseason win in franchise history.  With 4:30 left in the game trailing 39-31, the Gladiators outscored the Force 19-0 including a fumble recovery in the end zone as time expired.  In other playoff games:   Texas Revolution 56, Amarillo Venom 45; Sioux City Bandits 54, Quad Cities Steamwheelers 46; Salina Liberty 81, Bismarck bucks 51.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The six-time world champion Arizona Rattlers (11-3) defeated the Nebraska Danger (4-10) in the final game of the regular season by a score of 59-23 at Eihusen Arena in Grand Island, Nebraska. The win earns the Rattlers home field advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. The Rattlers took command of the game early, scoring 13-straight points, and never relented. Arizona’s offense, defense, and special teams all put points on the board in a 36-point win. The Rattlers offense consisted mostly of the run game, with RB Darrell Monroe leading the way with 88 yards and three touchdowns. QB Verlon Reed, who came in for QB Jeff Ziemba midway through the second quarter, also had a big night on the ground, rushing for 77 yards and four touchdowns.  Other scores from last weekend:  Sioux Falls Storm 69, Green Bay Blizzard 61 (3 ot); Iowa Barnstormers 54, Cedar Rapids Titans 21.  This weekend’s playoff matchups:  Nebraska Danger at Iowa Barnstormers;  Sioux Falls Storm at Arizona Rattlers.

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Dallas Rattlers take over sole possession of first place in the MLL

Major Lacrosse League (MLL) – The Dallas Rattlers defeated the Ohio Machine by a score of 17-16 on Sunday night to take sole possession of first place in Major League Lacrosse. The Rattlers started off the first quarter with a strong three-goal run that opened with Jordan Wolf recording his 150th MLL career goal. Another milestone came with the second goal as Ty Thompson netted his first goal of the evening to make it 18 straight appearances with at least one goal. Thompson’s streak dates back to May 6, 2017. The Rattlers defense held the Machine to a scoreless final period of play. With the 17-16 win, the Rattlers are now in sole possession of first place and are the only MLL team to be undefeated at home.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – The league is taking a break this week due to the International Quidditch Association (IQA) World Cup which is being held June 27-July 2 in Florence, Italy.  Australia is the defending World Cup Champions.  The MLQ will resume league play on July 7th.

Major League Rugby (MLR) – In the largest match of the inaugural Major League Rugby season, the Glendale Raptors stood tall. The first-place Raptors (7-0) put their undefeated record on the line against the second-place Seattle Seawolves on Saturday night at Infinity Park in a match that decided the top of the MLR standings two weeks ahead of the MLR Playoffs. With so much to play for right in front of them, the Raptors knocked off the Seawolves (6-2) 33-11. Glendale swept the season series and kept their record unblemished.

Last week’s scores:

  • NOLA Gold 46, Utah Warriors 43
  • Glendale Raptors 33, Seattle Seawolves 11
  • San Diego Legion 31, Austin Elite Rugby 17

This week’s schedule:

  • Houston SaberCats at Utah Warriors
  • Glendale Raptors at San Diego Legion

National Arena League (NAL) – The Maine Mammoths (2-7) took on the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (0-8) for the second time this season. This victory is the Mammoths’ first victory in front of their home crowd and second win overall in the 2018 season. Their first victory was against the Steelhawks in Week Three with a 45-24 score. Quarterback Jonathan Bane returned to the Mammoths after suffering a minor injury. During the course of the game, he was 15-of-22 for 218 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception on the night. His top receiver was Devin Wilson, totaling eight receptions for 142 yards and five touchdowns. Wide Receiver Robert Brown Jr. made five receptions for 63 yards. On the defensive side for Brown Jr., he recovered a fumble and returned it all the way inside the five yard line, setting the Maine offense up to score. On special teams, he returned the opening kickoff 44 yards. Edgar Poe Jr. made one catch for 20 yards. On the rushing game, Desmond Maxwell had two rushes for three yards and one touchdown. Jackson Dallas rushed one time for two yards and one touchdown. Kicker Henry Nell was 7-of-7 on PAT’s, 0-for-1 on FG’s, and successfully made two deuces.

