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GAME PICKS: NLL Finals – Game 1

A journey that began back in December culminates in a two out of three series as the beast of the east Knighthawks battle the best in the west Rush. In the end one of these franchises will claim the inaugural National Lacrosse League Cup and it all kicks off Saturday night from Saskatoon.

Both clubs have a recent history of winning as five of the past six championships belong to either Rochester or Saskatchewan. However, before the new trophy can be awarded we need to actually play the first game…buckle up lacrosse fans, here we go!


NLL staff members Andy McNamara, Tyson Geick, and Brian Shanahan deliver their game predictions every week.

Send us your picks @NLL on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the specific game hashtags for each match-up below.


NLL Cup Final – Game 1: Rochester Knighthawks at Saskatchewan Rush – Saturday, 9:30pm ET



Game 1 Pick: Rush 

We know the Knighthawks have had the Rush’s number this year, sweeping them 2-0 in the season series. Saskatchewan will try to reassert their dominance and take away any confidence the visitors have early on.

Sasktel Centre is always loud, but the building literally shakes come playoff time. The K-Hawks don’t shy away from any challenge and the moment won’t be too big for them. I just feel that the Rush ride the home atmosphere wave to a close victory and a 1-0 lead in the best of three.


Series Pick: Knighthawks

Both teams are so evenly matched that this series truly is a pick’em. One ‘X-Factor’ though is in-between the pipes. Rochester boasts multiple time champion and five-time goaltender of the year Matt Vinc. Saskatchewan’s Evan Kirk is no slouch himself winning best goalie honors in 2016, but this is his first time in the finals and the Knighthawks did chase him from one game this season.

Whether this series goes two or three games I believe the goaltending edge goes to Rochester and that proves to be the difference.



Game 1 Pick: Rush

Series Pick: Rush



Game 1 Pick: Rush

I’m going with the Rush because I have an incredibly hard time believing that any team could beat this team three times in a row, in a single season. This will be an incredibly hard fought battle, and it’s too close to call, but if the Rush can get to Vinc early, I think they’ve got a good shot at taking Game One.

Series Pick: Rush

This series will likely go to three games. So evenly matched, but if the two teams split the games, winning one at home each, I think the Rush can take it on their home turf back in Sask.



Game 1 Pick:  Knighthawks
This is a toss up. Honestly. We’ve had an extra week to dissect and analyze things and it’s made things more confusing. I will say though, that if the Knighthawks are going to win one at Sasktel I think there’s a better chance it’s Game 1 instead a game three decider.  So I go Rochester on the road here in a tough, gritty game.
Series Pick: Knighthawks
I also go Rochester to win the finals because of Matt Vinc. If he can stay locked in he can win this for his squad.

Tweet at @NLL using #ROCvsSAS

Check out my “Keys to Victory” for Game 1 here: https://bit.ly/2s4ejZq


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 1050 sports radio. Follow Andy on twitter @AndyMc81.