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GAME PICKS: NLL Week 4

Only the Georgia Swarm and Rochester Knighthawks remain undefeated entering Week 4 in the National Lacrosse League, while three teams hunt for their first victory of the 2018/19 season. A busy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday slate of matchups should start to provide some clarity in the early division races.

 

NLL staff members Andy McNamara, Renee Washington, Devan Kaney, 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.

 

2018 Game Picks Standings:

 

Name WINS LOSSES
Devan 5 3
Shanny 5 3
Andy 3 5
Renee 2 6

 

Let’s get to the game predictions!

 

 

Philadelphia Wings (0-2) at Toronto Rock (1-1) – Friday, 7:30pm ET

 

Andy

A key for the Rock on Friday will be to not only get out to a quick lead, but hold it and then build on it. Toronto let an uber talented Georgia crew get their confidence back after stinging them in the first few minutes, and they don’t want that to happen with the new Wings franchise hunting for that first win.

 

Philadelphia is going through the growing pains of an expansion franchise, and I truly believe they have the pieces to be competitive as the season progresses. However, the Rock’s offensive diversity of Hellyer, Schreiber, McArdle, and Adam Jones paired with a solid back end is going to be just too much for Philly to overcome.

 

Pick: ROCK

 

Shanny

 

Pick: ROCK

 

Renee

The Philadelphia Wings face the Rock in their second straight road game and are coming off a tough loss to Rochester. I think the Wings are still working through some things on the both ends of the floor with so many new pieces.

 

After a tight loss in their home opener to Georgia, the Rock are looking like a contender to be a top team in the East Division with several strong players starting with their organized defense and Nick Rose in net. Rob Hellyer is coming off an amazing 10 point game which is a huge confidence boost for him and his teammates to lead them to defeat the Wings Friday.

 

Pick: ROCK

 

Devan

These are two teams coming off of losses, but I have to go with the Rock in this one. Their experience just outweighs the talent on the Philadelphia Wings. The Rock are going to want to win a game at home after their loss to Georgia, and players like Tom Schreiber and Rob Hellyer will blow through both Doug Buchan and Davide DiRuscio in the net. If they can get points on the board first and hold their lead, I think the Rock will take this game.

 

Pick: ROCK

 

Tweet @NLL using #PHIvsTOR

 

Vancouver Warriors (1-2) at Georgia Swarm (2-0) – Saturday, 7:05pm ET

 

Andy

Two words, one name – Lyle Thompson. Watching No. 4 play lacrosse is poetry in motion, and a couple of his airborne goals versus Toronto last weekend were incredible. On top of that the “Poulin Wall” was performing at a championship level between the pipes with a defense that limited any inside chances.

 

However, from distance Poulin showed some vulnerability at times and this is where Vancouver needs to try and exploit. The Warriors have the weapons to do that along with goalie Aaron Bold who can always rise to the occasion.

 

I still can’t bet against Georgia.

 

Pick: SWARM

 

Shanny

 

Pick:

 

Renee

The Georgia Swarm remain undefeated after a late game winner by Lyle Thompson. The Swarm have been consistent in their first two games with Holden Cattoni, Randy Staats, and others contributing each game alongside L.Thompson. The Warriors struggled last weekend with the Bandits offense and this week may prove to be a similar hurdle. I pick Georgia to extend their record to 3-0 this weekend.

 

Pick: SWARM

 

Devan

Georgia is proving once again that they are an elite team this season. Vancouver’s defense is no match for Swarm players like Lyle Thompson and Holden Cattoni, not to mention defensive talent Bryan Cole and Goalie Mike Poulin. That’s not to say I don’t love a good underdog…but until more players on the Warriors step up their game, I’m going with the Swarm on this one.

 

Pick: SWARM

 

Tweet @NLL using #VANvsGA

 

Rochester Knighthawks (1-0) at Buffalo Bandits (2-1) – Saturday, 7:30pm ET

 

Andy

Matt Vinc is a big game goaltender and I expect him to shine against his former Knighthawks teammates in front of his new home fans in Buffalo. Rochester looked crisp and dominant versus the expansion Wings, but let’s not crown them yet as Philly is still finding their way.

 

Goaltending advantage goes to Buffalo, defensive edge to Rochester, and both teams can score. Oh and this is one of the nastiest NLL rivalries out there. Grab some popcorn and enjoy what I predict will be a very close, hard hitting battle. I give the nod to the Bandits.

 

Pick: BANDITS

 

Shanny

 

Pick: KNIGHTHAWKS

 

Renee

This may be one of the best, most competitive games this weekend. It is tough to pick a winner with how strong both teams played last game and the rivalry between these two teams.

