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NLL Week 18 Preview and Predictions

0 - Published April 25, 2014 by in National Lacrosse League, Pro Lacrosse

Photo Credit: Larry Palumbo

Rock and Roll

The Rock have rolled their way into a good playoff position. Toronto picked up a big win over the Bandits this past weekend, and now have a chance to earn a home playoff game. If Toronto can win against Minnesota this weekend, they will host a home game against Buffalo. I previously thought that Toronto’s game would go downhill after Billings went down with his ACL injury, but the Rock have continued to win games.

Beat in Buffalo

Buffalo has gone in the complete opposite direction. After starting off the season very strong and seemed unstoppable, the Bandits have lost 7 straight games. The Bandits should be hitting the panic button as hard as they can right now. They still have a secured playoff spot but can lose home-field advantage if their slide continues. No team wants to be on a losing streak going into the playoffs.

The Bandits offense has been sluggish over the past months. The offense only managed to score 13 goals in two games this past weekend.

Message from Mammoth

Colorado earned a big win over Minnesota and clinched the third and final playoff spot in the West. It has been an up and down season for the Mammoth, but the team is gelling real nice right before the playoffs.

Adam Jones is back and healthy, Athan Iannucci has settled into his offensive groove, and rookie Dillon Ward is no longer playing like a rookie. Colorado will have one last test this weekend against Philadelphia, but will face a huge challenge ahead in the playoffs in the West.

Optimism for Minnesota

Minnesota lost yet another game, but the Minnesota squad we watched play this past weekend is not the same squad from the beginning of the season. The Swarm are playing a high-level of lacrosse, but it just so happens that every other team in the league has elevated their game as well. I have said it all season long, this Minnesota squad will be a force next season. The Swarm can still play spoiler roll this weekend, if they can beat Toronto the Rock will lose home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Roughnecks Find Peace in EDM Win

Finally, Calgary was able to get the better of Edmonton this season – it only took a 7 point performance from Curtis Dickson and an overtime frame to end the Rush. This is a good win for Calgary because now they know that they can beat Edmonton. This could very well be a preview of Western Division semifinal game.

Game film of this game is going to be crucial for both teams. Calgary will need to replicate their game plan and Edmonton needs to learn from their mistakes. Calgary has one last fine-tuning game against Washington this weekend.

Edmonton now realizes that they are human and can be defeated. Teams can find another gear in the playoffs and if Edmonton isn’t careful they could find themselves NOT playing in the Champions Cup final. Like I mentioned before, Edmonton will have plenty of time to study the film and fine tune their game so that they can make another run to the finals.

Too Late For Philly

It is unfortunate that the Wings will not be playing in the playoffs this season – they are an exciting and fun team to watch play and turned their game on late in the season. They easily handled the Stealth this past weekend with Kevin Croswell starting in net.

The future is bright for the Wings, I don’t think they need to make too many off season moves. The young American players who were the weaker point of the team have not become the strength and backbone of the squad.

Hopefully the American experiment will return the Wings to their traditional glory days in the near future.

Ready  in Rochester

Finally, the defending champs, the Rochester Knighthawks.

The good news is that Matt Vinc looked to be back in championship form, holding Buffalo to only 4 goals. The defense has been the story for the Knighthawks all season long, but the Cody Jamieson-led offense is a force to be reckoned with.

Anyone player from Joe Walters to Johnny Powless can go off at any given time during any given game. The Knighthawks have another good test against Buffalo this weekend. There is no reason for Rochester to let off the gas now.

Friday

Note: Since Connor is playing box in the Czech Republic, he only had time for picks this week.

