BREAKING: NLL Announces Landmark Partnership With TSN Read More

×
Game Previews

GAME PICKS: NLL Week 5

Entering the 5th week of the National Lacrosse League schedule finds us with only the Georgia Swarm standing without a loss, while both Colorado and Philadelphia continue to hunt for that elusive first victory. There’s a five-pack of games on the slate and all of them go down on Saturday night!

 

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 8 5
Shanny 8 5
Andy 8 5
Renee 6 7

 

I went a perfect 5-0 in last week’s picks to make it a three-way tie first with Renee picking significant ground going 4-1. Let’s get to the game predictions!

 

Georgia Swarm (3-0) at Philadelphia Wings (0-3) – Saturday, 7pm ET

 

Andy

Undefeated versus winless, this is a big early season matchup for both clubs. The Swarm can start to pull away in the East, while the Wings can get back in the race with a victory.

 

I’m very interested to see how Philadelphia goaltender Doug Buchan follows up his coming out party against Toronto last week. Is this the start of a meteoric rise like we saw for Calgary’s Christian Del Bianco or a one off? I feel Philly’s found their starter in-between the pipes, problem is I don’t think it’ll be enough to stop the wrecking ball that is Georgia.

 

The Wings are very close, but the Swarm are just so complete and difficult to stop so i’ll roll with the visitors.

 

Pick: SWARM

 

Shanny

 

Pick: SWARM

 

Renee

 

The Wings are taking their lumps, learning on the fly, and looking to get their first win of the season. I don’t know when the win will come but I could see it happening soon. After their OT loss to Toronto and the breaking news of Kevin Crowley returning the Philly I am VERY tempted to say the Wings will win this game.

 

However, even if Kevin Crowley plays, the undefeated Swarm are coming off their first game of a full, strong 60 minutes. The Wings are going to have their hands full with the Swarm’s talented offensive players plus several players that have been stepping up such as Brendan Bomberry and Adam Weidemann. This team has great depth along with a strong defense anchored by Jason Noble and Mike Poulin. I think the Swarm extend their unbeaten record to 4-0 this weekend at Wells Fargo.

 

Pick: SWARM

 

Devan

While the Kevin Crowley trade will most certainly bolster Philly’s offensive firepower, I don’t think the Wings defense is a match for this Swarm offense. While Philly’s goaltenders Doug Buchan and Davide DiRuscio are talented, blocking shots from players like Lyle Thompson, Randy Staats and Holden Cattoni is a level they haven’t quite reached yet. The Wings offense would have to put up a lot of points in order to make this an even game.

 

Pick: SWARM

 

Tweet @NLL using #GAvsPHI

 

 

Toronto Rock (2-1) at Colorado Mammoth (0-2) – Saturday, 9pm ET

 

Andy

I’m still baffled that the Mammoth are 0-2, nevermind winless at home. This is desperation time for Colorado in a West Division you can’t afford to fall too far behind in. The Rock’s offense turned it on in the second half against Philadelphia last Friday to win in dramatic fashion tying it up short-handed then potting the winner in overtime. However, they are still working through the early season kinks of putting all three phases of their game together.

 

The Mammoth’s best chance is to keep this as low scoring as possible. I see a one goal decision with scoring in the single digits. Colorado takes it in a grinder.

 

Pick: MAMMOTH

 

Shanny

 

Pick: MAMMOTH

 

Renee

The Colorado Mammoth return to the Loud House looking to get their first win and I actually am going to take a gamble and say they do. I’m sure a lot of people will pick the Toronto Rock to win coming off their second straight overtime game. We see them pulling off close wins and their team coming together on both ends of the floor. Rob Hellyer, Tom Schreiber, and Adam Jones have the ability to make big plays and defensively Nick Rose and Challen Rogers continue to lead this organized unit. The Rock have struggled playing in the West in the past and we saw two down to the wire games, including the last one which they gave up seven transition goals.

 

The Mammoth are coming into this with nothing to lose. They are not panicking. Head Coach Pat Coyle sees the team’s improvements in intensity and goaltender Dillon Ward stepping up after a tough loss to the Seals. Captain Dan Coates, talked this week on the veteran group understanding how long the season is and how the Mammoth need to continue to learn from their mistakes to see what they can do to be better every day.

 

Pick: MAMMOTH

 

Devan

Toronto’s offense is playing really well. If Tom Schreiber and Adam Jones’ overtime performance last week didn’t convince you of that, I don’t know what will. Like a lot of people, I had high hopes for the Mammoth this season. Also like a lot of people, I am very confused as to why the Mammoth are 0-2 at home. They still have a lot of talent, but until they decide to utilize that talent, I’m going with the Rock.

 

Pick: ROCK

 

Tweet @NLL using #TORvsCOL

 

 

New England Black Wolves (1-1) at Calgary Roughnecks (3-1) – Saturday, 9pm ET

 

Andy

I’m still not sure what to make of this Black Wolves team that’s flashed brilliance along with frustrating inconsistency over the past couple of years. They have the pieces to be competitive with anyone, but Calgary is playing on another level right now. Del Bianco’s a stud in net and the Roughnecks have shown they can win in a multitude of ways whether it be low scoring defensive battles or lighting it for tallies in the teens.

 

Right now I can’t bet against the Riggers.

