Only four weeks until the hunt for the Champion’s Cup begins. A light schedule of three games in the National Lacrosse League this weekend, however, each matchup has its own set of playoff positioning implications.
Teams on bye – Toronto, Rochester, Colorado
This season NLL staff members Andy McNamara, Mia Gordon, Tyson Geick, and Brian Shanahan deliver their game predictions every week. Here are the standings so far:
Send us your picks @NLL on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the specific game hashtags for each match-up below.
Georgia Swarm (9-4) at New England Black Wolves (7-7) – Friday, 7:30pm ET
Georgia had lost three of their lost four before exploding for 21 goals over Colorado. This is a huge outing for New England, who can tie Toronto for second in the East if they can pull off the upset. The Black Wolves are 5-2 at home, however, I get the feeling that the Swarm are starting to heat up for the playoffs.
After seeing what the Georgia Swarm did last week to one of the best defenses in the league, it is hard to bet against them. If they have a full team effort yet again I can’t see the Black Wolves getting by them.
Tweet @NLL your prediction using #GAvsNE
Buffalo Bandits (5-8) at Calgary Roughnecks (6-9) – Saturday, 9pm ET
Calgary could jump up into the final playoff spot in the West with a victory and Vancouver loss. Buffalo is pretty close to must win territory. Rochester is idle and if New England comes up short then the Bandits would be within striking distance of a postseason berth.
The Roughnecks’ struggles have come against first place competition whereas Buffalo’s inconsistency makes them unpredictable. Calgary takes this by three or more.
Both of these teams are in very similar situations, each fighting for a playoff spot, both in must win situations, each struggling on the defensive end. However, it really seems Calgary has stepped up to the occasion under pressure and I think they will again on home floor.
Tweet @NLL your prediction using #BUFvsCAL
Vancouver Stealth (6-8) at Saskatchewan Rush (9-4) – Saturday, 9:30pm ET
Vancouver is 2-2 over their past four outings and are above .500 on the road. The Rush are the only undefeated home team in the NLL at 6-0 and are playing for the right to play at SaskTel Centre throughout the postseason. The Stealth are in a dogfight with Calgary for the last playoff position in the West, but I just don’t see Saskatchewan dropping this one.
The Stealth are also in a must win situation and they have had Saskatchewan’s number, but no team has been able to beat the Rush on home floor. That 7th man is so strong and really plays a factor
Tweet @NLL your prediction using VAN#SAS
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.