Scores / Schedule
Game Recaps

Panther City Sweeps Season Series in Win Over Las Vegas Desert Dogs

The Panther City Lacrosse Club (8-5) defeated the Las Vegas Desert Dogs (4-8) and swept the season series after a 11-8 victory in Fort Worth on Saturday evening. The eighth win sets a franchise record for the second-year club after finishing their inaugural season with seven wins.

Goalie Nick Damude shined between the pipes, as he recorded a .814 save percentage stopping 35 of the 43 shots he faced. Tonight’s game marks the seventh time in Panther City’s eight wins that Damude has allowed ten or fewer goals and fourth win allowing single-digit goals. Damude is now third in the NLL in goals against average (9.99) and is one of three goalies to have a GAA under 10. Damude also added an assist for the second straight week.

Offensively, Will Malcom paced Panther City finishing with six points (1G/5A). His five assists were a game high. Rookie forward Jonathan Donville also recorded one goal and added four assists on the evening. With his first assist of the game, Donville became the 10th rookie in NLL history to eclipse 50 assists in a player’s first season. Donville currently leads the team with 53 assists, which is the fifth best mark in the NLL. Fellow rookie Mathieu Gautier also chipped in with two goals of his own.

Transition player Josh Medeiros led the club with three goals and has now recorded five goals in his last two games, while scoring in five straight games. The second-year player has 16 goals on the season, which doubles his goals scored from his rookie season.

Panther City has a short week and will play the Western Conference leading San Diego Seals at Dickies Arena this upcoming Friday night at 7:30 p.m. CT.

POST GAME QUOTES

HEAD COACH TRACEY KELUSKY QUOTES

 

On the not being content with the win tonight…

I love winning. Just the manner in which we did it. You have to find ways to win ugly at times, but it is hard to play after bye weeks. I hate to be negative after a win, but there is a level of comfort when we shouldn’t be. We shouldn’t be. Our backs are against the wall. We have to play like we are backed into a corner all the time. When we play desperate, we are good. I thought we were a little too loose tonight. Expecting to go out and win – the good thing is we matched their work ethic, which is the challenge I set out to those guys, as [Las Vegas] is a hard-working group and well coached group. I wasn’t happy with our production and our tactical play and our buy-in.”

On the recent play of Josh Medeiros…

“He is a guy that we challenged a couple weeks ago, personally. I think three weeks ago he arguably played one of his worst games since we had him. I know he started a new job and whatever. He can use that as a crutch all he wants, but again he is a professional. The way he stepped up since being challenged speaks volumes about his character.”

On beating Las Vegas three times this season…

“Credit to that group over there. That is a hard-working group over there. They are well coached and it is difficult to beat anybody in this league. It is an ‘Any Given Sunday’ league. You have to come and you have to play hard. You have to check all the boxes and from my perspective there were a lot of boxes that didn’t have check marks. A lot of it was from a tactical play and a buy-in point of view. My frustration was because it was the first time I have really seen it in our short existence of guys going off script a little bit. I don’t mind off script. I think you have to go off script. These guys are pros for a reason because they are great lacrosse players. They are innovative and they do things the way they have done things. Our overall commitment to the way we want to play as a collective group wasn’t as good as I liked it.”

On the team’s five-on-five defense in the second quarter…

Defensively, yes – 100 percent. The pulse of our group is our ‘D’. We are still young on the front side – really young on the front side, but our pulse is our ‘D’ and arguably our best defender again was [goalie] Nick Damude. Nicky has been playing well. I think he was sitting at 81 percent, which any time your goalie [has a save percentage] above 80 you have a real fighting chance or if not you should win the game.”

On the play of rookie Mathieu Gautier…

“Just grit. Sandpaper. That is the type of guy we were just talking about in the dressing room. We got him at nine [in the 2022 NLL Entry Draft]. He is a top-five pick every day, all day, any day, any year. He has done remarkable things for us this year. He keeps getting better. The best part about ‘The Goat’ [Gautier] is he is a student of the game. He wants to get better every time,. He is never content. He wants to play his best game, the next game. That is what we are chasing as a group. Getting all these guys to buy in – ‘Hey we were good last week. I have five last week. I had three last week, but I am not content.’ I want to take that next step. If we collectively take get that way then we are going to be a dangerous team.”

On the message to the team heading into the game against San Diego…

“Do your homework. One of the things we talk about as a group is the ‘why’. Why do we win? What are the correlations? When we punch in and guys are watching film and they are chiming in on the group chats as far as a scouting report. They are taking accountability on that – then we are real good. It is a hard league to stay connected with your teammates and your peers all the time, but at the same time it is also pretty easy too. We have zoom calls and all kinds of areas where we stay connected. We need to stay connected and we need to prepare for San Diego the way we have for other games. We need to dial it in a little more.”

TRANSITION PLAYER JOSH MEDEIROS QUOTES

On how he feels about five combined goals in the last two games and his motivation…

“I am just trying to get up the floor and help the offense as much as I can. TK [Head Coach Tracey Kelusky] is always harping on us trying to get up the floor and try to create a transition from the ‘D’ end. I just try to do what I can and help out the ‘O’ guys.”

On how he feels about scoring 16 goals this season so far…

“I don’t feel too much about it. I give everything to my teammates. They always give me the opportunity to get up the floor. I couldn’t do it without them.”

On sweeping Las Vegas and the momentum they have…

“They didn’t start out too well, but the last couple of games they have been on run, so we know that they’ve been on our tails. It’s nice to get the extra step ahead of them going into playoffs.”

On the message Kelusky had after the game…

“The message after the game, I think we were all a little pissed off at the way we played. A win is a win, but that wasn’t our best effort out there and I think TK knows that it wasn’t our best effort either. He could see it in our faces, so it’s grinding gears a little bit, but also trying to not to pump us at the same time [and] to keep going for the back half of the season.”

FORWARD MATHIEU GAUTIER QUOTES

On how he feels about his coach praising him post-game…

“It is awesome to hear those things from him. He has been around lacrosse for a very long time and coming from him its good.”

On his style of play being in and around the crease…

“It’s how I’ve been playing my style of lacrosse for a while, so coming to the league I didn’t want to get out of my game.”

On how he feels about scoring off a rebound from the post…

“I got the ball on the rebound, turned around [and] saw the shot clock [going] low, so I decided to let it go and found the top of the net there.”

On finding a comfort level in his game at the professional level…

“Yeah, I am definitely finding the mojo in this league. It’s getting there. You can always find even more mojo as you get going, so that is the game plan moving forward.”

On how he feels about the mindset for the rest of the season…

“Second half of the season, its playoff mentality starting now. You want to win every game, so it’s playoff mentality.”

Panther City Lacrosse Club