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NLL Week 16 Review, NLL Week 17 Preview & NLL Playoff Preview

Jon Harasym Buffalo Bandits NLL Lacrosse
Photo courtesy NLL.com and Tim Frenz

I have been absent again from the blog-waves, but thank God for that. Who could have predicted what has transpired in the NLL the past two weekends? I’m sure glad I took a few weekends off and saved myself the embarrassment! (Editor’s Note: Connor agrees.  It’s been a wild ride!)

The first round of the 2011 NLL playoff are set. But there are still two games remaining. On Saturday, Rochester rolls into the the hostile confines of the HSBC to take on Buffalo, and Colorado tries to keep momentum on their side as they visit the Hive in Minnesota.

Remaining Game Previews and Predictions

The battle for Interstate 90 holds no playoff implications, but anytime Rochester and Buffalo hit the floor there is always something extra put into every battle. Whether it’s the in-state NY rivalry, the familiarity and exchange of players, or the similar seasons both teams have had – pouring it on down the stretch; this game proves to be exciting.

Jon Harasym Buffalo Bandits NLL Lacrosse

Photo courtesy NLL.com and Tim Frenz

Last weekend, Buffalo lost an uncharacteristic game to a Boston team that has struggled for consistency all season. Buffalo, in true-grit and psychological fashion, “roughed up” the Blazers to send a message heading into the playoffs. Hopefully, for the Bandits’ sake, they have some of that fight left over to spill into their final game of the regular season against the Knighthawks.

On the K-Hawks side, they are coming off a win over the Stealth that propelled them into the third spot of Shanny’s Week 15 NLL Power Rankings. As Aaron Bold mentioned in his Podcast with Tedi Jenner, ” We’re peaking at the right time… with all due respect, [other teams] have peaked already.” Rochester looks to use their confidence against a Buffalo team that had a hiccup last weekend.  Look to Buffalo to bounce back, but this will be a back-and-forth and close game. Win – Buffalo (Editor’s Note: Connor goes with Rochester.  Is he back on the Khawk wagon now or what?)

The second game on Saturday has Minnesota controlling their own playoff-fate as they face a red-hot Colorado Mammoth team. If Minnesota wins, they will be hosting a playoff game. If Minnesota loses, then they will travel to Washington** where they lost an overtime thrill two weekends ago. Minnesota is coming off of a thrilling OT loss to Washington and a marginal win against the basement-dewelling Philadelphia Wings.

However, with all due respect to the Swarm, they fired 59 Shots on Goal last week against Brandon Miller and he turned away 49 of those balls. Pretty impressive for Miller! Regardless, Minnesota needs to find the net if they are going to have success against the Mammoth, who seemed to have found the right pieces to the puzzle. Since the return of Gavin Prout to Colorado at the trade deadline, the Mammoth have went 4-2 and have clinched a playoff spot that to most seemed untouchable.

Colorado’s latest win against West Division leader Calgary (who played without Dane Dobbie, who is good for 5 points per game) has cemented them as a seriously playoff contender – not just a “by the skin-of-their-teeth/lucky-to-be-there” team. Unfortunately for the Swarm, the Mammoth look to hot right now. Win – Colorado (Editor’s Note: Connor claims Colorado comes back to Earth, Patterson stands in his head, Minnesota wins.)

(Editor’s Note: Check out Chris Fox’s Rugburn Lacrosse DVD in the Lacrosse Shop with highlights from NLL seasons past to prime for the playoffs!  Only $10!)

Early NLL Playoff Preview

East Division

Boston @ Buffalo

Points of interest: As mentioned above, during an uncharacteristic loss that the Bandits were served by the Blazers, Brandon Francis set the tone for the first round playoff match-up and made a statement by challanging and taking on several Boston players in their own bench!

Rochester @ Toronto

Points of interest: Sitting at the top of the league for most of the season Toronto has went 1-4 in their last 5 games. Whereas Rochester has been 4-1 in their last 5 games with one game remaining this weekend.

West Division

Colorado @ Calgary

Points of interest: Colorado won the regular season series against Calgary 2-1. First two match-ups were a 1 goal game, the last game was by a more decisive 11- 7 magian (Dobbie factor!?). Colorado 3-1 last 4 games, while Calgary is 2-2 in the last for games and 1 of each win and loss coming against the Mammoth. Currently, a very even first round match-up. Colorado plays one more game this weekend to end season.

Minnesota vs. Washington**

Points of interest: Well, you can not get any closer of a match-up than one game deciding who will host the game. And, the last game they played being decided in overtime, AND the game before that was also decided in OT!

**If Minnesota wins their final regular season game next weekend against Colorado, Minnesota will be the second seed. A loss to Colorado means Washington will be the second seed.

Lesson from this week’s post? Parity in the NLL exists and it’s a live and well!

//

About the author

Fox

Co-Founder of Vagabond Lacrosse, the company that produced RUGBURN, Fox played his college lacrosse at DII Wheeling Jesuit University, a former Founder's Cup winner, played Canadian Junior lacrosse with Wallaceburg and Sarnia, and most recently for the WLA's Burnaby Lakers. Fox has also held positions with both Wheeling Jesuit University as Head Men's Lacrosse Coach and Whittier College as the Women's Assistant Coach.

4 Comments

  • Glad the NLL did that. That scene was ridiculous and straight up out of Slap Shot. Decidedly NOT a professional league when that stuff happens.

  • Professional or not professional, that whole mess got everyone riled up and us Buffalo fans loved it. It meant even when the team was off its game, they could still send a message. Boston was talking trash all night and if they thought the scoreboard was the only way they needed to back up their mouths they were wrong. And please, I don’t want to hear anyone say fighting doesn’t belong in Lacrosse. Maybe not in field, but in box? Definitely a staple. Reid got what was coming to him for being a plug. end of story

  • Francis gets 4 games. Still worth it in a game that meant nothing? the guy that sent the message can’t send any more… when it counts.

    I don’t love piling on, but that stuff has no place in pro sports. And neither does Reid’s constant chippiness. That isn’t lacrosse, it’s bush league nonsense.

    The thing about fighting in the NLL is that a lot of the 1 on 1s are exciting. But more often than not, it’s usually just two punchers getting in a fight. Guys like Snider add skill to the league, and toughness. but some of these other guys? They’re paid thugs. And it’s kind of a joke. I feel like I’m watching the WWE sometimes.

    Mind you, I’m an American convert who likes box, and who isn’t opposed to fighting. I just think that this over the top brawl stuff belongs in baseball. If you need brawls to bring people to the game, it means your sport is kind of boring. Box would be wise to avoid that in my humble opinion.

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