 

Pick: ROUGHNECKS

 

Shanny

 

Pick: ROUGHNECKS

 

Renee

I am REALLY looking forward to this game. These are two teams that are competing to be a top team in their respective divisions. I could really pick either team to win this game. The New England Black Wolves are coming off a bye week and a statement win over the defending champs, the Saskatchewan Rush in their home opener at Mohegan Sun. I am impressed by the way Callum Crawford, Reilly O’Connor, and Stephan Leblanc are playing, but I am not sure if it is enough to pull off this win.

 

The Calgary Roughnecks are rolling since dropping the season opener. They have been holding teams to less than 10 goals per game in their last three wins with Christian Del Bianco playing on a new level this season. Offensively, Rhys Duch and Dane Dobbie are top two in the NLL heading into this weekend for goals, but they bring so much more then just their scoring ability. Calgary is trusting each other, playing really well together, and I think the hot streak continues in what I imagine will be an exciting,close game to the finish!

 

Pick: ROUGHNECKS

 

Devan

Calgary could be a 4-0 team, but they had pre-season-like growing pains in Week 1. Rhys Duch continues to prove what a valuable asset he is for the Roughnecks week-in and week-out.

 

While New England has offensive talent like Callum Crawford and Reilly O’Connor, the Roughnecks fast and athletic defense – including the brick wall that is Christian Del Bianco – will shut them down.

 

Pick: ROUGHNECKS

 

Tweet @NLL using #NEvsCGY

 

 

Saskatchewan Rush (1-1) at Vancouver Warriors (1-3) – Saturday, 10pm ET

 

Andy

The revamped Vancouver franchise started off the season with a bang over division rival Calgary, but since then have dropped three straight. Much like New England, the Warriors show signs of being a threat in the West, but can’t seem to put it all together.

 

After being upset in their opener Saskatchewan got back to their winning ways at home this past weekend. There is so much talent on the Rush and this corps has been together for a while now. I see the green and black making a statement on the road and moving above .500.

 

Pick: RUSH

 

Shanny

 

Pick: RUSH

 

Renee

Vancouver is looking to get a win after dropping three straight games. Unfortunately I don’t think this is their week to get back into the win column. It was encouraging to see them hang with the Georgia Swarm for the entire game, but I think the Rush are coming off a victory in the home opener ready to get a second win.

 

The Saskatchewan Rush are not underestimating any opponents this season, especially knowing all teams are playing their best game against the defending NLL champions. The Rush have won the last 13 of the 16 meetings between the teams, but they know that this is a new Vancouver team. Rob Church is back on the active roster alongside Matthews, McIntosh, and Shattler.

 

Pick: RUSH

 

Devan

The Rush smoothed out the bumps in their game plan from their first game that resulted in a one point loss to New England. Head Coach Derek Keenan said they worked out those issues and started playing like a team last week against San Diego and he was absolutely right.

 

There is something to be said for Vancouver’s defense holding the Georgia Swarm to just 5 goals at the half last week. If the Vancouver defense can come out strong in this game, it could be a close one. But I’m guessing they won’t be a match for another (almost) double-hat-trick night for Ben McIntosh.

 

Pick: RUSH

 

Tweet @NLL using #SSKvsVAN

 

 

Rochester Knighthawks (1-1) at San Diego Seals (1-2) – Saturday, 10pm ET

 

Andy

This is the hardest game to pick of the week for me, a true pick’em. Rochester’s tough defense and mix of young with veteran scoring touch makes them a hard out on any given game day. The Seals have come up short on their last two after winning their first matchup in franchise history. This is their home opener and we know Austin Staats and company will be looking to impress the home crowd.

 

I’m sure this will be a tight back and forth, however, I like how the Knighthawks are built overall right now.

 

Pick: KNIGHTHAWKS

 

Shanny

 

Pick: KNIGHTHAWKS

 

Renee

After watching the Seals compete with Saskatchewan and knowing the Knighthawks are looking to rebound after last weekend’s loss to Buffalo, this is another really hard game to pick. Cody Jamieson and Joe Resetarits are leading Rochester offensively. Resetarits mentioned how they still need to keep working on their confidence, ball movement, and everything to bounce back nicely. Plus it helps Angus Goodleaf is playing phenomenally in net with a .788 SV%.

 

San Diego is no average new franchise. They have been making noise from their season opening win over Colorado. With rookie Austin Staats putting up good numbers in two of their games plus Kyle Buchanan, Adrian Sorichetti, and Turner Evans offensively, the Seals have great leadership and ball movement. Coming off their loss to the Rush with a handful of former Saskatchewan players, I think San Diego gets this win, but even as I write this I am still unsure! I’m looking forward to this game just as much as the other four that’s for sure.

 

Pick: SEALS

 

Devan

San Diego is an extremely talented team who is (finally) playing at home. While Rochester will be coming into this game hungry for redemption from their loss to Buffalo, I’m not sure if their offense can put up enough points to defeat the Seals. The Knighthawks are a hard team to predict – they started off the season strong but then had a huge loss to the Bandits so anything could happen. Unless Angus Goodleaf can protect the net from Austin Staats, I’m going with San Diego for this one.

 

Pick: SEALS

 

Tweet @NLL using #ROCvsSD

 

 

 

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

NLL