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What to Expect: Week 19

All games can be seen on ESPN+ and TSN+

Sat. April 8

FireWolves (2-12) at Knighthawks (9-6) – 7pm ET

Coming into Week 19, there are four weeks left of the regular season and four playoff spots up for grabs, including one the Knighthawks have been eyeing for a number of weeks.

The FireWolves have been eliminated from playoff contention and have lost 10 straight but continue to compete as hard as they can each night. A couple bounces here and there and this team’s record could look a lot different. They are now trying to play spoiler for the remainder of the season. Last week they travelled to Fort Worth to take on Panther City, losing 12-8. Albany got off to a hot start but a five goal run by Panther City starting in the second quarter propelled them over the top. Marshall Powless continues to develop in this system, scoring a team high five points (2g, 3a). Justin Geddie got the start in net and saved 34 of 45 shots.

The Knighthawks come in looking to inch closer to the franchises first playoff berth after losing their last three. Last weekend they fell 14-13 in overtime to the Philadelphia Wings. They trailed 12-8 early in the fourth quarter but scored five straight to actually take the lead. Philadelphia would score the last goal of regulation to tie and then the overtime winner almost four minutes into the extra frame. Connor Fields, Holden Cattoni and Ryan Smith each had six points on the night but could not overcome the desperate Wings team.

Rochester took the first matchup between these teams on December 17 by a 14-13 final. A 9-5 second half set the Knighthawks up for the win, including Connor Fields fourth goal and eventual game winner with just over four minutes remaining in regulation. Doug Jamieson had a busy night, saving 50 of 64 shots he faced.

Rush (6-8) at Swarm (6-8) – 7pm ET

A rematch of the 2017 NLL Finals sees the Rush and Swarm competing for their playoff lives, with this weekend potentially making or breaking these teams chances.

After a multi-game skid, the Rush got a huge overtime victory last weekend at home over the Warriors, 12-11. The Rush would have an 11-6 lead early in the fourth but Vancouver chipped away at the lead, scoring five straight to force the extra frame. Robert Church would score the game winner, his game high fourth of the night. Mark Matthews and Robert Church combined for 15 points (7g, 8a) to propel their team to the victory. While not his best game, Alex Buque saved 34 of 45 shots, including 10 in the fourth quarter.

The Georgia Swarm have quietly won six of their last seven and are right behind Halifax and Philadelphia for a potential playoff spot. Last weekend they won both of their games by a combined 29-14 over New York and Halifax. In game one against New York, Bryan Cole scored five goals on the way to the win. In game two at Halifax, the Swarm had runs of both seven and eight goals scored in their huge win. Andrew Kew had 10 points in the game (5g, 5a). Rookie Brett Dobson got the wins in both games, allowing just 12 goals in 114 minutes played to earn Rookie of the Week honors. There is no better time than now to be playing your best lacrosse and the Swarm are doing just that.

You have to look back to 2019 for when these two last played each other. Georgia took the 13-10 win at home. Should Georgia win, they will enter a three-way tie with Philadelphia and Halifax for fourth place in the East, adding to the drama for the final playoff spots. The Rush need a win to at least catch Colorado for the fourth spot in the West, who sit just a game ahead of them with the tiebreaker game set for April 22 between the Rush and Mammoth.

Panther City (9-6) at Roughnecks (10-5) – 9pm ET – Game of the Week on TSN

The Game of the Week on TSN takes us to Calgary, where last time at the Saddledome, a season high 17,444 fans were in attendance to watch the Roughnecks win.

Panther City took another step to potentially clinching their first ever playoff berth last weekend with a 12-8 win over Albany. A four-goal run in the second helped them to take the lead for the remainder of the game. No one player stood out for Panther City which has been their calling card all season, a total team effort. 16 different players recorded a point, with Will Malcom and Callum Crawford each with a team high of four. Nick Damude continues his consistent play, saving 32 of 40 shots and could be gaining traction for Goaltender of the Year consideration.

Calgary had a chance to overtake San Diego last weekend for first place in the West but fell 14-8 in a game where it felt like they were playing catchup all night. Now, they need a win to try to at least clinch a home playoff game considering Panther City is right on their heels. Calgary would not go on a run of more than two goals all night and struggled to put together more scoring opportunities, only having 40 shots on goal all night despite having nine powerplay opportunities (converting on three but allowing five shorthanded goals). Eli Salama from the backend did his best with an assist, three blocked shots, four loose balls, and two caused turnovers.

