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GAME PICKS: NLL Week 19

A five-pack of games on the National Lacrosse League docket this weekend and it all starts Friday night.

 

The main storyline revolves around the East Division. Where the West playoff seeding is all decided, first and last in the East is separated by a single game.

 

NLL staff members Andy McNamara, Tyson Geick, Brian Shanahan, and Pat Gregoire 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.

 

Rochester Knighthawks (8-7) at Toronto Rock (7-8) – Friday, 7:30pm ET

 

Andy

I’m looking forward to this one. This game is crucial to the Rock who needs to get their scoring touch rolling with or without Tom Schreiber, who could return. A Captain America comeback would certainly create space for the likes of Adam Jones and Rob Hellyer.

 

Knighthawks stable of youth continues to impress and a victory puts them temporarily in the division driver’s seat. Toronto will be in “must win” mode to not fall two games back and I believe they squeak it out late.

 

Pick: Rock

 

Shanny

 

Pick: Rock

 

Tyson

Rochester has a chance to take a stranglehold on a playoff spot. This team’s won five of their last six games and I don’t see many flaws in their game. The Rock have taken both games over them this season, but I think the Knighthawks will be able to avoid the season series sweep.

 

Pick: Knighthawks

 

Pat

Toronto has owned Rochester so far this year, winning the first two contests but that was with Tom Schreiber in the lineup. Since these two teams met, Rochester has flipped a switch and become one of the most consistent clubs in the East, while the Rock’s offence has gone cold without Captain America. This is almost a must win for Toronto, so I’m going with the Rock here…but this one’s going down to the wire.

 

Pick: Rock

 

Tweet at @NLL using #ROCvsTOR

 

Saskatchewan Rush (12-3) at Vancouver Stealth (2-13) – Friday, 10:30pm ET

 

Andy

Both these clubs have nothing to play for. Saskatchewan is locked into the top seed and Vancouver’s eliminated from the post-season. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Stealth was victorious, but the Rush will also want to remain sharp and therefore play hard.

 

Pick: Rush

 

Shanny

 

Pick: Stealth

 

Tyson

Make it a sweep for Sask.

 

Pick: Rush

 

Pat

I went against Saskatchewan for the first time and I got burned. That makes me want to never ever go against the Rush again. I think the Stealth has played the Rush strong this season, but a bad quarter in each contest has burned them. We’ll have another close one in Langley, however, the Rush edge Vancouver.

 

Pick: Rush

 

Tweet at @NLL using #SASvsVAN

 

New England Black Wolves (7-8) at Colorado Mammoth (10-6) – Saturday, 9pm ET

 

Andy

Just like the Rock, this is once again close to “must win” territory for New England. The Black Wolves pulled off the needed “W” last week and with Colorado designated to the two seed I see the visitors pulling off the upset.

 

Pick: Black Wolves

 

Shanny

 

Pick: Mammoth

 

Tyson

Colorado is coming off of a loss, but they did keep the best offense in the NLL to just 11 goals. The Black Wolves attack came alive last game, however, they’re still one of the lowest producing offenses in the league. Defense and goaltending will be the difference maker for the Mammoth in this game.

 

Pick: Mammoth

 

Pat

For the second straight week the Black Wolves play a team that really don’t have anything to play for besides preparation for the post-season, while New England is already in playoff mode with how tight the East is. Not only is this game too important for the Black Wolves, but I’ve actually been impressed with New England on both sides of the ball over their past two outings.

 

Pick: Black Wolves

 

Tweet at @NLL using #NEvsCOL

 

Buffalo Bandits (8-7) at Calgary Roughnecks (6-9) – Saturday, 9pm ET

 

Andy

Bandits find themselves in a similar situation as New England where they are facing a western club with no playoff implications on the line. Buffalo’s won two straight and a third would help them create separation in the tightly wound East. Give me the black and orange.

 

Pick: Bandits

 

Shanny

 

Pick: Roughnecks

 

Tyson

The Roughnecks are pretty strong at home, but the Bandits will be playing desperate as they look to inch closer to a post season spot.

 

Pick: Bandits

 

Pat

The regular season is almost over and I still can’t get a proper read on Calgary’s offense. The immense of talent they roll out the front gate shouldn’t translate to just the 7th best in the National Lacrosse League. That being said, we’ve seen them explode in a few games this season. I think they can figure out Buffalo’s defense and goalies to start to really heat up heading into the playoffs.

 

Pick: Roughnecks

 

Tweet at @NLL using #BUFvsCGY

 

Georgia Swarm (8-7) at Saskatchewan Rush (?-?) – Saturday, 9:30pm ET

 

Andy

Georgia’s rested with a division to try and win, while first place Saskatchewan is coming off a road matchup Friday. The difference here is that the Rush will definitely want to send a message to a Swarm team that hoisted the Champion’s Cup trophy in their building last season. I see Sask drawing on that motivation and surprising their guests.

 

Pick: Rush

 

Shanny

 

Pick: Swarm

 

Tyson

Georgia is starting to piece their game together. They’re another team desperate for a win, and if my predictions are all correct, we may see the Knighthawks, Bandits and Swarm inches away from playoff spots after Week 19.

 

Pick: Swarm

 

Pat

I know I just said I didn’t ever want to get burned by going against the Rush again but there are just a few too many factors in favor of the Swarm in this one. Georgia will be resting and waiting in Saskatoon while Saskatchewan will be on the road in Vancouver. The Swarm are in the thick of things in the East, while the Rush have first place locked up and can’t move up or down in the standings. And let’s not sell the Swarm short, they’ve won three straight and four in their last five. I’m going with Georgia.

 

Pick: Swarm

 

Tweet at @NLL using #GAvsSAS

 

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.

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