Last week’s scores:

  • Massachusetts Pirates 62, Columbus Lions 55
  • Maine Mammoths 62, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 36

This week’s schedule:

  • Columbus Lions at Carolina Cobras
  • Maine Mammoths at Jacksonville Sharks
  • Lehigh Valley Steelhawks at Massachusetts Pirates

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – One big inning was all the USSSA Pride needed to end Cleveland’s three-game win streak. The Pride scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth to defeat the visiting Comets, 4-0, in the first of a three-game series at Space Coast Stadium.  Jailyn Ford picked up the pitching victory for the Pride. She allowed just one hit and struck out four in five innings of work. Jolene Henderson struck out four of the seven batters she faced in the final two innings.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe was voted the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Player of the Week by the NWSL Media Association for Week 11 and 12 of the 2018 NWSL season.Bledsoe, 26, recorded her third and fourth shutouts of the season leading the Spirit to back-to-back scoreless draws against Sky Blue FC on June 8 at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ and Seattle Reign FC on June 16 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md.

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played against the Connecticut Sun and Los Angeles Sparks. This is the 13th player of the week honor of Delle Donne’s career. In Washington’s 95-91 win over the Sun, Delle Donne scored a season-high 36 points, shooting 13-for-22 from the field and grabbing six rebounds. Against the Los Angeles Sparks, she scored 18 points and had seven rebounds to go along with four steals. Delle Donne averaged 27 ppg and 6.5 rpg for the week.

Current Standings:

  • Eastern Conference
    • Connecticut Sun (7-4)
    • Washington Mystics (6-5)
    • Atlanta Dream (6-5)
    • New York Liberty (3-6)
    • Chicago Sky (3-7)
    • Indiana Fever (1-10)
  • Western Conference
    • Los Angeles Sparks (8-2)
    • Phoenix Mercury (10-3)
    • Seattle Storm (8-3)
    • Dallas Wings (5-4)
    • Minnesota Lynx (4-6)
    • Las Vegas Aces (3-9)

 

 

 

 

 

2017-2018 Minor League Hockey Champions

MinorLeagueHockey2018The Toronto Marlies officially ended the 2017-2018 hockey season with their Game 7 win over the Texas Stars last night.  All of the cups have been won and here are the leagues and teams that have claimed their titles:

American Hockey League (AHL):  Toronto Marlies

  • Andreas Johnson and Mason Marchment each scored twice while netminder Garret Sparks made 29 saves at the Marlies defeated the Texas Stars 6-1 in Game 7 to win their first Calder Cup and the first men’s professional hockey title for the city of Toronot since 1967.

ECHL:  Colorado Eagles

  • Colorado defeated the Florida Everblades in seven games to repeat as Kelly Cup champions in their final season before moving to the AHL next season.  The Eagles rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the third period as Gabriel Verpaelst netted the game winner with 2:29 left.

Federal Hockey League (FHL):  Watertown Wolves

  • The Wolves defeated the Port Huron Prowlers 3 games to 1 to win the Commissioner’s Cup.  This was their second FHL title having won it previously in 2015.  Gavin Yates led the Wolves with six goals in the playoffs and was awarded the league’s MVP.

Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL):  Huntsville Havoc

  • The Havoc became the first fourth-seeded team to win the SPHL President’s Cup beating the Peoria Rivermen 2 games to 1.  Sy Nutkevtich, who scored a goal in each playoff game against Peoria, had 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in the postseason and was named the MVP.  This was the Havoc’s second league title.  They last won it in 2010.

National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL):  Metropolitan Riveters

  • The Riveters knocked off the defending Isobel Cup champs with a 1-0 win over the Buffalo Beauts.  Katie Fitzgerald was the game’s MVP as she held Buffalo scoreless.  Alexa Gruschow got the game’s only goal in the first period for the Riveters.   This was their first Isobel Cup title.

North American Hockey League (NAHL):  Shreveport Mudbugs

  • The Mudbugs came from behind to beat the Minot Minotauros 2-1 to win the Robertson Cup.  Cole Quisenberry tipped home the game winner early in the third period for the Mudbugs.  This was the Mudbugs’ first title in the NAHL.  The franchise had previously won titles in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2011 in the Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL) and Central Hockey League (CHL).

United States Hockey League (USHL):  Fargo Force

  • The Force won their first title in team history winning the Clark Cup over the Youngstown Phantoms.  The Force got a late goal from Ty Farmer and an empty net goal from Mark Senden wo win 4-2 in Game 4 and clinch the series 3 games to 1.  It took 10 years, 667 games and 63 playoff games for their first title.

Western Hockey League (WHL):  Swift Current Broncos

  • The Broncos captured the Memorial Cup for the first time in 25 years.  Beck Malenstyn put in an empty net goal to shut the door on the Everett Silvertips for a 3-0 win in Game 6.  It wasn’t an easy path for the Broncos as it took them seven games to eliminate the Regina Pats in the first round and another seven games to advance past Moose Jaw in the second round.  In the Eastern Conference final, they defeated Lethbridge 4 games to 2.

