The grind of the regular season is over and it’s time to start the hunt for the Champion’s Cup!
Georgia and Saskatchewan have earned first round byes after securing top spot in their respective divisions and will host the winners of the two semi-finals. Black Wolves/Rock and Mammoth/Stealth roll on Saturday night in what could be a pair of NLL playoff classics.
Eliminated from playoffs- Buffalo Bandits, Rochester Knighthawks, Calgary Roughnecks.
NLL staff members Andy McNamara, Mia Gordon, Tyson Geick, and Brian Shanahan deliver their game predictions every week. Here are the final regular season standings:
Send us your picks @NLL on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the specific game hashtags for each match-up below.
East Division Semi-Final
#3 New England Black Wolves (8-10) at #2 Toronto Rock (9-9)
Saturday, 7pm ET
The Black Wolves defeated Toronto both times the clubs met, but only by a combined two goals. That makes this semi-final a pick’em to me. The Rock finished the year strong by dumping Buffalo, while New England has lost two straight. I expect a low scoring, fast paced war on Saturday night!
With New England’s playoff experience plus their success against Toronto this season I have a feeling they may be able to pull through on this one.
Pick: Black Wolves
“The numbers don’t lie.” The Rock outshot the Black Wolves in both games of the regular season, and won the loose ball battle in each of the two games as well… they just ran into a hot goaltender in Evan Kirk. Toronto is also a more disciplined team.
Tweet @NLL your prediction using #NEvsTOR
West Division Semi-Final
#3 Colorado Mammoth (9-9) at #2 Vancouver Stealth (9-9)
Saturday, 10pm ET
It’s a great story having Vancouver host its first playoff game and the Stealth did improve their play at home late in the season. This Mammoth club is really tough defensively so one of the Keys for Vancouver will be to not get into an early deficit.
I predict another lower scoring battle here, but will give the edge to Colorado.
Defense vs. offense here and it seems the offense has come out on top this season so far. Playing in front of a sold out crowd in Vancouver may help as well.
An offense that’s finally healthy. I think the Mammoth will surprise on Saturday night with a big win in Vancouver.
Tweet @NLL your prediction using #COLvsVAN
Andy McNamara has been a play-by-play commentator for the NLL on TSN, NLLTV.com, and world lacrosse tournaments since 2011. He’s also a sport talk host and anchor on TSN 10