Black Wolves ousted in first round of NLL playoffs

Toronto — The New England Black Wolves had beaten Toronto by a goal twice during the regular season and that pattern was holding true to form throughout the first period Saturday night in the first round of the National Lacrosse League East Division playoffs.

Then, second-seeded Toronto took over, blitzing the No. 3 Black Wolves 13-4 over the final three quarters in the one-game playoff to win 18-10.

That ended the season for New England (8-11), which finished with three straight losses. The Black Wolves were making their second straight playoff run, having reached the East Division final last year. Toronto (10-9) goes on to meet top-seeded Georgia in this year's East Division championship series.

New England led 6-5 after one period Saturday, getting goals from Reilly O'Connor, Kyle Buchanan, Brett Bucktooth, Chad Culp and two by Kevin Crowley. Culp's goal gave the Wolves the 6-5 lead with 32 seconds remaining in the quarter on assists from Buchanan and Joel Coyle.

But the Wolves wouldn't score again for 21 minutes, 11 seconds and the Rock led 10-6 before New England's Shawn Evans scored to cut the lead to three. Toronto, however, scored four more goals to make it 14-7 and continued the attack, never letting the Black Wolves back into the game.

Evans and Crowley had two goals apiece for New England and O'Connor, Bucktooth and Buchanan each had one goal and two assists. Toronto outshot the Wolves 60-46, just one week after the Black Wolves unloaded a franchise high 82 shots against Vancouver.

New England had a frustrating end to its season after beating West Division champion Saskatchewan on April 15. The Wolves missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot in a 15-13 loss to Rochester on April 22. Then, already assured of a playoff berth due to a Rochester loss to Georgia, the Black Wolves were afforded an opportunity to clinch a home playoff bid with a win last weekend against Vancouver.

Again, New England came up short, losing 17-16 in overtime.

The Black Wolves started the season 0-3 and were 3-6 at the halfway point before rebounding to qualify for the playoffs.

Tom Schreiber finished with four goals and three assists for Toronto.

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