 

Obscure Sports Report (6/13/18)

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Third NLL Title for Saskatchewan Rush in Four Years

The Saskatchewan Rush won their third National Lacrosse League (NLL) title in Game 3 of the championship series against the Rochester Knighthawks.  Jeff Shattler scored four goals in the series-deciding game in the 15-10 win.  For the Rush, the win was particularly sweet redemption after having their two-year reign atop the NLL come to a gut-wrenching conclusion last year as they lost the final to the Georgia Swarm especially losing the deciding Game 2 at home in overtime. But the Rush were determined to get back to the top and they rumbled through the regular season with a 14-4 record which earned them home-floor advantage throughout the playoffs. They wound up needing it and using it to their full advantage with a raucous crowd of 13,645 at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon watching the Rush hoist the newly minted NLL Cup.

The American Arena League (AAL) wrapped up their regular season but the playoff schedule is a little blurry.  The Georgia Doom defeated the Atlanta Havoc on Saturday, 48-42, to clinch a playoff berth but the Doom owners decided not to participate in the playoffs.   Don’t expect the league’s website to be much help either.  According to the standings, the top teams are:  Richmond Roughriders (10-1), Atlanta Havoc (9-2), Georgia Doom (6-2) and Carolina Energy (6-3).

Washington Valor defensive back Fred Obi has been named the Arena Football League (AFL) Week 9’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Philadelphia Soul. In his first game with the Valor, Obi recorded three solo tackles, one pass break-up and a pair of interceptions, the second of which occurred with just 18 seconds left in the game and sealed the Washington win.

The Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league begins their playoffs this weekend with eight teams entering the postseason.

  • Duke City Gladiators vs. Wichita Force
  • Amarillo Venom vs. Texas Revolution
  • Salina Liberty vs. Bismarck Bucks
  • Sioux City Bandits vs. Quad Cities Steamwheelers

Champions Bowl IV will be played the weekend of June 30th, with the location of the game to be determined during the playoffs.

The Sioux Falls Storm stunned the Iowa Barnstormers in a week 16 Indoor Football League (IFL) showdown.   The Storm would begin the third quarter with a 25-yard field goal by Miles Bergner, cutting the Barnstormers lead to 35-31. The Barnstormers would extend their lead to 49-31 after scoring on back to back drives. The first score was a 21-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Skyler Scott and then a 29-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Brady Roland. The Storm would end the third quarter with a team safety, trailing 49-33.  The Sioux Falls Storm would be the only team to score in the fourth quarter to earn their tenth win of the season with a 51-49 victory. The first score was a one-yard rushing touchdown by Lorenzo Brown along with a successful two-point conversion where Lorenzo Brown found Damond Powell, next Lorenzo Brown would get a two-yard rushing touchdown with a successful two-point conversion after Lorenzo Brown hit Damian Ford and then the Thunder Defense would block the game winning field and earn a safety from it.

The Columbus Lions defeated the Maine Mammoths 55-34 on Saturday night in the National Arena League (NAL). The Lions held off a late charge from the Mammoths to improve their record to 5-2 on the season. This loss drops the Mammoths to 1-7 on the year.  Quayvon Hicks led the offense on Saturday. Hicks rushed for three touchdowns, with his final touchdown sealing the game for the Lions. Quarterback Mason Espinosa had another efficient day throwing for over 250 yards and five touchdowns. Triston Purifoy had a monster game for the Lions. Purify hauled in 11 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns. Durron Neal contributed with 84 yards on four catches and two touchdowns. The Lions offense totaled 281 yards on the day and averaged 5.9 yards per play.

In the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL), the DC Breeze had a thrilling 25-24 overtime win over the Toronto Rush to hand the Rush their first loss of the season.  Toronto had the disc with 38 seconds remaining in overtime with a chance to send the contest to the sudden death 2nd OT; however, the DC defense held on and frustrated Toronto’s offensive push.

The revival of the XFL, which plans to start in 2020 with eight teams is considering St. Louis, Houston, San Antonio and Los Angeles.

The BIG3 Basketball League is coming back again this summer and the 3-on-3 league starts on June 22nd with live streaming the league’s game for a nine-week period with one game being shown each Friday.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) has begun its fourth season with 16 teams.  The Austin Outlaws are the defending champions.

