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Rochester Knighthawks vs. Buffalo Bandits Stephen Keogh NLL Photo Credit: Larry Palumbo

NLL Week 8 Preview & Picking Winners

0 - Published February 14, 2014 by in National Lacrosse League, Pro Lacrosse

Trouble In Philly

I had a good series of picks last week, however what that means is unfortunately some teams had to lose – such as the Philadelphia Wings.  The opportunity was there but the Wings couldn’t take advantage of it.  The Wings got blown out on the road by Toronto.  Toronto doubled up the Wings 20-10.  The next night, Edmonton rolled into the city of brotherly love and managed to squeak by Philly.  The Wings made a desperate comeback in the 4th quarter but it fell short by two goals.  Philly was without Jordan Hall, and you have to wonder if Hallsy would have been the final boost to get Philadelphia the win.

Edmonton continues their winning ways as they took down Philly last weekend.  Edmonton isn’t winning by large margins, but a win is a win.  The defense has the been the story for the Rush, which makes you think of the age-old saying “defense wins championships”.

Knighthawks Break Buffalo

Rochester got back on the horse and handed the Buffalo Bandits there 2nd loss of the season.  The Rochester defense held Buffalo scoreless for the entire 1st half and then some.  Just when I thought the Knighthawks were going to run away with it, Buffalo stormed back with 6 second half goals.  Rochester played tight defense and got plenty of looks on offense.  Corey Vitarelli led the charge with 3 goals and has finally settled into a rhythm with Cody Jamieson.

Buffalo couldn’t figure out the combination to the Rochester goal until the middle of the third quarter.  The Knighthawks did a great job of stopping the Bandits transition game.  Dhane Smith only had two assists, and Tavares and Steenhuis combined for only two goals total.  If teams can stop Buffalo in transition, they can take away more than half of their opportunities.  I fully expect Buffalo to bounce back next week against Philly and keep to their winning ways.

Getting Swarmed

Minnesota dropped yet another loss.  This time the offense managed to score above 10 goals, but their defense and goaltending has been the issue.  Carlson and Higgins are being shuffled around and neither net-minder are on top of their game.  Is this the week they put it all together against Calgary?

Issues In BC

Vancouver continues to struggle and can’t find a way to win.  Management has been shuffling up the roster in Vancouver but nothing seems to be working.  Brett Bucktooth was active off the PUP list and finished with 2 points in his 2014 season debut.  The Stealth are desperate for a win and it needs to come soon because they are currently fighting a steep uphill battle.

Mammoth On Track

On the other side of that game, Colorado picked up another win. Colorado was without Jones, but didn’t need him.   Dillon Ward has finally settled in and made 41 saves to preserve the win for the Mammoth.  When Adam Jones return the Colorado Mammoth are going to be even more dangerous on offense.  If the defense can get into lanes, clog the middle, and give Ward easy shots the Mammoth can run with any team in the league.

Check out the video above for highlights of the season so far…it’s pretty sick!

Friday

Vancouver Stealth @ Colorado Mammoth

Mark Donahue – Colorado over Vancouver – The Mammoth are on a hotstreak right now, can they be stopped? A home game in the Pepsi Center is what they need to keep it going, Ward has to be big and the veterans can’t take this week off.

Chris Rosenthall – Colorado over Vancouver – Here’s a stat that doesn’t mean anything: This is their fourth matchup this season, they’ve alternated one-goal wins each time, and it’s Vancouver’s “turn” to win. Despite that, and despite the fact that the Stealth lost by only one goal with no Rhys Duch in the lineup last week, I’ve got to go with the Mammoth; that Powell-Grant-Westervelt ball movement has been flat-out absurd.

Ryan Connors – Colorado over Vancouver – Colorado is starting to string a few wins together and their offense is really starting to click.  They just have to hope Dillion Ward can stay on his game.

Connor Wilson – Colorado over Vancouver – I like Colorado now! Even with Jones banged
up CO can put the ball away. They win a close one.

Saturday

Edmonton Rush @ Minnesota Swarm

Mark Donahue – Edmonton over Minnesota – Things got close last weekend for the Rush, but their D is lights out. It’s nice to the Swarm finally picking up speed, but I don’t see the Rush streak ending Saturday.

Chris Rosenthall – Edmonton over Minnesota – Edmonton’s first three games of the season? 15 goals/game. Their last three? A little over 8. That’s a little concerning, but their defense hasn’t allowed more than 8 goals in a game since their first one, so that’s the opposite of concerning. The Rush are the Rush, and the Swarm are the Swarm; no upset prediction here this week.

Ryan Connors – Edmonton over Minnestoa – Edmonton’s defense continues to amaze me.  Minnesota’s offense has finally hit its stride but is sliding on their defense.  Will the Rush defense outlast the Swarm offense?  We will see.

Connor Wilson – Edmonton over Minn – Too much D, too much Matthews, Greer, and Conway.

Rochester Knighthawks @ Toronto Rock

Mark Donahue – Toronto over Rochester – I like to be different, don’t get me wrong, the Knighthawks are solid but I think this one tilts toward Toronto. A home game in the ACC is what the Rock needs to get the possible step up on Rochester. This is the hard pick of the weekend.

Chris Rosenthall – Toronto over Rochester – As impressive as their defense and goalie play were last week, Rochester’s offense still isn’t putting up the numbers I think they’re going to need to beat the Rock at home.

Ryan Connors – Rochester over Toronto – The Knighthawks want to get back on top of the NLL and stealing a win on the road at Toronto is the way to do it.

Connor Wilson – Rochester over Toronto – Extend the pressure, throw the Rock off their game. Rochester for the win.

Philadelphia Wings @ Buffalo Bandits

Mark Donahue – Buffalo over Philly – Another big week for Dhane Smith, maybe Priolo gets hot again? The Bandits have had my eyebrows raised all season, the Wings are to up and down to be sure about them.

Chris Rosenthall – Buffalo over Philly – Buffalo only put up six goals last week, but I think that had much more to do with Matt Vinc than it did with the Bandits. Bandits get back to winning, but it’s going to be close.

Ryan Connors – Buffalo over Philly – Buffalo bounces back from their lost last week, and don’t think they forgot about their week one loss to the Wings.

Connor Wilson – Buffalo over Philly – Bandits keep playing fast, athletic, smart and
dangerous lacrosse.

Vancouver Stealth @ Calgary Roucgnecks

Mark Donahue – Calgary over Vancouver –  Calgary’s offense is clicking now, I haven’t had much faith in the Stealth this season, which is probably dumb of me.

Chris Rosenthall – Calgary over Vancouver – I feel like Vancouver’s much better than a seven-game losing streak, but apparently that’s what I’m predicting we’re about to see. Calgary’s got a pretty strong offense; I think that could be enough.

Ryan Connors – Calgary over Vancouver – Curtis Dickinson got back his scoring touch last week, so watch out for the offense to be clicking.

Connor Wilson – Calgary over Vancouver – How did the Stealth turn into my doormat team this year? Calgary just a bit too much O for Vancouver to hang.

Fantasy

NLL Fantasy Lacrosse

I had another brutal week in fantasy lacrosse. Jordan Hall, who was a big scorer for me last week, was a healthy scratch and didn’t play because of work commitments. Kyle Buchanan and Drew Westervelt scored decent points for me but didn’t explode like they usually do. I decided to switch it up this week and I dumped Westy for the rookie sensation Tyler Digby. Digby has been on fired recently, and why not hop on the bandwagon.

Correct Picks Running Tally:

Connor Wilson (20-11)  Chris Rosenthall (22-9)
Mark Donahue (19-12)  Ryan Connors (21-10)

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