Photo Credit: Larry Palumbo
There wasn’t much action that went down at the NLL trade deadline, but there was plenty of action to go around last weekend.
Kings of Alberta
Edmonton silenced whatever doubters were starting to creep up and voice their opinions. Calgary was on a hot streak heading into the game and many people thought that they would be the ones to hand Edmonton their first loss. Edmonton not only held Calgary’s high-powered offense to 7 goals, but managed to score 15 of their own. Edmonton’s offense attack was balanced and had 9 different players score. If you take away the special team goals for Calgary, Edmonton virtually held them scoreless. Calgary looked out of rhythm on offense, and even though Snider won .50% of the draws, that number is well below his average. Calgary could have used those extra possessions that Snider typically earns at the dot. Edmonton is not out of the water yet, they play a tough Buffalo squad this weekend, and then Rochester the weekend after that. Calgary will look to bounce back against the struggling Stealth.
Rochester’s Road Warriors
Speaking of Rochester, they easily handled Toronto this past weekend on the road at the ACC. This is the second time this season that Rochester has defeated Toronto on the road – no easy task. A rare event that we don’t see very often happened over the weekend, Rochester actually pulled Matt Vinc from the game. Vinc gave up 8 goals on 14 shots in a little under 20 minutes of playing time. I for one, thought that this would certainly be the end of the Knighthawks. Backup netminder, Angus Goodleaf had plans of his own. Goodleaf earned just his second career win as he turned away 27 shots and only let up 4 goals. Toronto was still leading 9-5 at halftime, but Cody Jamieson put the team on his back and scored the first 4 goals of the second half, all within about 5 minutes of game time. That is the type of player that coaches want on their team. It was part of a 8-1 run for the Knighthawks in the third quarter. If there were any questions about Rochester’s offense, they are now thoroughly erased. Anyone of Rochester’s offensive weapons are set to go off on any given night, including Stephen Keogh, who scored what I believe is the sickest goal we will see all season. Rochester has this weekend off, but then come back to face the league leading Edmonton Rush, which very well could be a preview of the NLL Championship game.
Goaltending Woes in Toronto
Toronto on the other hand, were up and down all game long – just like their season has been. They can’t seem to win the big games when they need to. Nick Rose, who has usually been a solid goalie is years past, can’t seem to find his rhythm this season and it is hurting the Rock’s chances at playoffs. Toronto is in another must-win game this weekend against Philadelphia.
Not the Mammoth Denver Needs
Colorado didn’t get their usual scoring from their usual contributors and that was one of the reasons for their loss. Casey Powell wasn’t in the lineup, Pollock couldn’t score despite 10 shots, Westervelt didn’t find the back of the net even though he took 11 shots. The other reason why Colorado lost, most likely a direct correlation, is a guy by the game of Anthony Cosmo. Cosmo, like Vinc and McDonald, has been the reason behind their team’s success. He finished with 45 saves and only let up 9 goals. Steenhuis and Tavares were their usual scoring selves, but it was Joe Resetarits who had a huge 6 points night. Resetarits who has only scored 24 points though 9 games this season exploded and helped Buffalo secure the win.
Wings Clipped Again
Philadelphia dropped yet another game. The Wings’ start of the season looked promising, but has since looked the exact opposite. They were looking to make some moves by the trade deadline, but didn’t find too many bites. They were looking to ship out Brodie Merrill but didn’t have any takers. Philly did manage to pick up some draft picks and they might be shifting into a rebuilding phase. They still have a few games left and could make a splash against some of the remaining teams. They face Toronto this weekend, where they recently shipped off goalie Brandon Miller too. This will be a lot closer of a game than I think people are anticipating.
Minnesota had yet another heartbreaking loss. They went down early against Toronto, but I give them credit because they battled their way back into the game and almost pulled off the upset. All the talent is in the roster for the Swarm, they just can’t find a way to win. They need a veteran leader on the offense end, Andrew Suitor is a outstanding captain, but they need a floor general on offense. Logan Schuss is going to be that player in a few years, maybe even next year, but you need players like that if you want success in this league. Swarm face Buffalo this weekend, Swarm should use this game to learn how to beat good teams and keep the momentum rolling.
Buffalo Bandits @ Edmonton Rush
Mark Donahue – Edmonton over Buffalo – Edmonton will not lose at home, I don’t care how good the Bandits are getting….the Rush are on top!
Chris Rosenthall – Edmonton over Buffalo - I picked the Rush to finally lose last week, and a lot of good that did me. The Bandits are clearly a tough squad, but the Edmonton defense should make it a long day for Tavares & Co. I like the Rush by 2 or 3 goals; it’ll be a close one.
Ryan Connors – Edmonton over Buffalo – This will be a heavyweight tilt and I am going to love every minute of it. Buffalo has a shot, but Rush at home and they way they have been playing, I have to pick Edmonton.
Connor Wilson – Buffalo over Edmonton – I may be killing my chances with this one. Or am I? Last weekend’s pick against EDM did not work out.
Calgary Roughnecks @ Vancouver Stealth
Mark Donahue – Calgary over Vancouver – Calgary has the taste of blood in their mouth from the Rush last weekend, Stealth are improving but the Roughnecks are a solid built team.
Chris Rosenthall – Calgary over Vancouver - Despite their lack of production last week, I still like what I see from the Roughnecks offense. Considering the fact they put up 20 against Vancouver last month, I assume they’ll win this time around as well.
Ryan Connors – Calgary over Vancouver – Calgary too hot for Stealth. Stealth keep scraping but can’t get it done.
Connor Wilson – Calgary over Vancouver – Roughnecks might like some breathing room. This would be a good win.
Toronto Rock @ Philadelphia Wings
Mark Donahue – Philadelphia over Toronto – I’m going to get bold here, I need risky picks to get back in it. I’m giving Philly the nod at home, Toronto has issues on defense and the Wings will secure a few more wins before it’s all over.
Chris Rosenthall – Toronto over Philadelphia - Both teams have their share of problems lately, but man, the Philly offense hasn’t done much of anything in a long, long time. I’m guessing Toronto puts together a solid performance and the Wings drop their seventh in a row.
Ryan Connors – Toronto over Philadelphia – Philly is in the same boat as Vancouver, they fight hard but can’t win. Toronto is on the edge of the playoffs and need this win.
Connor Wilson – Toronto over Philadelphia – Toronto’s experience gets them past Philly’s push for the playoffs.
Buffalo Bandits @ Minnesota Swarm
Mark Donahue – Minnesota over Buffalo – I don’t feel good about this pick, but the Swarm just can’t keep losing. I hate to bet against Cosmo and Co. but I think the Swarm will get it together.
Chris Rosenthall – Nope. Can’t do it. Even though the Swarm kept it very close the last time these two played, I still can’t them to win this one. Buffalo’s solid on both sides of the ball. Starting to think it just ain’t their season.
Ryan Connors – Buffalo over Minnesota – I want to say this is the upset for Minnesota, but Cosmo is too good for the Swarm.
Connor Wilson – Buffalo over Minnesota – Bandits are 2-0 out of division, Swarm are 0-4 out of division. I’ll take Buffalo.
I kept my fantasy team pretty much the same as last week – Same front 4, same goalie, and Jordan Hall. I added Jesse Gamble in the middle; he has been playing well lately so hopefully he can keep it up for me.
Correct Picks Running Tally:
Connor Wilson (35-16) Chris Rosenthall (36-15)
Mark Donahue (33-18) Ryan Connors (37-14)