What a season it’s been for the National Lacrosse League! After 26 weeks of NLL action, all of which have been broadcasted on the ESPN family, we finally have the 2022 NLL Finals matchup set. It’s a rematch of the 2006 NLL Cup final between the Colorado Mammoth and the Buffalo Bandits. Let’s take a quick look at how each team got to this point this season.
The Colorado Mammoth battled their way through the West Division going 7-8 within division play and finishing third in the west. They did go 3-0 against the east division, including a 15-14 win over Buffalo in early April. Colorado has battled through highs and lows all season, having eight games in which they scored nine goals or less, but also being able to get into a shootout with some of the leagues best offenses.
Entering the playoffs they were able to conquer previous playoff failures by finally winning in Calgary. They then came into San Diego in which the Mammoth was down their top scorer Ryan Lee who suffered a knee injury during practice. Most people, including myself, didn’t think the Mammoth would be able to defeat the top seeded Seals, but they used strong second halves in all three games to defeat the Seals in the West Division Finals and reach their first NLL Cup since 2006.
The Buffalo Bandits have been the team to beat since the NLL announced its 2021 return. With former MVP Dhane Smith, Josh Byrne, and others, it was pretty obvious Buffalo would be the betting favorite to get back to the NLL Cup. They came out the gate hot, going 6-0 and leading the league in scoring. They finished the season with the league’s best record and Dhane Smith tops anyone else in the league with 135 points.
They were able to get past the Firewolves in the first round, and swept the Rock 2-0 in tough series. Now the Bandits look to do what they couldn’t do in 2019 and win the NLL Cup, and for the “Chaos boys” they look to win the PLL and NLL championships in a year span.
The 2022 NLL Finals should be a great battle between two teams looking to win their first cup in over 13 years. With the way the Mammoth have played lately and the way the Bandits have scored all season, I think this should be a high scoring affair all series. Even though Colorado has proven me wrong already, I am still picking against them in the final. Buffalo has been on a mission since the 2019 offseason to get back to the finals and finally lift the NLL Cup for the first time since 2008.
Prediction: Buffalo Wins the Series 2-1