The NLL is in full swing now. Week 4 is in the books and Week 5 starts tonight. I’ll have a Week 5 Preview post up later today, but for now, we’ll stick with recaps and some quick highlights from Week 4. Just to get you caught up. If you’re looking to get caught up all the way back to the beginning, here are my posts for Week 3 (Part 2), Week 3 (Part 1), Week 2 (Part 2), Week 2 (Part 1) and Week 1. Now let’s get right into the Week 4 action…
Philadelphia – Boston
Philadelphia travelled to Boston, and to everyone’s surprise, the Wings destroyed the Blazers at home. Ryan Powell had just joined his brother, Casey, in Boston (along with Dawson and Sanderson) and some people were saying that this team was automatically unstoppable, which was a little ridiculous. Box lacrosse is a team game (if you want to win), and to think a squad could add 3 new star offensive players (not to mention a new goalie) and win in dominating fashion immediately is off their rocker. This couldn’t have been more evident in Boston’s game against Philly. They just looked out of sync and rushed and the Wings made them pay for it. Boston’s D also played really soft and let Philly move the ball uncontested for much of the game.
Boston needed time to adjust to the new line up (although maybe less time than I originally thought… we’ll get to that later), but a lot of credit goes to Philly. They saw a chance and they took it. They pressured on D, got a great game out of Brandon Miller and on O, got production from Iannucci along with others chipping in. I’m glad I said I thought they could make the playoffs early on because right now, they’re in second place in the East at 3-2, while that Blazers team is at 3-3. They both sit behind Toronto at 4-1.
Colorado – Philadelphia
After taking down the Blazers on Friday, the Wings had to play Colorado on Saturday and they managed to win again by a score of 12-11. Philly’s 3 wins have all come in their last 3 game against Colorado (12-11), Boston (11-5) and Colorado (11-10). Colorado has some talent but the ball flows primarily though John Grant Junior and Brian Langtry. Grant has seemed frustrated at times and has tried to do too much, this includes shooting. So far he’s taken 69 shots in 4 games, with only 9 goals. The 15 assists are nice but he’s averaging 15 missed shots per night. Yowzas. Maybe that’s why Colorado is giving the one and only Con Bro Chill a shot this weekend! Ha! See, Tumbas, I told you he’d get on the floor!
Calgary – Edmonton Games 1 and 2
Out West, Calgary played Edmonton on Friday. Then they played them again on Saturday. Calgary won both games, as I thought they might. Edmonton keeps it tight and doesn’t usually let games get away from them, however they do lose, on average, by 3 goals a night. At 0-5, they are in need of a change and it’s got to happen quickly. Otherwise, 2011 is pretty much done for them. Yes, it’s early and if they rattled off a bunch of wins, it would be a different story, but I just don’t see that happening with the team they’ve got right now. They do have some talent and toughness but for some reason they haven’t really come together and played like a team. The Rush sometimes seem as surprised as I am when they score. And in a talent heavy league like the NLL, that’s not a good sign.
Boston – Rochester
Last week, Boston lost to Toronto (pretty much everyone’s number 1) and then Rochester. I thought they looked sluggish against Rochester last week after going all out with Toronto. This week they looked sluggish against Philly and I expected disaster in Rochester. It turns out I was partially right because it was a disaster, just not for Boston. The Blazers came out firing on Saturday night. They finally applied more pressure on defense, gobbled up loose balls (Rubisch is my Defender of the Year right now), and worked the ball around to the lefties when they settled on offense. Casey Powell and Dawson were more free to operate and put up points as a result. Ryan Powell scored his first goal of the season and then got CRUSHED high and from behind by Chris Schiller. Powell didn’t seem to mind too much and I think that speaks volumes to how happy he is to be playing in Boston. Rochester looked awful. I know they can win games and apply pressure but they looked really slow and sloppy on Saturday and once things weren’t going their way, it only took a turn for the worse. I’ll be interested to see how they come back this weekend.
Buffalo – Toronto
I didn’t get to catch this game and didn’t have time for the replay so I’ll just say Toronto won 8-5 and I’m surprised these teams didn’t combine for more points. 8-5 just seems low. I think it shows how Toronto can score with anyone or play D if they need to, but having not see the game, I’ll refrain from supplying too much opinion. If anyone did see this game, please chime in with a comment at the end! Crowd sourcing!
Minnesota – Washington
Finally, we saw Minnesota beat Washington by 1, 11-10 in OT. The Swarm now sit at 3-1 while Washington falls to 2-3 for third place behind 4-2 Calgary in the West. Minnesota has taken the West by storm but the question is, can they keep winning the close games? Their goalie, Patterson, has been coming up big when it’s needed most, if he keeps it up, we’re looking at a possible MVP. Benesch has been a great pick up for Minnesota and Paul Rabil is leading the Stealth in penalty minutes. I guess all the gym time has paid off!
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