The return of the Mack!
Another weekend of NLL action in the books and even more story lines have emerged. Casey Powell returned to NLL action after taking the first month of the season off. He scored a team-high 9 points and CP picked up right where he left off. Colorado got a much needed win over Minnesota and remains in the hunt. Dillon Ward played his 2nd complete game and has established himself as the starter. With the good comes the bad, Adam Jones suffered a shoulder injury and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.
Before the injury, Jones was the leading scorer in the NLL. If everyone stays healthy Colorado could have Westy, Powell, Jones, and Grant Jr. on the floor at the same time – that is a dangerous lineup. If Colorado could figure out their defense, they can start to make a push. All the pieces are in place, the Mammoth just need to execute.
Vancouver continues to struggle and now is sitting at 2-5 and the bottom of the Western Conference. The first quarter in their game against Toronto, Vancouver controlled the pace and looked to be hearing towards the win. However, Toronto’s experience took over the game and they managed to take the win. Later on in the weekend, Vancouver dropped another game to Philadelphia.
Toronto split games, when they lost to Buffalo on the road. Toronto currently sits at 2-3, but is still right in the middle of everything. Meanwhile, Buffalo is still on a tear and remains on top of the East. My theory on why Buffalo is doing so well is because of Coach Troy Cordingley. Not only is he a great coach that has turned the Bandits around, but I don’t think he is physically able to smile and the Bandits win out of pure terror of the repercussions. Whatever the reason, Buffalo doesn’t want to slow down now that they are firing on all cylinders. Credit has to be given to goaltender Anthony Cosmo, the past few games he has played lights out.
Another goalie that has been playing well is Evan Kirk for the Philadelphia Wings. Everyone who had written Philly off now realize that the Wings are a real deal. The Wings have the 2nd most potent offense and currently sit at 3-3 right in the middle of the East. Remember, Philadelphia is the only team that has beaten Buffalo this season – A huge division win that could help them down the road. The Wings are faced with a tough test this week. They take on Toronto in the Air Canada Centre, playing away at the ACC is never an easy game. Then Philly has to turn around and play the undefeated Rush at home. If they Wings can steal one of these wins, they will stay in good shape.
Edmonton had a huge overtime win over Rochester to remain the only undefeated team left in the NLL. Dan Dawson led Rochester with 4 points and didn’t seem to be affected by his injury at all. Rochester only managed 37 shots and it was evident that Edmonton’s defense controlled the pace of the game. The Knighthawks defense is no slouch itself, and Matt Vinc continues to play like the champion he is. Mike Accursi made his return to the Knighthawks lineup and finished with 2 points. Knighthawks complimentary players are scoring, but the star scorers need to start finishing. Remember, Rochester finished the regular season 8-8 last year and still managed to win the Cup. Make the playoffs and anything can happen.
Philadelphia Wings @ Toronto Rock
Mark Donahue – Toronto over Philly – The Rock are solid at home, even though the Wings have surprised the heck out of me this season. If the Rock D can limit the Wings offense, it will go in Toronto’s favor.
Chris Rosenthall – Toronto over Philly - Both of Toronto’s wins have come at home, and they’ve both been marked by strong offensive production. The Wings have been scoring a lot lately, but the Rock might be able to slow them down.
Ryan Connors – Toronto over Philly – As hot as the Wings are right now, it is very hard to win on the road in Toronto. I want to pick Philly so bad, but the experience the Rock have will prevail.
Connor Wilson – Philly over Toronto - Philly uses the “Buffalo system” of pressing outand getting transition goals to beat the 5 on 5 rock.
Edmonton Rush @ Philadelphia Wings
Mark Donahue – Edmonton over Philly – It’s hard to pick Philly to lose two in one weekend, but holy crap the Rush are good. Good luck slowing down their offensive production and getting through their defense.
Chris Rosenthall – Edmonton over Philly – Edmonton’s just too good right now. I’m sure I’ll pick against them sometime, but it’s not this week.
Ryan Connors – Edmonton over Philly – I hate to see the Wings lose two games in one weekend, but no one can stop Edmonton right now. Edmonton’s defense is too much right now.
Connor Wilson – Edmonton over Philly – It’s hard not to pick Edmonton every time, and thisgame was no exception!
Buffalo Bandits @ Rochester Knighthawks
Mark Donahue – Buffalo over Rochester – I’m picking against the grain. I know it’s a home game for Rochester, but they’ve been disappointing and Buffalo is on a huge winning streak. I smell another big week for Dhane!
Chris Rosenthall – Rochester over Buffalo - Is this where Buffalo’s five-game winning streak comes to an end? I think so, but seriously, Rochester: score some goals already. Don’t have me out here looking like a jerk.
Ryan Connors – Rochester over Buffalo – I think Rochester will come out with a chip on their shoulder and want to get some payback against Buffalo. The Knighthawks stop the streak and Johnny Powless goes off.
Connor Wilson – Rochester over Buffalo – Knighthawks get back on the winning track.
Calgary Roughnecks @ Minnesota Swarm
Mark Donahue – Calgary over Minnesota - It breaks my heart that I can’t pick the Swarm in this one, I was convinced that they would be so good. This one is tough.
Chris Rosenthall – Calgary over Minnesota - Despite their record, I still like Calgary’s potential. Frankly, I need to see some more production from the Swarm until I pick them against anybody.
Ryan Connors – Calgary over Minnesota – Minnesota is continues to struggle and there is no reason to pick them to win in any scenario.
Connor Wilson – Calgary over Minnesota - Dobbie time! Minny is generating a lot of shots,but not burying enough of them.
Colorado Mammoth @ Vancouver Stealth
Mark Donahue – Colorado over Vancouver – Rhys Duch out for Stealth, Casey Powell in for Mammoth…although we’re without Jones the captain, I’m giving the Mammoth the nod for their 3rd in a row.
Chris Rosenthall – Colorado over Vancouver – Colorado’s offense has been looking strong lately, and Rhys Duch is serving that suspension he earned a while back. Doesn’t look good for the Stealth.
Ryan Connors – Colorado over Vancouver – Jones out but Powell in. I didn’t think CP22 would have as big of an impact as he did, but let’s face it…he can still ball. He make John Grant Jr even more dangerous and those two are a tough duo to stop.
Connor Wilson – Colorado over Vancouver – Losing Adam Jones hurts, but the return of Casey Powell should help ease that pain. It’s a veteran all-star cast out in CO, and I like them to win this one over the struggling Stealth who are playing without their captain.
Fantasy: I made a big turnaround this weekend in fantasy and my team mounted a season high 129 points. I was nervous at first when I had 4 Philadelphia Wings players, but it worked out well for me. Kyle Buchanan continues to be my go-to scorer. I decided to add Jordan Hall this week, he comes at a high price, but he is always involved on the offense and scoops up bunches of loosies. Curtis Knight had a down night but still managed to get me 16 points. I had to wait an extra week to get Westy in action, and it was worth the wait. Garrett Thul managed to score two goals the week I decided to pick him up. Thul is playing good lacrosse at this point in his career and I think he will start to get more looks for the Wings.
Correct Picks Running Tally:
Connor Wilson (16-10) Chris Rosenthall (17-9)
Mark Donahue (15-11) Ryan Connors (16-10)