Vancouver Stealth @ Edmonton Rush
Mark Donahue – Edmonton over Vancouver – Edmonton will have no problem recovering from the loss last weekend, the Stealth just don’t have the fire power to hang.
Chris Rosenthall – Edmonton over Vancouver - You wouldn’t assume it, but Vancouver has actually played the Rush very close (two one-goal losses) in their games this season. Even still, I’m not picking them, and why would I? Edmonton closes out their incredible year with a win at home.
Ryan Connors – Edmonton over Vancouver – Edmonton has been playing too well lately, and Vancouver has been playing poorly. Edmonton bounces back from their loss last weekend.
Connor Wilson – Edmonton over Vancouver

Saturday

Rochester Knighthawks @ Buffalo Bandits
Mark Donahue – Rochester over Buffalo – Buffalo has been stinkin’ the place up as of late and Rochester is looking strong again heading to the dance.
Chris Rosenthall – Rochester over Buffalo - Rochester has been getting better, and Buffalo has been getting worse. I’m wary of teams trying to sweep these home and home back-to-back weekends, but the Knighthawks’ defense has been getting increasingly stingy.
Ryan Connors – Rochester over Buffalo – Buffalo mentally can’t afford to lose another game, but Rochester dominated the Bandits last week. Rochester knows how to win late in the season and they won’t stop now.
Connor Wilson – Rochester over Buffalo

Colorado Mammoth @ Philadelphia Wings
Mark Donahue – Colorado over Philadelphia – The Mammoth have been showing a ton of brilliance lately,  and the Wings are on the way out.
Chris Rosenthall – Colorado over Philadelphia - I’m nervous about this pick (especially since the Wings beat the Mammoth at the Pepsi Center last month), but I think Colorado is finally starting to get a little momentum going. Jones and Iannucci played huge last week; hopefully that carries over.
Ryan Connors – Colorado over Philadelphia – The Wings have let me down in the past few weeks despite their best efforts. Colorado has been playing playoff caliber lacrosse, but will be without Drew Westervelt this weekend – and he is a key piece of their offense.
Connor Wilson – Colorado over Philadelphia

Toronto Rock @ Minnesota Swarm
Mark Donahue – Toronto over Minnesota – I could see the Swarm catching one more W on the way out, but the Rock continue to roll (pun intended).
Chris Rosenthall – Toronto over Minnesota - Toronto has been turning things around at the right time, and there’s a possibility they can clinch a home playoff game if they win this one. And I know everyone’s a professional, and they all have their pride, but it’s got to be a little bit tougher for the Swarm to get up for their final game, considering the way this season has gone.
Ryan Connors – Toronto over Minnesota – Toronto’s play has surprised me. They keep winning and have battled their way into a great playoff spot. Toronto can handle the transition of Minnesota.
Connor Wilson – Toronto over Minnesota

Calgary Roughnecks @ Vancouver Stealth
Mark Donahue – Calgary over Vancouver – The Necks brought down Goliath and have done a whole lot of scoring. They’re looking good to wrap things up.
Chris Rosenthall – Calgary over Vancouver - Calgary hasn’t had any difficulty scoring on Vancouver this season, and I’ve got no reason to think that changes this weekend.
Ryan Connors –Calgary over Vancouver – Calgary managed to take down Edmonton last week and have been putting up big numbers on the score board.
Connor Wilson – Calgary over Vancouver

Fantasy

NLL-Fantasy-Lacrosse-(1)

Well I made another great push this past weekend in Fantasy lacrosse.

I may end up losing the correct pick challenge but I should be able to win the LAS Fantasy League. My team scored 146 points this past weekend and was a season high for me.

John Ranagan had a big game for me, he finished with a goal and assist as well as a handful of groundballs. The rest of my offense performed as I hoped it would. I currently sit 19th in the overall standings and this is the last week, hopefully I can push my way into the top ten. I don’t know if I want to change up my lineup anymore because they have brought me big numbers.

The only change I might make would be switching Buffalo goalies because they have been slumping as of late. However, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Correct Picks Running Tally

Connor Wilson (47-29)  Chris Rosenthall (52-24)
Mark Donahue (51-25)  Ryan Connors (48-28)

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