 

Matt Vinc plays his old team at home and I look forward to the matchup of Vinc in net against Cody Jamieson, Austin Shanks, and Joe Resetarits. Josh Byrne and Shawn Evans are going to need to carry their offensive chemistry into this game, but the biggest difference in this one is defense. With Graeme Hossack and Jake Withers on defense for the Knighthawks to account for the Bandits attack how will the Buffalo defense hold up? This may be the difference so in what could almost be a coin flip, I’m going to go with Rochester. Sorry to pick against you again Buffalo!!

 

Pick: KNIGHTHAWKS

 

Devan

The Knighthawks were a really hard team to predict before the season started, but they have proved they are still a strong group despite losing some really great talent. Rochester still has their triple threat offense in Joe Resetarits, Cody Jamieson, and Kyle Jackson. Those three versus a struggling Buffalo defense? I’m not so sure that’ll play well for Buffalo despite players like Josh Byrne and Shawn Evans starting to shine. Going with the Knighthawks on this one.

 

Pick: KNIGHTHAWKS

 

Tweet @NLL using #ROCvsBUF

 

San Diego Seals (1-1) at Saskatchewan Rush (0-1) – Saturday, 8:30pm ET

 

Andy

The Rush actually had a better record away from SaskTel Centre a year ago, but that building literally shakes when the Rush faithful get rolling and they will be for the home opener Saturday. It’s very rare that GM/head coach Derek Keenan’s club loses two in-a-row and I expect them to be frothing at the mouth to avenge that upset New England win from a week ago.

 

As we saw in their first ever game, you cannot underestimate this talented San Diego expansion corps. It will be interesting to see which offense shows up for the Seals – the one that buried 17 in Colorado or the group that only tallied five visiting Calgary. I’m sticking with the Rush.

 

Pick: RUSH

 

Shanny

 

Pick: RUSH

 

Renee

The Saskatchewan Rush dropped their season opener on the road to the New England Black Wolves. I don’t see them losing two in a row ESPECIALLY with this game being their home opener where they will raise their championship banner in a pregame ceremony. Shout out to the Rush fans, who are ready to show why they are the best fanbase in the league. After a tough loss in game one, I feel bad for their next opponent, San Diego.

 

The Seals have proven to be more than just the new guys on the block with a roster of talented veterans and rookies, so if they want to be a top team in the West division, this is a good game to make a statement. I just think the SaskTel Centre will be electric Saturday as the Rush fix some minor mistakes from last game to put together a complete 60 minutes and get a win in their home opener.

 

Pick: RUSH

 

Devan

I’m going with the Rush for several reasons. This is the home opener for Saskatchewan and the SaskTel Center is going to be nuts, they have key offensive players like Mark Matthews, Robert Church, and Jeff Shattler returning, and the reigning champs lost their first game of the season…they will want to prove themselves and make a comeback. I think if Calgary was able to hold San Diego to just five points, the Rush can definitely get their first win at home here.

 

Pick: RUSH

 

Tweet @NLL using #SDvsSSK

 

Calgary Roughnecks (2-1) at Colorado Mammoth (0-1) – Sunday, 3pm ET

 

Andy

Early season statement game for the Roughnecks here. You want to play with the big boys in the West, then you have to carve out tough road wins, and few places are tougher to play in than Denver, Colorado.

 

Calgary’s proven they can grab a “W” by scoring in single digits or in the teens, and I’m feeling a low goal total with the pair of goaltenders here. The Mammoth are a much better unit than the one that got shocked by expansion San Diego in their first game of the season.

 

I feel Colorado possesses a slight overall edge on defense, but the Roughnecks attack is more dynamic and it will be the visitors that squeeze out the victory.

 

Pick: ROUGHNECKS

 

Shanny

 

Pick: MAMMOTH

 

Renee

This is another exciting game to watch this weekend. It is a rematch of the West Division first round game in May that was also at the Loud House.

 

Calgary has played impressively in their two wins on both sides of the ball. The Mammoth are still searching for their offensive consistency. This is a tough game to pick Calgary with it being a rematch on the road, but I think with the confidence Christian Del Bianco gained from his incredible 45+ saves last weekend and the chemistry we are seeing from Dane Dobbie, Rhys Duch, Tyler Pace, and Riley Loewen, the Roughnecks squeak out this tough road win.

 

Pick: ROUGHNECKS

 

Devan

Similar to the Rush, the Mammoth were embarrassed in their first game of the season. They won’t let that happen again. Especially not in the Loud House!

 

For that to happen, Dillon Ward and Colorado’s defense have got to step it up to keep Dane Dobbie and Rhys Duch from dominating on offense for the Roughnecks. Unlike their first game, I suspect the Colorado Mammoth have been prepping for this matchup and will come to play on Sunday.

 

Pick: MAMMOTH

 

Tweet @NLL using #CGYvsCOL

 

 

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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