These two have yet to play each other this season but will see each other twice in their final three games. Last season, the Roughnecks took two of three including their last matchup on April 9, 2022 by a 14-4 final. It was sheer domination from the Roughnecks who would lead 10-2 at the half. Jesse King had six points (2g, 4a) while Christian Del Bianco had almost a flawless night, saving 29 of 31 shots in 51:35 played.

Warriors (4-11) at Mammoth (7-7) – 9pm ET

Another game sees an eliminated team trying to play spoiler over a team in the playoff hunt.

Vancouver has been officially eliminated from the playoffs but has shown stronger play over the last half of the season. Last week showed the heart of this Warriors team. Trailing 11-6 early in the fourth, they strung together five straight to get the game into overtime. They were just unable to find the winner before Saskatchewan. Kyle Killen led that comeback, scoring two of his goals and two of his assists in that final stretch to finish the game with six points (3g, 3a). Reid Bowering is almost into the top 10 all-time for loose balls in a season at 210 with three games remaining, made even more impressive when you consider he has taken just one faceoff attempt all season.

Colorado on the other hand got arguably their biggest win of the season last week against the Desert Dogs who were right on their tail in the standings. The Mammoth fell behind early but used a six-goal run, holding Las Vegas scoreless for over 30 minutes in that stretch, to take the lead. A couple of late penalties by the Desert Dogs helped the Mammoth get and hold the lead for the final few minutes. Eli McLaughlin was the fire for the Mammoth with eight points (3g, 5a). Dillon Ward looked stronger as the night progressed, finishing with 39 saves on 48 shots despite allowing six in the first frame.

Vancouver took the first matchup back on March 25 by a 14-12 final. It is always an interesting game between these two, filled with epic comebacks and emotion. Colorado almost pulled off the comeback, trailing 13-7 in the fourth and scoring five straight to get within one before Chase Scanlan put the game away. Zed Williams and Connor Robinson had identical stat lines with seven points (4g, 3a) each. Aaron Bold saved 41 of 53 shots while Keegan Bal and Riley Loewen each had six assists.

Seals (11-3) at Desert Dogs (5-9) – 10:30pm ET

Saturday night concludes with the West leading Seals travelling to Las Vegas to take on the Desert Dogs.

San Diego got a dominant win to retain their position atop the West over Calgary last week, 14-8. From the start, the Seals felt like they had control in this game. Curtis Dickson and Dane Dobbie each had hattricks and Frank Scigliano looked tough to beat in net, saving 32 of 40 shots. Scigliano along with the defense had a dominant penalty kill, only letting the Roughnecks score on three of nine opportunities while scoring a season high five shorthanded goals of their own.

Las Vegas suffered a huge blow to their playoff chances last week against the Mammoth. After a hot start where they would lead 7-3 early in the second, the Desert Dogs would go scoreless for over 30 minutes before getting two goals to tie the game early in the fourth. A couple of late penalties hurt their chances to take the lead or tie once the Mammoth scored to break the tie. Jack Hannah added two more goals to his rookie leading total while Landon Kells continues to impress, saving 36 of 47 shots in the loss.

The last time we saw these two teams play each other was on March 4 for the Stadium Showdown at Snapdragon Stadium. It was a game that had almost everything, each team going on scoring runs, goalies making crucial saves, and big-time players stepping up in big time situations saw the Seals win 15-12. San Diego would go 5-7 on the powerplay and outshoot Las Vegas 53 to 43. Charlie Bertrand had a team high three goals for Las Vegas while Curtis Dickson recorded nine points (3g, 6a) for the Seals.

Playoff Scenarios

The Calgary Roughnecks can clinch a quarterfinal home playoff game with a win vs Panther City AND one of the following:

  • A Colorado loss vs Vancouver OR a San Diego win at Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Desert Dogs can be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss vs San Diego AND a Colorado win vs Vancouver AND a Saskatchewan win at Georgia.

The San Diego Seals

  • Can clinch the West Conference #1 seed with a win at Las Vegas AND a Calgary loss vs Panther City
  • Clinches a quarterfinal home playoff game with a win at Las Vegas OR a Colorado loss vs Vancouver.

The Toronto Rock can clinch a quarterfinal home playoff game with a Rochester loss vs Albany.

NLL