With team still in it, forward says he needs to make more shots
by: KATIE HARTLEY, Dan Dawson is the leading scorer for the LumberJax with 33 goals and 36 assists, but the forward is unhappy with his production.

He has been the offensive force the Portland LumberJax needed, but 'Dangerous' Dan Dawson expects more from himself.

'I've got to do a little more out there to reach my standards,' says Dawson, the Jax's leading scorer with 33 goals and 36 assists.

'I'm my worst critic - I haven't been finishing enough chances,' he adds. 'You'll notice my shooting percentage is down (.171), which means I'm getting quality shots but not burying them. I'm getting open looks, and shots are not going in.'

Dawson has had seasons of 48 and 47 goals.

'I'm not going to lie - I've been snake-bitten this year,' he says, 'and I'm hitting outside of the post rather than the inside.

'I just have to stay positive; some nights you're not going to have it.'

Last Friday, he had it. Dawson scored six goals, only to watch the Jax lose a late lead and a game they controlled against Philadelphia 13-10 at the Rose Garden.

The defeat left the LumberJax with a 5-9 record, but they still have a chance for a National Lacrosse League playoff spot with two games left.

'So, it doesn't mean anything … I had six goals and we lost,' Dawson says. 'Maybe I should have done more.'

It frustrates Dawson to see the LumberJax blow games. The 6-5, hardworking Dawson and Derek Malawasky were supposed to be the key ingredients to push the Jax to the top of the league. They've been good, but the Jax have been below average.

'We played a pretty good game (Friday), but we have these lapses in a game that kill us - five minutes,' Dawson says, despair in his voice. 'And it happens every game. We have to get back to the drawing board.'

Portland goalie Matt Disher played well against Philadelphia, but the Jax allowed too many point-blank chances on him. Jax coach Derek Keenan says the Wings got away many times with their attack man leaving the bench early to rush Disher.

'We let him down, offensively, because we can't score just 10 goals,' Dawson says of Disher. 'We're dropping the ball, and we're getting good looks inside.'

Still, the Jax lead Edmonton for one of the NLL West Division playoff berths.

'It's a one-game shot,' Dawson says, of the postseason. 'It's not always the best team that wins, it's the best team on that day. We think we're an unbelievable team, but we've got to finish the season strong.

'We don't want to get into the playoffs because other people are losing. We want to get in because we win.'


Next: The Jax (5-9) play at San Jose (8-6)at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

• Philadelphia's Athan Iannucci had six goals against Portland last week and scored two more Saturday against Minnesota to break the National Lacrosse League single-season record. His 62 goals top Gary Gait's previous record of 61.

'It's pretty remarkable what he's doing,' Jax standout Dan Dawson says. 'I'm happy to applaud him for his effort, except when he's playing us. He's big (6-4, 215), has an inside and outside game, and he's the best shooter in the game.'

• The Jax planned to lodge a complaint to NLL officials Monday about game officials not calling more penalties on Philadelphia players leaving the bench early to attack in the offensive zone. 'They cheated off the bench - about four or five goals came from them leaving early,' Portland coach Derek Keenan says.

'Fans want to see a game decided by the players, and (Friday) I don't think it was,' Dawson says.

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