What a week of professional box larosse! Previously winless Edmonton came out of nowhere and won home and away games on Friday and Saturday respectively, over the Washington Stealth. I definitely thought Washington would take at least one of the games but the Rush had to make a push sooner rather than later so for the sake of parity, I’m totally fine with the results, even if they came as a total surprise. Even with those two upsets I still went 3 for 6 on the weekend. The other game I missed was Rochester – Minnesota. I thought Minnesota was coming together (and still think they are) but I didn’t think Rochester would put it together as they’ve been very up and down. First up is highlights from the Edmonton – Washington game on Friday at Edmonton:
Ok, now on to the Roch – Minn game. Man, was I wrong. Rochester fought all night and kept it together pulling of the win. If Rochester can keep up their inspired, tough, team play then they can accomplish anything. But if they continue to suffer from lapses and stupid mistakes, it will eventually catch up with them. That being said, if Rochester can string together a bunch of wins when it counts (the playoffs), they could also just get lucky. If I were the Knighthawks, I’d prefer to figure things out and start playing well with more consistency. They’ve got a solid group on offense with Point, Williams, Jamieson and Evans. They have speed and toughness at transition and have size, toughness, speed and some good sticks on D. Vinc is a capable goalie. The ingredients are obviously there. The question is, can they mix themselves together before it’s too late?
Minnesota is still a team I like. They’ve dropped a couple games but they do seem to be building towards something better. Lots of new players coming together quickly made Minnesota’s fast start a bit of a surprise to many, but now people want to see if they can start climbing the ladder and improving every single week. Guys like Crawford, Benesch, Greer and Patterson are playing better than they have before and these guys play very selflessly. The Swarm definitely has star players but you wouldn’t know it by watching them play. Balanced and cooperative, Minnesota looks like a team that just loves being out on the floor.
Toronto beat Calgary but just barely and like I’ve been saying all season, Toronto looked like a team in mid-season form. But now we’ve reached that mid-season point and I haven’t seen a HUGE improvement from Toronto so while they’re better, and still the top “team” in the NLL, they are not alone. Calgary and Boston come to mind as obvious contenders for the top spot right now and if Toronto doesn’t want to fade at the end of the season, they’re going to need to elevate their game again. They have the firepower on their team oriented offense to play with anyone. If Watson and the rest of the Toronto D can tighten up a bit from outside, put on some pressure and create a couple more transition opportunities, Toronto can ball with anyone on any day.
Boston crushed Colorado. It really wasn’t even close. Colorado is STRUGGLING!
Finally, Buffalo took care of Philadelphia with no problems. Philadelphia lets the ball sit with Iannucci WAY too much. Like Boston needed to do, they need to cycle the ball from the lefties to the righties and then engage. Boston has a ton of talent so when they don’t do this, they can still win games. Philly simply does not have the talent that the Blazers do though. In fact, I don’t know that a single Philly O player would be on Boston’s starting 5 on O, so moving the ball, keeping it hot and team oriented is even more important for the Wings. They can make the playoffs, but I don’t see them going much further than that this year.