The Boston Blazers, an expansion team for the National Lacrosse League (NLL), finished their inaugural season with an 11-8 first-round playoff loss to the Buffalo Bandits on May 2. The Blazers had a fine first season, finishing third in the NLL East Division with a 10-6 record and earning a playoff berth. Forward Daryl Veltman was chosen for the All-Rookie team and star forward Dan Dawson won the NLL Most Valuable Player award.
The Bandits scored four quick goals to open the game, but the Blazers clawed their way back to within one, with Buffalo leading 7-6 at halftime. Veltman scored the tying goal, the only goal in the third quarter, to bring the board to 7-7. Buffalo retook the lead one minute into the fourth quarter and held it for the rest of the game to put an end to the Blazers’ first NLL season.
Better news came for the Blazers when the NLL announced that team captain Dan Dawson won the NLL Most Valuable Player award. Dawson scored 30 goals over the course of the season and tied for the league lead in assists at 74. He also won the NLL’s Sportsmanship Award for his leadership as captain of the Blazers. Dawson was also involved in the Blazers’ LEAD program, which uses the game of lacrosse to teach important life lessons, such as goal-setting and healthy living, to youth in schools across the Greater Boston area.
Furthermore, first-year forward and number one overall draft pick Daryl Veltman was named to the NLL All-Rookie team, which recognizes the top six rookies in the league. Veltman led Boston and all rookies with 34 goals in the season. He also picked up 43 assists and 92 loose balls.
Veltman finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, losing by a narrow margin to San Jose forward Rhys Duch. Veltman was also named the NLL’s Rookie of the Month in January after notching more goals (11) and assists (15) than any other rookie.
Highlights of the Blazers’ stellar season include a spectacular come-from-behind win over the New York Titans, scoring two goals in the final ten seconds of play to win 9-8; an 8-4 demolishing of the Philadelphia Wings to sweep a three-game series with the Wings; and a 16-10 win over the San Jose Stealth to secure a five-game winning streak in the middle of the season.
Perhaps the greatest game the Blazers played was their last regular-season game, a dramatic 13-12 victory over Buffalo, in which the Blazers, down 10-5 in the third quarter, went on an 8-2 run for the win.
The Blazers are looking forward to improving upon their historic inaugural season. The Blazers will play their 2010 home games at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. For more information and season ticket purchases, visit http://www.blazerslacrosse.com.