Editor’s Note: Chris Fox has taken over the NLL Weekly Previews for Connor Wilson. We know, thank the good Lord, right?!?!?! Connor knew a little, Chris knows a lot more! He is Canadian after all. Combine that with the fact that he put together an awesome NLL highlight DVD called Rugburn Lacrosse, and he’s more than qualified to give you a run down on this weekend’s action. Connor went 3-3 last week and now sits at 21-13 in his season picks. He’ll continue to drop his picks in parentheses after Chris’s pick!
This Week’s NLL Preview is brought to you by Rugburn Lacrosse! Check it out!
Rochester (1-0) (4-2) @ Toronto (1-0) (5-2)
On January 15 of this year the Toronto Rock finally did something they had never done prior: beat the Knighthawks in Rochester during the regular season. Although the Rock have not hit double digits in scoring in the past 3 games, they have been lead defensively by veteran back-stop Bob Watson, who leads the league with a .810 Save Percentage. Look for the Rock offense to break out of their single digit slump this weekend.
The K-Hawks can not be counted out with one of their only two loses coming to the Rock expect them to come out the gaits flying. Although he is only posting average numbers, the K-Hawks have a game stealing keeper in Matt Vinc. With Evans and Point connecting last week like they did back in their Jr. A days, the Rochester offense is hot. Throw in Williams, rookie-stud Jamieson, and the 1-game-in Jordan Hall the offense looks to be clicking at the right time.
I’m calling a weekend split, each team winning at home. So for the first game…
Toronto with the Win. (Connor says “No way! Rochester pulls off the upset!”)
Colorado (0-1) (1-5) @ Washington (0-2) (3-5)
Each team needs this win badly. So badly in fact, that Washington thought a guy on another team could really help get that elusive “W” for them, so they made a trade. Heading to Washington from Edmonton is Ian Hawksbee and now headed to Edmonton from the Stealth is Tyler Codron. Both of the players are Defensive guys that can get the ball up the floor quickly. Colorado picked up forward Floris and released transition player Nenad Gajic.
Colorado lost their first four games by one goal and have been unable to hit double digits in their last two. A trade for some more offensive fire-power could be more favorable for them soon if the Floris acquisition doesn’t change things quickly.
Washington, on the other hand, is pissed. Giving up two games last week to the worst team in the league has given the Stealth plenty of motivation to get on back into defending Champion form. They are even making a new warm-up mix tape!
I don’t see the Hairy Elephants getting back on track this game. It will be a close game though, but…
Washington with the Win. (Connor says, “Can’t disagree here. Washington will be motivated. Stealth win”)
Philadelphia (0-1) (3-4) @ Buffalo (1-0) (4-2)
This weekend provides the rematch of last week’s wildly popular YouTube fight Dawson vs. Irving. However, don’t expect Irving to be in the line up. There could be another potential heavy-weight matchup between Dawson and Francis, Francis coming off a loss to Rory Smith last week. This could prove to be interesting match-up because this summer in the WLA playoffs Paul Dawson got knocked out by “The Baby Face Killer” Rory Smith. Potential for a great evenly matched Donnybrook.
Philadelphia’s problems seem to be across the board. Some my say inconsistency, at this point I will equate it to lack of offense. With only two players, Iannucci and Westervelt, having reached double digit in goals, the offense needs to pick up for the Wings to win.
Combine Philly’s lack of offensive production with Buffalo’s league leading GA of 57 and you have the recipe for a repeat performance by the Bandits.
Buffalo with the win. (Connor says, “Easy call. Buffalo. Philly is predictable now.”)
Toronto (1-0) (5-2) @ Rochester (1-0) (4-2)
Mike Accursi is a G, he is the difference maker in this game.
Rochester with the Win. (Connor says, “Rochester wins them both! Unlikely but possible!”)
Boston (1-0) (5-3) @ Minnesota (0-1) (3-3)
“The Three-Headed Monster” of Dawson, Sanderson, and Powell are practically unstoppable. Realistically, the only people who can stop them are themselves. With Casey Powell leading the league in goals and Dan Dawson leading in assists its hard to imagine a lose for the B’s this weekend.
Minnesota, despite a .500 record are a very sound team. They have the best Power Play Percentage at home in the league at 53%. However, the Blazers boost a 62% Power Play while away. This game will come down to penalties and converting on opportunities. Expect the Swarm defense to rough up the Blazers and coax the Blazer players to take penalties after the whistle.
Minnesota does not score much more than they let up. If Minnesota can keep it close they will take the game in a tight, hard fought battle. I think this is a stretch, but
Minnesota with the Win. (Connor says, “Not gonna happen. Boston wins in this battle of American hockey towns”)
Calgary (0-1) (4-3) @ Edmonton (2-0) (2-5)
The “Battle of Alberta”! Edmonton is flying high after betting the defending champions twice last week. Other than that statistically there is not much going for them. If last weekend is any indication on how the Rush will play for the remained of the season, they look to contend in the west, but still have a hole to dig out of that will linger over them for the remainder of the season.
The western leading Roughnecks lost an exciting game last week to lead leading Toronto. For a team that has been said to be “re-building”, Calgary looks like a Champions Cup caliber team. With Cory Conway, Daryl Veltman, and Kaleb Toth yet to hit stride offensively, the team looks like they will be in excellent shape once they can get those three clicking. The only thing questionable in this game is Calgary’s ability to stop the ball.
The west will tighten up this weekend.
Edmonton with the Win. (Connor says, “Calgary wants this win and they’ll get it”)
Minnesota (0-1) (3-5) @ Colorado (0-1) (1-5)
This will be both Minnesota’s and Colorado’s second game of the weekend. There will most likely be one or two players injected into the line-ups. Lets chalk this one up to altitude! Both teams will be exhausted. Colorado will perform in front of a sold out crowd and John Grant Jr. could possibly get his first sock trick of the year.
Colorado with the Win. (Connor says, “If Patterson shows up, Minny wins. Levis isn’t up to snuff. Minnesota ftw.”)