 

 

Potsdam Royals edge Milano in a Thriller; Swarco repeats as Champs

EFL1
Mliano WR Xavier Mitchell scored 4 TDs in a losing effort

European Football League Final:  Potsdam Royals 43, Milano Seamen 42

Germany’s Potsdam Royals overcame a fourth quarter, two touchdown deficit and added the winning two point conversion with 22 seconds left to defeat the Milano Seamen 43-42 in Milano, Italy and win the European Football League, EFL, title.

Royals quarterback Austin Gahafer completed 31 of 48 passes for 404 yards and three touchdowns while running back Tyvis Smith scored three touchdowns. Wide receiver Frederik Myrup Nielsen caught 11 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown while Max Zimmerman had eight receptions for 121 yards and a score. The other touchdown was scored by David Soul.

In the fourth quarter, after a 78 yard drive which included a fourth down conversion in their own zone, the Royals scored with Smith rushing for a seven yard touchdown. With the score 42-41 the Royals elected to go for the win. On the first two-point conversion attempt, Smith scored but a holding call nullified the two points. The next attempt, with 22 seconds on the clock was successful and Potsdam held a 43-42 lead.

Milano had one final shot at winning the game but the Royals blocked their 60-yard attempt as time expired.

Central European Football League Bowl XII:  Swarco Raiders 49, Istanbul Koc Rams 20

With 4,000 fans looking on a Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck, Austria, the Swarco Raiders defeated the Istanbul Koc Rams from Turkey 49-20 to capture CEFL Bowl XIII and repeat as CEFL champions.

CEFL1
Swarco RB Platzgummer (7) ran wild for the Raiders scoring 4 TDs.

Sandro Platzgummer led the Raiders with four touchdowns in the game as the Raiders broke open a tense football game in the second half.

Trailing 28-14 at halftime, the Rams came out in the second half with Quarterback David Whipple marching his team to the Swarco 15 yard line before connecting with Kaan Özer to narrow the lead to 28-20.

That was as close as they got. The rains came and so did Platzgummer. In a sudden heavy downpour, Platzgummer was unstoppable in the second half reeling off touchdown runs of 10 and 70 yards. Then he scored on an amazing 45 yard punt return, breaking four tackles and leaving would-be tacklers flailing their arms and sealing the final score, 49-20.

Obscure Sports News (6/4/18)

 

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Women’s Professional Lacrosse League Begins Play With 5 Teams

Alliance of American Football (AAF): The proposed new springtime AAF officially announced San Diego and Birmingham will be its sixth and seventh team locations. The AAF plans to start play with eight teams in February 2019 and previously announced teams for the markets of Atlanta, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

American Arena League (AAL): The Richmond Roughriders defeated the Jersey Flight 74-65 on Saturday night at the Richmond Coliseum, advancing their record to 9-1.  By defeating Jersey, Richmond ensured itself the Northern Division title in the AAL with one game remaining in the season, a home game next Saturday against the High Country Grizzlies. The game marked the indoor football debut for new receiver Robert Meachem, who was a Super Bowl champion in the NFL. Meachem was eased into the action, though, with Rashaad Carter continuing to take the bulk of the catches for the Roughriders.

Arena Football League (AFL):  The Albany Empire (5-2) won their fifth consecutive game on Saturday night in a back and forth battle against the Baltimore Brigade (5-2) at the Times Union Center by a score of 61-53 in front of a crowd of 8,057. The game was even throughout, but thanks to a late defensive touchdown by the Empire, Albany took the lead and momentum and never looked back. Albany maintained its third quarter dominance by allowing just 7 points. So far on the season, the Empire has outscored opponents by 61 total points in the third quarter.

Current League Standings:

  1. Baltimore Brigade (5-2)
  2. Albany Empire (5-2)
  3. Philadelphia Soul (4-3)
  4. Washington Valor (0-7)

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL):  The Minnesota Wind Chill secured a 22-18 victory over the Indianapolis Alleycats at home on Saturday. The Alleycats, now 7-2 had their six-game win streak snapped by the Wind Chill. The first place Alleycats fell to second place in the division while the Wind Chill remain in third.

Division Leaders:

  • South:  Dallas Roughnecks (7-1)
  • West:  Los Angeles Aviators (7-2)
  • East:  Toronto Rush (8-0)
  • Midwest:  Madison Radicals (6-1)

Champions Indoor Football (CIF):  Mario Esparza kicked a 19-yard field goal in overtime as Bismarck Bucks erased a 25-point deficit to beat the Omaha Beef 41-38 and eliminate the Beef from playoff contention. The Beef (4-8) led 38-13 in the second quarter after a 1-yard touchdown run by John Gibbs.  But Tray Boone answered with a 50-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and the Bucks (5-6) slowly chipped away at the lead. Esparza kicked a 29-yard field goal to tie the game as time expired in regulation.

