Andy: The Bandits offense exploded for 21 goals versus Vancouver last Saturday in Buffalo, making a statement in their first victory of 2017. Ryan Benesch was a monster, scoring four times and totaling nine points. What’s more impressive is that Buffalo did it without reigning NLL MVP Dhane Smith in the lineup.
On the other side, New England has to be in desperation mode here. They are the only winless team in the league and can’t afford to fall further behind in the hyper competitive East. The Black Wolves offense hasn’t clicked yet and although I think this game is going to be close, I’m giving it to the Bandits.
Mia: I am just going with my gut feeling here. New England has really struggled week after week to cut down on mistakes and get any offense going up front, but this is a must win situation for them and I feel they will pick it up under pressure in front of the home crowd.
Pick: Black Wolves
Tyson: It’s time that the Black Wolves got their season on track… and I think this is the week for it. This team needs their home crowd, and if they don’t let their frustrations get the best of them, I feel they’ll be able to come out on top of the Bandits, drawing them even with Buffalo in the standings. This game is way too important for the Black Wolves to drop.
Pick: Black Wolves
Pick: Black Wolves
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Colorado Mammoth (2-2) at Calgary Roughnecks (2-1) – Saturday, 9pm ET
Andy: Well my prediction last week for the score being close between these two was correct, but my pick was wrong. The Mammoth travel to Calgary trying to avenge a 14-12 loss. The Roughnecks have been undisciplined at times this season when it comes to taking penalties, however, at 5-on-5 they are one of the toughest matchups in the NLL. Goaltending advantage is in Calgary’s favor as Frankie Scigliano is rolling so i’m taking the ‘Necks in another tight one.
Mia: Calgary looked so solid against the Mammoth last week, Dane Dobbie and Tyler Digby had huge nights and Frank scigliano had been holding down the fort on the back end. Plus it is Star Wars night, so I have a feeling the force will be with the Roughnecks and you can’t bet against the force!
Tyson: Colorado was right in the game with the Roughnecks last week despite shaky goaltending and a defensive unit starting cold. The Mammoth should be able to bounce back in this game, and I think the key to success will be the strong play of Dillon Ward.
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Georgia Swarm (3-0) at Vancouver Stealth – Saturday, 10pm ET
Andy: This is the second of the back-to-back for the Stealth as they return home after a Friday rendezvous in Saskatoon. Georgia is white hot right now, winning each of their three outings by no fewer than four goals. Vancouver should be physically taxed from the Rush battle and facing a feisty Swarm squad the next day doesn’t equal a successful evening.
Mia: Until a team can figure out the answer to the most dominant team in the league, I can’t bet against them. With 5 goals from 5 different players last week to get the ball rolling, it really shows that the entire roster is contributing, and Mike Poulin has been one of the best in the league in net so far this season.
Tyson: I would have an extremely difficult time betting against the Swarm right now. When you’re averaging 16.6 goals per game, it’s pretty hard to lose, especially when Mike Poulin is playing the way he is. Money’s on Georgia here.
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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.