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Game Picks – Week Five

A pair of unbeaten squads put their perfect record on the line, while another club hunts for that elusive first ”W”. Those are just some of the interesting storylines brewing for Week 5 of the National Lacrosse League. Watch all the action starting Friday evening on NLLTV.com.

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:

Team                 Wins      Losses     GB

1. Shanny             5               3            — 

2. Mia                   5               3            —  

3. Andy                 4               4            1

4. Tyson`              4               4            1

 Shanny went from worst to first after going a perfect 4-0 last weekend. Send us your picks @NLL on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the specific game hashtags for each match-up below.

Vancouver Stealth (2-2) at Saskatachewan Rush (1-2) – Friday8:30pm ET
Andy: The floodgates finally opened for the defending NLL champs last week as the Rush collected their first win of the season in their home opener. This is bad news for the visiting Stealth, who are catching Saskatchewan on what I believe to be the start of a big run. Vancouver hangs tough, but the green and black attack prevail.
Pick: Rush
Mia: After seeing the defending champs come out calm, cool, and collected last week, I think they regained their confidence, especially on the back end as Aaron bold looked solid between the pipes. Vancouver has had a tough few weeks and I need them to prove that they can keep the momentum going.
Pick: Rush
Tyson: I’ve got the Rush pulling even at .500 after this one. I feel the team is slowly finding their way, and for the second straight week, they’ll be able to feed off of the crowd at the SaskTel Center. The Roughneck’s and Bandits were both able to expose the Stealth’s goaltending in recent weeks, an element of their game I’m not sold on yet.
Pick: Rush
Shanny
Pick: Rush
Tweet @NLL your prediction using #VANvsSAS
Rochester Knighthawks (1-2) at Toronto Rock (2-0) – Saturday7pm ET
Andy: This is a fascinating Week 1 one rematch between two young and retooling clubs. The Rock took the first meeting on the road in dominant fashion 12-5, and remain undefeated after a pair of byes. 
Rochester is packed with stud rookies and impressively rebounded after that loss to the Rock by pounding New England. However, inconsistency can be the hallmark of youth and the Knighthawks fell short against a hungry Rush crew in Saskatchewan. A bit of a surprise announcement came out Thursday that K-Hawks star forward Cody Jamieson has been activated after a speedy recovery from an ACL injury, and will play Saturday at the Air Canada Centre. Jamieson’s effectiveness is a real ”x-factor” here.
The difference to me comes inbetween the pipes. Matt Vinc is an all-timer, but Nick Rose is playing at an elite level so I’ll give the edge to Toronto.
Pick: Rock
Mia: The Rock beat the Knighthawks on the road in Week 1, and coming off a bye week some of the guys that were banged up have had the time to rest and regroup. Plus Nick Rose has been on fire lately.
Pick: Rock
Tyson: The Toronto Rock are going to be a tough team to beat the way they’re playing right now. I have this team improving to 3-0 on the season after this game. Their transition game is deadly, while their goaltending is the best in the league at the moment. Rochester will be stronger with both Keogh and Jamieson back in the line up this time around, however they won’t be enough to help the Knighthawks defeat the Rock.
Pick: Rock
Shanny:
Pick: Rock
Tweet @NLL your prediction using #ROCvsTOR
Buffalo Bandits (1-2) at New England Black Wolves (0-3) – Saturday7pm ET
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.
Pick: 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
TysonIt’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
Shanny:
Pick: Black Wolves
Tweet @NLL your prediction using #BUFvsNE
Colorado Mammoth (2-2) at Calgary Roughnecks (2-1) – Saturday9pm 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.
Pick: Roughnecks
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! 
Pick: Roughnecks
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.
Pick: Mammoth
Shanny:
Pick: Roughnecks
Tweet @NLL your prediction using #COLvsCGY
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.
Pick: Swarm
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.
Pick: Swarm
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.
Pick: Swarm
Shanny:
Pick: Swarm
Tweet @NLL your prediction using GAvsVAN
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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