Indoor Football League (IFL):  The Iowa Barnstormers (10-2) beat the Arizona Rattlers (10-3) 41-38 Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, sweeping the 3-1 series. At the start of the third quarter Drew Powell marched the ball in for an Iowa touchdown, 34-28. Iowa’s wide receiver Skyler Scott ran the ball 7-yards for the touchdown, 41-31. Jeff Ziemba completed a pass to Jamal Miles for the Arizona touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead and the Barnstormers won 41-38. With the win, the Iowa Barnstormers have swept their three game regular season series against the Arizona Rattlers, being the only team in the IFL to give Arizona a loss so far this season.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL):   The Denver Outlaws handed the Charlotte Hounds their first home loss of the season, and completed a season sweep against them, in a 16-13 win on Saturday night.  Denver scored five of the first six goals of the game and Wes Berg had two goals in a 30-second span in the first quarter. Ryan Brown scored with just under six minutes left in regulation to cut Charlotte’s deficit to 14-13. The Outlaws would answer with goals from Eric Law and Chris Cloutier to close out the game.  The Hounds started the season 4-0, but have now lost two of their last three, with both losses coming at the hands of the Outlaws.

Major League Rugby (MLR):  The Glendale Raptors remained as the only undefeated team in the league with a 47-10 win over NOLA Gold in a steamy game played in New Orleans.  Temps were over 90 degrees but the Raptors jumped out to a 19-0 lead and never were threatened.  With seven tries on the day, Glendale trails Seattle by just one point in the league standings while remaining the only unbeaten side in MLR. The Raptors have two remaining home games, hosting the Houston Sabercats on June 8 after a quick turnaround from this weekend’s play, then the Seattle Seawolves on June 16. Glendale’s final regular season match is on the road, the team traveling to California to tackle San Diego Legion. Glendale will play host to the league semifinals on June 30, with matches at Infinity Park deciding which of America’s professional rugby teams will compete for their first championship title. The top four teams in the league will gather in Glendale, competing in a double header that kicks off at 5pm Mountain Time. Winners of each match will then travel to San Diego on July 7 for the first ever, American professional rugby championship.

National Arena League (NAL): The Jacksonville Sharks (6-3) took down the Columbus Lions (4-2) in a back and forth second-half battle with a score of 67-65. This is the second time Jacksonville has faced the Lions this season. Sharks Quarterback Adrian McPherson had his best game as a Shark tonight, and is rapidly improving. His 26-of-37 for 327 yards, eight touchdowns, and one interception performance helped the Sharks take the lead multiple times this game. Leading receiver, Antonio Vaughan had a 100-yard performance with eight receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns. McPherson used his targets wisely, as Chris Gilchrist finished the night with 90 yards and three touchdowns, Cody Saul had 55 receiving yards with one touchdown, and Tom Gilson had a game that helped the team out tremendously by having four receptions for 68 yards and two touchdowns.

The league has also registered the “Nashville Kats” as the potential name of a future team to be announced. A Nashville-based team was reported to be close to playing in the 2018 season of the NAL but decided to wait another season. The original Arena Football League had two versions (1997-2001 and 2005-07) of teams called the Nashville Kats. More recently, a team called the Nashville Venom played two seasons (2014-15) in the former Professional Indoor Football League.

National Lacrosse League (NLL):   Goalie Matt Vinc of the Rochester Knighthawks forced a third and deciding game in the NLL Cup Final. Vinc finished with 47 saves and the Knighthawks used a four-goal run in the second quarter to catapult them to a 13-8 victory over the Saskatchewan Rush in Game 2 of the best-of-three final on Saturday night.  Game 3 will go down on June 9th back at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon where the Rush earned a 16-9 win in the series opener.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF):Shellie Robinson and Alexa Peterson both hit home runs but it wasn’t enough for the Cleveland Comets to avoid a sweep at Chicago as the Bandits collected six extra base hits on the way to a 12-5 win on Sunday at the Ballpark at Rosemont. The Bandits used a pair of walks and two singles to score two runs off Cleveland rookie Devin Brown in the top of the first. Jiang Xinyue drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third and scored on Robinson’s opposite field homer, the first four-bag hit in Cleveland Comets history.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL):  The North Carolina Courage fought to draw the Houston Dash in their fourth consecutive road game. After finding themselves trailing by one early in the second half, the Courage turned to a new face to provide the late-game heroics as rookie Frannie Crouse netted the equalizer to earn the point.

