Las Vegas, NV (January 27, 2023) – The Panther City Lacrosse Club routed the Las Vegas Desert Dogs, 21-12, in a historic performance Saturday evening at Michelob ULTRA Arena, reminiscent of the stars from America’s Got Talent Superstars Live, which Michelob ULTRA Arena also serves as a backdrop for. Panther City scored 15 goals in the first half, which are the most goals scored in a single half this season in the NLL. Their 21 goals set a franchise record for most goals scored in a single game, besting the 20 goals the team scored on January 28, 2023 at Vancouver.
18-year veteran Callum Crawford was the star of the show this evening as he poured in 15 points, a new career high, on a career high eight goals and seven assists, which was two assists shy of his personal best. Crawford’s 15 points are the most points scored in a single game this season.
Fourth-year forward Will Malcom also had a career evening as he poured in a career high 14 points with four goals and a career high 10 assists. Malcom’s previous career high was 13 points (5G/8A) in the previously mentioned contest against Vancouver (1/28/23). Malcom’s 10 assists are the most assists in a single game this season in the NLL.
Crawford and Malcom combined for 29 points, which set an NLL record for most points scored by a set of teammates in a single game, breaking the record of 26 points by Mark Steenhuis (17) and Cory Bomberry (9) in 2009 (h/t Graeme Perrow / @NLLStats).
Five different PCLC players recorded at least six points tonight as Jonathan Donville (7 points – 1G/6A), Mathieu Gautier (7 points – 1G/6A) and Phil Caputo (6 points – 5G/1A) joined Crawford and Malcom in the scoring spree. Caputo’s five goals set a new career high, of which he also chipped in with two power play goals. Caputo has six power play goals this season through six games and is the franchise leader with 26 man-advantage goals.
As a team, Panther City also set a bevy of records on the offensive end in addition to the 21 goals scored, as the 38 assists are also a new franchise record. Panther City’s goals (21), assists (38), power play goals (6) and power play assists (11) are all season highs across the NLL this season.
Defensively, Nick Damude got the win in net and stopped 29 of the 38 shots he faced and surrendered single-digit goals for the second time this season. Ronin Pusch led the team with 14 loose balls and also was 19-36 (52.8%) from the face-off dot. Liam Patten chipped in with eight loose balls and one caused turnover, while Tony Malcom had seven loose balls, two caused turnovers and added a goal and an assist.
Panther City finishes their rodeo road tour next weekend as they face the Saskatchewan Rush in Saskatoon on Saturday, February 3 at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN+.
POST GAME QUOTES:
FORWARD PHIL CAPUTO QUOTES
On the team’s offensive output…
“It was huge. I think we played a little more free and loose up there swinging the ball and everyone was getting their touches. It was good for our group to put up a number like that as that gives us a bunch of confidence as we head to Saskatchewan next weekend.”
On what the offensive performance does for the team’s momentum…
“It is huge. [The coaches] have confidence in us and we were letting the ball fly and play freely and finding open guys shoot our shot is great for our offense.
On his career night…
“The boys were finding me inside and I was picking my spots. I felt good, but the team win is way better and feels much better.”
DEFENSEMAN BRENT MITCHELL QUOTES
On what his physical style of play brings to the team when he consistently will answer the bell…
“We are not going to get pushed around. We were destroying them offensively and they were responding, acting gritty, gritty as possible, and we were not going to be pushed around. We weren’t looking for it, but we are not going to take anything.”
On if he takes pride in sticking up for his teammates…
“Yeah, absolutely. I don’t look for it. I don’t love it at all. I don’t know – I don’t look for it at all. I just want to be a good defender, but if I have to answer the bell I am always going to.”
FORWARD WILL MALCOM QUOTES
On what was working offensively this evening…
“I think everyone was finally playing with confidence and we were whizzing the ball around. Everyone was getting their touches. When you do that the goalie is moving back and forth and then shots go in easier.”
On Callum Crawford’s historic evening…
“It is a pleasure to watch that guy. When he is on, he is one of the best ever and is still one of the best in the league. It is honestly so fun to watch the guy go to work and you want to watch and learn as much as possible from him.”
On his career high performance…
“I was slowing the game down. TK has been on me a little bit and saying I am moving too fast, so I was trying to slow the game down in my mind and see how everything plays out.”
On keeping the momentum rolling…
“It is huge. It starts with our preparation during the week, watching film and building on it. We can’t go out and continue to do the same thing. We have to make changes and good things will happen.”