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The March To May: Finale Primer

It all comes down to this, folks. The final steps of the March to May are right in front of us. The journey has been a non-stop thrill ride since the season began in December, and Week 21 will surely be the most chaotic stretch of all. With five teams vying for the final two playoff spots and every team that has clinched still vying for the best seed possible (other than the Toronto Rock at #1 and San Diego Seals at #2), every game counts during this final weekend of regular season action.

 

Rochester Knighthawks (6-10) at Georgia Swarm (10-7)

Friday, April 19th at 7:30 p.m. EST

What a way to start the final weekend of this regular season. The Rochester Knighthawks play their first of two games of Week 21. They need to win both to keep themselves in the playoff picture. But, they would need to do more than just win both games to clinch a spot in the 2024 playoffs. They would need the San Diego Seals, Albany FireWolves and Toronto Rock all to win this weekend, as well. According to Graeme Perrow’s calculations, coming into this weekend, the Knighthawks have a 3.13% chance of making the postseason, so if they can pull it off, that would be special. For the Swarm, who have already clinched a playoff spot, they are fighting to host a game in the first round of the playoffs – a win against the Knighthawks would give them that opportunity. And, even if they don’t win against the Knighthawks on Friday night, there are still ways for the Swarm to be playing in Gas South Arena next weekend. So much is on the line in this battle, you won’t want to miss a second of the action.

 

Vancouver Warriors (8-9) at San Diego Seals (12-5)

Friday, April 19th at 10:00 p.m. EST

Can the Warriors continue their magical second-half run? The Warriors have shocked the lacrosse world, winning five games in a row and six of their last seven contests. They have gone from a team that was in contention to secure the #1 overall draft pick in the 2024 NLL Entry Draft to a team vying for its first playoff appearance since 2017. A win against the San Diego Seals will increase their chances of getting into the postseason. A Vancouver win would also knock the New York Riptide out of playoff contention. The Warriors are 2-3 against the Seals in San Diego, opposed to 1-4 against the Seals in Vancouver, which helps their odds this weekend. For San Diego, they have already locked up the #2 seed for the postseason, but you can expect that they’ll bring their A-game this weekend, not only because they want to head into the playoffs on a positive note, but they would really enjoy spoiling the Warriors incredible turnaround year. This game has so many playoff implications for other playoff contenders around the league, it might be the most-watched game of the weekend.

 

Colorado Mammoth (5-12) at Halifax Thunderbirds (9-8)

Saturday, April 20th at 6:30 p.m. EST

The Halifax Thunderbirds haven’t been playing their best ball in the second-half of the season, but they are still fighting to for a higher seed in the postseason. Currently sitting in the #6 spot, the Thunderbirds can move up to #5 with a win against Colorado and a Buffalo loss against the Las Vegas Desert Dogs. Earning that higher seed would likely come in handy for their opening round playoff matchup, as they would be facing a team in lower position (the #4 seed) instead of the team sitting in at #3. The Mammoth will not be throwing the towel in for this game, as this will be their final game of the season. If they can’t give Colorado an NLL championship this year, you better believe that they’ll at least do everything they can to end their season on the right foot.

 

Albany FireWolves (10-7) at New York Riptide (8-9)

Saturday, April 20th at 7:30 p.m. EST

This is potentially the game of the weekend, in my opinion. There is so much on the line in this New York clash. Both teams desperately want to grab the win for different reasons. The Riptide have a chance at clinching their first-ever playoff appearance, while the FireWolves could secure a chance to host their first-ever home playoff game. All the FireWolves have to do is win, but even if they don’t, there are still ways for them to host a game next weekend if a couple other teams lose in Week 21. On the other side, the Riptide’s journey to a potential postseason appearance is a little more complicated. They would not only need to win this weekend, they would need help from teams around the league to make franchise history. They will also be scoreboard watching on Friday night, as they need the Warriors to lose to keep their playoff hopes alive. If the Warriors win, the Riptide are out of playoff contention.

 

Panther City Lacrosse Club (9-8) at Calgary Roughnecks (7-10)

Saturday, April 20th at 9:00 p.m. EST 

Panther City has the easiest road to the postseason coming into this weekend. If they win, they’re in. But, even if they don’t win, if any of Halifax, Toronto, New York or San Diego win, they are in. Panther City has won three of their last four games and extending their hot stretch with a win over the Roughnecks would be a significant confidence boost for this young franchise heading into postseason play. The Roughnecks will not be in the postseason this year, but they do have the chance to put a damper on PCLC’s regular season if they can pull off a win.

 

 

Toronto Rock (14-3) at Saskatchewan Rush (8-9)

Saturday, April 20th, at 9:00 p.m. EST

The Toronto Rock have already locked up the #1 seed and they will have home-floor advantage throughout the 2024 playoffs; however, this game still has plenty of significance for them. If they can beat the Saskatchewan Rush on Saturday, they will notch their 15th win of the season, giving them the second-most wins by a team in a single season. The Rush need this win way more than the Rock do. The Rush have to win to stay in contention for a final playoff spot. Not only that, they would need lots of help from other teams around the league just to have a chance to be in the playoffs. According to Graeme Perrow’s numbers, the Rush have a 31.25% chance of making the playoffs, so they are still very much in the hunt and will do everything in their power to make their first playoff appearance since 2019.

 

Buffalo Bandits (10-7) at Las Vegas Desert Dogs (5-12)

Saturday, April 20th at 10:00 p.m. EST

The Bandits aren’t done making noise just yet. After sitting with a 5-6 record on March 1st, the Bandits have come to life and are now fighting for the chance to host a home playoff game in the first round. A win for the Bandits, plus either a win for the Knighthawks or Riptide, would give them that home playoff game in Banditland. You also have both Josh Byrne and Dhane Smith chasing NLL single-season records in this game, as well as having Smith looking to become just the second player in Bandits history to reach 700 career regular season assists. The Desert Dogs could clinch the #1 pick in this year’s NLL draft if they lose and the Mammoth win, but in no way will they be trying to collect the L. It is Tucker Out Lymphoma Night in Las Vegas this weekend, and this game means way more than wins and losses. To support this important cause, fans can participate in the jersey auctions here.

 

Philadelphia Wings (6-11) at Rochester Knighthawks (6-10)

Sunday, April 21st at 3:00 p.m. EST

This game could decide the Knighthawks’ playoff fate (depending on what happens on Friday and Saturday). We don’t know if the Knighthawks will have been eliminated from playoff contention by the time this game starts, but if they are still in contention, it will be a win and they’re in situation. You can’t have a more dramatic game than this: a team needing to win the last game of the regular season to clinch the final available playoff spot. For the Wings, this game is about pride and the team’s love for their head coach, Paul Day. These are two teams that know they are better than their records suggest and you can be sure that they’ll be looking to prove that in the final game of the 2023-24 regular season.

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