NLL Week 9 Preview & Picking Winners


Alright, alright, alright.  Yes, not only were there a gaggle of good lacrosse games (indoor and out) but I’m hooked on Matthew Mcconaughey and True Detective.  If you couldn’t find something to watch on Sunday, you aren’t doing Sunday’s right.  There were even a few surprises starting with Vancouver’s big win over Colorado.

Stealth On The Radar

Let me rephrase, Vancouver’s dominating win over Colorado.  Whatever adjective you want to use, Vancouver needed a win and they got one.  Vancouver jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the first quarter and never entertained the thought of losing the game.  Brett Bucktooth, fresh off the PUP list, put up 12 points and earned MVP the well deserved award.

Colorado, on the other hand, did not fair so well.  Dillion Ward had a rough start in the cage and was yanked after just 11 minutes of play.  Right when Ward was starting to settle in as the starter he crumbled last weekend and let up 6 goals on 14 shots.  Drew Westervelt and John Grant Junior had their usual games, but Casey Powell was limited to 3 assists.  Colorado may be desperate for Adam Jones return, but they need to figure out their defense first.

Bandwagon to Rushville

Edmonton is continuing their dominance in the NLL.  It was a back and forth affair and the Swarm managed to get 46 shots on net.  Just like they have done all yet, Edmonton’s defense was lock-down and only let up 9 goals.  They are now tied for the best start in NLL history.  The Rush have this week off but will look to break the record against Toronto in two weeks.  Edmonton’s offense is spreading the wealth around and is getting it done by committee.  Yes Mark Matthews is the star, but players like Curtis Knight, Riley Lowen, Zack Greer, and Jeremy Thompson are the supporting cast that make the entire team better.

Still OverSwarmed

Meanwhile, Minnesota continues to be a disappointment.  Players like Kiel Matisz and Shayne Jackson, who had bountiful rookie campaigns are struggling to find their rhythm this season.  Jackson had a hat trick last week but find the back of the net this week.  Scoring isn’t the only problem the Swarm are experiencing.  Tyler Carlson has a .701 save percentage and Zack Higgins isn’t nearly experienced enough to handle the high heat of the NLL.  Minnesota has two games this weekend and they need to work to get at least one win to get back on track.  They need to start stringing a few wins together if they want a shot at the playoffs.

Roch On Rock Action

The Rochester Knighthawks defeated the Toronto Rock in a decisive 17-9 victory.  The Knighthawks offense exploded for their biggest output of the season.  Rochester managed to break open the game in the third quarter when they exploded for 7 goals.  Just as the offense started to click, the Rochester defense went into lockdown mode and only gave up two goals in the second half.  Dan Dawson and Cody Jamieson both had 10 point nights, while Stephen Keogh finished with 7 of his own after returning from his suspension.  Another point I feel need to mention is the improvement on face-offs for Rochester.  Last season the Knighthawks didn’t have a dominate face-off man, but this season Dylan Evans is holding his own and winning the majority of draws.

Toronto, who was undefeated at home until this past weekend, suffered an embarrassing loss to Rochester.  Goaltender Nick Rose had a breakdown and was never able to recover.  Pat Merrill is finally back on the turf for Toronto and even threw down with Mac Allen.  Toronto is still right in the middle of the standings in the East Division, but as they found out the hard way, Rochester and Buffalo are going to be tough opponents to overtake.

Buffalo Clips the Wings

Philadelphia fell to Buffalo 13-7 on the road at the First Niagara Center.  I thought Jordan Hall would be the answer in his return, but he was held pointless on the night.  Garrett Thul got back to his scoring ways and netted two shots, but that was the only bright spot for the Wings.  The Wings actually out shout the Bandits but could only manage to beat Cosmo 7 times.

Buffalo continues to roll, led by the likes of Benesch and Tavares.  The move to run Steenhuis out the front door has paid off.  Dhane Smith who started out the season on a hot streak has cooled off the past few games.  It is only a matter of time before Smith starts burying the biscuit.  He still remains as a force on the field through the middle and as grinder.

All Roughed Up

As dominating as the Stealth’s first win of the weekend was, they were thoroughly embarrassed by the Calgary Roughnecks the following night.  Calgary more than doubled up on the Stealth 20-9.  Curtis Dickson has found his scoring touch and that is bad news for opposing teams.  Rookie Karsen Leung scooped up 9 loose balls and scored one goal, and Calgary management has to be happy with their second round pick.  Calgary has a tough match-up against Rochester this weekend the game should turn out to be the game of the weekend.


Minnesota Swarm @ Toronto Rock

Mark Donahue –  Toronto over Minnesota – No matter how much I want the Swarm to win, I can bank on picking them. Toronto is nasty at home and the D looks strong. Rock it is…

Chris Rosenthall – Toronto over Minnesota – Getting stomped by the Knighthawks ended Toronto’s home winning streak. They’ll start another one this weekend. Just too good on both sides of the ball.

Ryan Connors – Toronto over Minnesota – Toronto bounces back from their loss last week and takes it too the Swarm.  Before last week, Toronto was undefeated at the ACC.

Connor Wilson – Toronto over Minnesota – You need consistent scoring to win. Toronto has it, Minny doesn’t… yet. So I’ll take the Rock TYVM.

Rochester Knighthawks @ Calgary Roughnecks

Mark Donahue – Calgary over Rochester – Oh just being my usual self picking against the grain. Calgary looks good in goal and the forwards are hot, not saying Rochester isn’t on point as well but I’m feeling a win in Alberta.

Chris Rosenthall – Rochester over Calgary – 17 goals last week means I’m finally sold on Rochester’s offensive potential. Calgary can light it up too, but it won’t be so easy against the Knighthawks defense.

Ryan Connors – Rochester over Calgary – Calgary got it’s grove back on offense, but how will it fair against a stout Knighthawk defense.

Connor Wilson – Rochester over Calgary – It’s a long trip West, and Calgary plays a tough style of lacrosse, but Roch is too structured to lose. That’s my rationale anyway.


Minnesota Swarm @ Philadelphia Wings

Mark Donahue – Minnesota over Philadelphia – This might be my weekend, but that’s only is the Swarm can make adjustments for their second game of the weekend. Philly is better than expected but not consistent, I think the Swarm can finally make it happen. Can they beat the Wings again? I hope…

Chris Rosenthall – Philadelphia over Minnesota – The Wings may be that one team that has lost to Minnesota this season, and their offense has taken the last two weeks off, but there’s a good chance I’ll keep picking against the Swarm until they prove me wrong.

Ryan Connors – Philadelphia over Minnesota – I want Minnesota to win so bad, but I don’t think they have it in them.  Philadelphia can run all day with Minnesota and they have a better defense.  I am going to give the nod to the Wings in this one.

Connor Wilson – Philadelphia over Minnesota – Hard to pick against the Swarm both times, but Philly really can’t suffer another loss right now if they want to keep pace with the rest of the East. Whoever loses this one has 7 losses at least, and that’s a deep hole at this point in the year.


NLL Fantasy Lacrosse (4)

I had a decent week in Fantasy seeing how Jordan Hall didn’t score a single point.  I dropped Drew Westervelt a week early apparently.  I love Philadelphia’s offense this weekend, and picked up Tracey Kelusky.  I took a risk and went with Shayne Jackson this weekend, I know he is due for another big game, I just hope it is this one.  

Correct Picks Running Tally:

Connor Wilson (24-12)  Chris Rosenthall (25-11)
Mark Donahue (22-14)  Ryan Connors (25-11)