Jones has eclipsed the 80-point mark twice in a season prior to this, in 2018 and 2019; during the 2020 season, Jones was on a 102-point pace and ranked second in the NLL with 74 points over 13 games when the league hit its COVID shutdown in March of 2020. A year ago he started off with 12 goals and 14 assists over four games, a 117-point pace, before his season ended due to an injury.
With his six goals and eight assists against New York on March 4, Jones tied a franchise record for goals in a single game and set new franchise highs for assists and points. Kevin Crowley held both marks previously, having posted seven assists against Rochester on Jan. 22, 2022 and 10 points on Jan. 26, 2019 vs. Toronto. Jones became the third Wing to score six goals in a game, joining Matt Rambo (2/16/20 at NE) and Corey Small (3/26/22 at ROC). Jones also set a single-game record with 18 shots on goal, topping the 17 done twice previously by Chris Cloutier on Dec. 29, 2018 and Crowley on Jan. 19, 2019.
The Wings also tied a franchise record with the 19 goals in the game. They put up the same number in the final game of their first season, April 20, 2019 at Georgia.
Meanwhile, Joe Resetarits has taken possession of two franchise records for a single season and is nearing a third. His overtime winner in the last Rochester contest was his 36th goal of the campaign, breaking the single-season franchise record of 35 set by Kevin Crowley in 2019. Along the way, he also broke Crowley’s single-season points record of 89 set last season; he has now reached 97 on the year. Resetarits has 61 assists on the season, leaving him four away from breaking Crowley’s mark of 64 set last year.
Resetarits has a point in every game this season and has scored a goal in 13 of the 16 contests so far; he’s had eight hat tricks and 10 games of six points or more. Resetarits arrived in the offseason from Albany, where the Hamburg, NY native tied for the league lead last season in goals (47) and ranked third in points (111) en route to being named First Team All-League for the first time in his career, becoming the first American player to make the list since 2010. It was his second 100-point season following a 100-point campaign for Rochester in 2018, when he helped the original Knighthawks reach the NLL Finals.
Trevor Baptiste enters the weekend ranked second in the NLL in faceoff percentage and overall faceoff wins, having gone 287-for-412 (70.0 pct) on the year. He has been perfect twice this year, going 27- for-27 against New York on March 6 and 22-for-22 on Feb. 4 against Albany.
Baptiste hit 1000 career faceoff wins on January 27 vs. Buffalo, becoming just the 13th player in NLL history to do so, and passed the 1200-win plateau last weekend. Baptiste scorched opponents with 249 faceoff wins in 340 attempts in 2019- 20; his total wins led the league and his win percentage was second. Baptiste set an NLL record when he won 362 faceoffs in his rookie year of 2018-19, a year that also saw him finish second in overall percentage.
Blaze Riorden is enjoying a career year, having achieved career highs in goals (31, previously 23), assists (35, previously 31) and points (66, previously 54). He picked up his fourth career overtime game-winner on March 19 in Rochester, doing so in his hometown. Riorden joins Joe Resetarits as the only two Wings to post a point in every game this season; he had five of the Wings’ eight goals in their opening-weekend loss in Halifax, and had two in Georgia followed by a hat trick in Las Vegas. Earlier this season, Riorden recorded his 100th career NLL assist. Although a forward with the Wings, Riorden is widely regarded as one of the best goalies ever to play the outdoor game; he is a three-time winner of the PLL’s Goaltender of the Year Award with Chaos LC and won league MVP honors while leading Chaos to the league championship in 2021.
TRADES SINCE START OF SEASON
3/20: Liam Byrnes from Panther City in exchange for Albany’s second-round pick in 2023 2/23: Fourth-round pick in 2024 from Georgia in exchange for John Ranagan.
1/31: Mitch Jones from Vancouver in exchange for Steph Charbonneau, a first-round pick in 2023 and a second-round pick in 2024
1/26: Marcus Minichiello from Buffalo in exchange for a swap of sixth-round draft picks in 2025
1/16: Taite Cattoni from Albany on January 16 in exchange for a third-round pick in 2024
Mitch Jones needs:
10 assists to reach 300 in his career. Four points to reach 500 in his career.
Joe Resetarits needs three loose ball recoveries to reach 600 in his career.
Blaze Riorden needs five goals to reach 100 in his career.
ON THE BENCH
Head Coach and General Manager Paul Day returns for his fourth season of play, but his sixth overall season in his role with the club. He was originally hired in 2017 following the purchase of the franchise by Comcast Spectacor and spent the rest of the 2017-18 season preparing for the expansion draft, and also remained with the franchise during the league’s COVID pause from 2020-21. He signed a three-year contract extension in 2021 that runs through the 2023- 24 season. Day was honored following the shortened 2019-20 season with the prestigious Les Bartley Award, which recognizes the National Lacrosse League’s Head Coach of the Year, and was also named General Manager of the Year. The Wings had improved from a 4-14 inaugural season to a record of 8-6 when the campaign was halted in March 2020.
The Wings also filled their vacant offensive coordinator role this offseason with the hiring of Jeff McComb. He replaces Tracey Kelusky, who left the Wings to become the head coach of Panther City prior to last season, and the position was not filled for 2021-22. McComb had been with the Saskatchewan Rush since 2014, where he coached Wings forward Ben McIntosh for five seasons. He became the head coach in 2020, although he didn’t get to take the bench in the role until the start of last season. During his run with the Rush, he helped the franchise to three championhips as part of four consecutive appearances in the NLL Finals.
McComb joins Ian Rubel on the bench, who has been the team’s defensive coordinator from its beginning in 2018. Rubel’s playing career included time with the Columbus Landsharks, Toronto Rock, Minnesota Swarm and the Rochester Knighthawks. With the Toronto Rock, Rubel played on three championship teams; 2002, 2003, and 2005. Along the way he also represented Canada in a Heritage Cup game.