Current League Standings:

  1. North Carolina Courage (30 pts)
  2. Seattle Reign FC (18)
  3. Orlando Pride (16)
  4. Portland Thorns FC (15)
  5. Chicago Red Stars (15)
  6. Utah Royals FC (14)
  7. Houston Dash (14)
  8. Washington Spirit (8)
  9. Sky Blue FC (1)

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA):  The Las Vegas Aces got a 26-point, 12-rebound double-double from rookie of the year candidate A’ja Wilson, and season-scoring-highs off the bench from Dearica Hamby (14 points) and Kelsey Bone (10) en route to an 85-73 victory over the Washington Mystics (5-2). It was the Aces’ (1-4) first win since relocating from San Antonio last fall.

Current League Standings:

Eastern Conference

  1. Connecticut Sun (5-0)
  2. Washington Mystics (5-3)
  3. Chicago Sky (3-3)
  4. New York Liberty (2-2)
  5. Atlanta Dream (2-3)
  6. Indiana Fever (0-6)

Western Conference

  1. Los Angeles Sparks (4-1)
  2. Seattle Storm (5-2)
  3. Phoenix Mercury (4-3)
  4. Dallas Wings (3-3)
  5. Minnesota Lynx (2-5)
  6. Las Vegas Aces (1-5)

Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL): The new WPLL started its inaugural 2018 season this weekend with five teams called Baltimore Brave, New England Command, New York Fight, Philadelphia Fire and Upstate Pride (Albany, NY). The league will play a total of nine regular-season games with playoffs starting in mid-July. The former commissioner of the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX), which started play in 2016, is the organizer of the WPLL.

Friday Flashback: 1975 NBA Finals

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Right now the Golden State Warriors are competing in their fourth straight National Basketball Association (NBA) finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Although the Warriors are one of the most dominant teams in the NBA right now, they went a long stretch between finals.  In the 1975 NBA finals, the Golden State Warriors was underdogs against the heavily-favored Washington Bullets.  The Bullets had rolled through the season with a 60-22 record while the Warriors got in with a record of 48-34 which was actually the best record in the Western Conference.

This was the first championship game or final in North American professional sports which feature two African American head coaches with Al Attles for the Warriors and K.C. Jones with the Bullets.

The Warriors last made the NBA Finals in 1967, when they were still in San Francisco. In the years since, they moved to Oakland, briefly lost Rick Barry to the American Basketball Association, and named Warriors great Al Attles as head coach. Before the start of the 1974–75 season they traded future Hall of Famer Nate Thurmond to the Chicago Bulls for young center Clifford Ray. They also drafted Jamaal Wilkes, then known as Keith Wilkes, out of UCLA. With Barry as the offensive leader, and with Attles using a team approach to coaching, the Warriors managed to finish the season atop the Western Conference with 48 wins. In the playoffs, they defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in six games, then eliminated the Chicago Bulls in seven games to advance to the Finals.

The Bullets were led by Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes.  They defeated the Buffalo Braves and the defending champion Boston Celtics in the playoffs.

In Game One, the Bullets built a 14-point lead at the half over the Warriors at the Capital Centre. The Warriors began to storm back, with Phil Smith coming off the bench to score 20 points in 31 minutes of playing time, as Golden State took the first game, 101–95.

In Game Two, the Bullets jumped to an early 13-point lead, but Golden State battled back, led by 36 points from Rick Barry, to take a 92–91 lead in the closing seconds. Washington got the ball back with six seconds left but missed two shots and now were down 2–0.

Rick Barry poured in 38 points in Game Three while backup center George Johnson had 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench to help the Warriors to a 109–101 win.

Finding themselves in an 0-3 deficit, the Bullets seemed to be on their way to staving off an unexpected sweep by the underdog Warriors, leading by 14 points early on. Bullets forward Mike Riordan was assigned to guard Barry, who had killed the Bullets in the series up to that point by averaging 35 points a game.  After a brawl following a hard foul on Barry, he immediately went on a scoring spree.  The Warriors’ pressure defense, brought them back and guard Butch Beard scored the last seven points of the game, including two free throws to make the final score 96–95.

Barry was named as the series MVP.

It has been ranked as one of the biggest upsets in NBA finals history.