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Panther City Weathers the Warrior Storm in Victory

In a tightly contested contest, the Panther City Lacrosse Club (5-4) was victorious over the visiting Vancouver Warriors (1-8), 14-13, on Saturday night in front of the Fort Worth faithful at Dickies Arena.

Callum Crawford, back after a one-game absence, ignited Panther City’s offense as he led all scorers with five goals on the evening. Crawford, who co-owns Impulse Lacrosse Club, was able to play in front of six of his youth programs as they made the trek down from Tulsa, Okla. for Panther City’s ‘Youth Lacrosse Night’ game. Rookie Jonathan Donville led all scorers with eight points (2G/6A) and added one power-play assist to his league leading total (17).

Panther City started the scoring efforts quickly as transition player Josh Medeiros recorded a goal 26 seconds into the game. He had his best offensive performance of his young career, tallying his first career hat trick and finishing the evening with four points (3G/1A) and tied for the team-lead with nine loose balls.

In net for Panther City, Nick Damude had a career high 50 saves on 63 shot attempts (.794 save percentage), which broke his previous record of 48 saves he made this year at Saskatchewan (12/31/22).

POST GAME QUOTES

HEAD COACH TRACEY KELUSKY QUOTES

On seeing the great turnout from the fans in the team’s first home game since December 17th

“It is always awesome to come to Texas. Our people that are selling tickets did a great job of getting people in the seats and our job is to win games. We know in sports if you are winning, people will probably jump on the. Bandwagon and or are more apt to jump on the bandwagon. Our job is to go out and perform. It helps when you have a great crowd in front of you.”

On the difference between tonight’s game and the last matchup against Vancouver…

“It is a hard league to win in. It is an ‘any given Sunday’ type of league. Their goaltender struggled a little bit and he probably would be the first to admit he struggled the last time we played them. He was good tonight. Offensively, we weren’t as poised as we were a couple weeks ago. I give credit to that squad. The General [Vancouver Head Coach Troy Cordingley] was one of my coaches when I played, so I know what he demands of his players. They came out and played for him. They are a good lacrosse team, despite what their record is.”

On rebounding after the second quarter…

“It certainly is a game of momentum and we know that. It is a roller coaster at times when you are playing in the National Lacrosse League. The highs and the lows. Ultimately, what we said was stick to our principles on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. Just really do your job. That has been our message from Day 1. We have really good defenders. We have really good offensive players. I think at times we try to do a little bit too much. If we just stick to the basics and play a blue-collar game with some grit then we are going to be successful.

On the team winning the close games this year…

“It is a belief system. Last year we were trying to figure out our identity and guys were starting to figure one another out. The guys are believing now. The best thing about tonight and I talked to our guys at halftime – our composer in the second quarter. They scored and we know it is a game of runs and we have to get back to and play. When you believe in a confident team in this league or in any league – it is a dangerous thing. Similarly, a team that has their back [against the wall] is a dangerous team. I like our competitiveness and the leadership in our group and how we are able to collectively battle through.”

On what Callum Crawford brings to the team…

“We have those [impactful] guys. Doddsy [forward Patrick Dodds] certainly stepped up last year for us and again he had a quiet two tonight. Malcs [forward Will Malcom] was on the left side and he is always contributing and putting defenders on their heels. One of the reasons we went out and got Crawford is because he is a veteran guy. Some of his poise on the bench and when he comes off – the stuff you don’t see on the floor. The veteran leadership and someone who can be the quarterback for the young group is vitally important. His contribution of five goals was massive, but again, a big reason why we got him was for his competitive nature and his poise on the bench and having lived it.”

On Nick Damude’s performance (career-high 50 saves)…

“He was great. He was unbelievable. In the first half there are probably a couple he wants back. Nicky has been our guy. I have said it before and I will say it a thousand times – show me a good goalie and I will show you a good defense. He has been the backbone of our defense. Rightfully so, I am proud of him. It is a hard league, like I said to win in, but it is a hard league to come in as a young goalie to come in and make a mark and he certainly has come in and put a stamp on it right now.”

On the performance of Josh Medeiros…

“More grit. Josh played with a whole lot more urgency. He is arguably in my opinion one of the best transition guys in the league. Those hands and a couple of those goals were absolutely filthy. Meddy needs to play like that every night. Sometimes I think he gets a little content. We challenged him. From the coaching staff – I know [Defensive Coordinator Steve Toll] called him this week. I talked to him a little bit this week as well. It was ‘Hey in order for you to survive in this game you have to come with some grit and you have to play the back end tough.’ He was the recipient of three beauties tonight, but in large part that was because of his lacrosse IQ and his ability on the back end.”

FORDWARD CALLUM CRAWFORD

On his experience playing in front of the home crowd tonight…

“It was awesome. It was special because my family was able to be here. It was amazing – the most exciting part about me getting traded to this amazing place. Then happen to be Youth Lacrosse Night and I brought six teams from my Tulsa-based lacrosse program – being able to play in front of them is different. Never had the opportunity to play where I live. I don’t live here, but I live close enough that a lot of people can be a part of it. That was really special. This place is fun. This team is such a fun, amazing group. Winning makes everything great. Great night and happy to be here.”

On his thoughts on rookie Jonathan Donville…

“He is unbelievable. So incredibly smart. I scored one goal and I came off and people were celebrating me and I was like, ‘I did nothing here.’  The guy just made the most unbelievable play. He put his body on the line and there were a couple where he didn’t get the reward of the ball going into the back of the net, but he drives hard, two guys on him, took the punishment and didn’t get the reward. He is talented. He is gritty. He is incredibly smart. He is going to be someone we talk about for a long time in this league. He is the goods.”

On gelling with the team in just two games…

“I have a long way to go still. I am still trying to learn tendencies and I didn’t want to come in and force somebody else to change the way they play. I am still trying to figure out how I can do some of the things that I think I do well, but play another role that allows them to do it themselves. My style at times can take a lot of the ball time from the other right-handed players, so finding that healthy balance of creating space and banging bodies to allow them to do their thing, but at the same time trying to find times to do some of the things that I feel that I can do well. Long way to go, but step in the right direction. We can be a lot better than we were. Tonight, we were good enough. Still a lot of work to do.”

Panther City Lacrosse Club