What We’re Watching: NLL Week 7

It’s another packed weekend of NLL lacrosse with 5 games spread across Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

It’s still very early in the season as teams have only played a handful of games each so a lot could change from now to the end of the regular season in April. For now, teams like Halifax, Colorado, and New England are the front runners for playoff spots and everyone is itching to take them down.

Here are the NLL games we are excited to watch this weekend.

Friday 1/10

Philadelphia Wings (2-1) vs Vancouver Warriors (1-3)
Watch on B/R Live at 7 pm ET

The Philadelphia Wings are on a roll as they have won two straight games, while the Vancouver Warriors are hoping to get back on track after dropping their last two.

Philly’s Americans Matt Rambo and Trevor Baptiste are starting to get good at box lacrosse and the rest of the league should be on notice. Rambo had 1 goal and 5 assists and Baptiste had 2 goals as well as going 17 for 29 on faceoffs. Zach Higgins is also finding his stride in net and Kiel Matisz logged an insane 35 minutes in their game against New York to help steady the offense and defense.

The Warriors have been getting out to hot starts, but have struggled to finish games in the 4th quarter. Mitch Jones, Logan Schuss, and Keegan Bal continue to be spark plugs on the offense. The defense has been solid, but needs to find a way to close the gaps late in games. They will also need to take care of the ball going against a good faceoff guy like Baptiste.

Saturday 1/11

Halifax Thunderbirds (3-0) vs Colorado Mammoth (3-1)
Watch on B/R Live at 6 pm ET

This is a must watch game as the top team in the North Division meets the top team in the West Division in what will be an early measuring stick for who the real contenders are for the playoffs.

The T-Birds have been dominant in their first three games with great performances from their offensive stars as well as a rock solid back end with Warren Hill in between the pipes. They dominated Buffalo in their last game and with home crowd behind them they will be hard to beat.

Colorado has found their stride as they are pushing the ball and really clicking on offense with contributions from their righties and lefties. Ryan Lee leads the way with 17 points. Joey Cupido was unstoppable in transition against Vancouver scoring 3 goals on 3 shots to push the Mammoth over the edge for the win.

Game of the Week: Toronto Rock (2-1) vs Rochester Knighthawks (0-3)
Watch on B/R Live, Facebook, and Twitter at 7 pm ET

In the NLL’s Game of the Week, Toronto and Rochester meet for the second time in a row as the Rock took down the Knighthawks 14-11 on 12/28. This time could be much different now that both teams have had time to watch film and come up with different game plans.

The Rock blew by the K-Hawks in the 3rd Quarter of their last game and went on a 6 goal run that would seal the game. Rob Hellyer and Dan Craig each had 4 goals while veteran Dan Dawson had 1 goal and 6 assists. Goalie Nick Rose gave the Rochester shooters all kinds of trouble.

The K-Hawks are getting better with every game and were right in the game until the 3rd quarter collapse. Shawn Evans and cousin Turner Evans are building some great chemistry along with the rest of the offense. If the K-Hawks can go on a 3rd quarter run of their own and really push the ball they could get their first win in the new franchise’s history this Saturday.

Buffalo Bandits (1-1) vs Georgia Swarm (2-1)
Watch on B/R Live at 7 pm ET

Both the Bandits and Swarm are reeling from losses in their last games and each will be eager to get back on track with a big win. These high powered offense will surely put on a show.

The Bandits have only played 2 games so far, but have shown flashes of greatness in both. They really struggled at the faceoff dot against Halifax and will need to get more possessions to let their offensive stars go to work. Captain Steve Priolo returning to the lineup could also give them a much needed boost.

A 4th quarter run by Colorado took the Swarm by surprise in their last game as they fell to the Mammoth. The Swarm are well balanced on offense and defense, but will need to find a way to respond when a team starts a run like that. Lyle Thompson has been his usual self with 19 points in 3 games while Randy Staats has chipped in 14 assists. Mike Poulin leads the league in goals against and will need to have a big game against the skilled Buffalo shooters.

Sunday 1/12

Saskatchewan Rush (2-1) vs San Diego Seals (1-3)
Watch on B/R Live at 4 pm ET

These West Division rivals will meet in sunny San Diego in the first of their two matchups this season. It’s also the first time my former teammates at Canisius Connor Kearnan (San Diego) and Holden Garlent (Saskatchewan) will play against each other in an NLL game. I can’t wait to watch them duke it out.

The Rush are back to their winning ways after an impressive win against the New York Riptide that saw goalie Evan Kirk and the defense only allow 4 goals all game. The defense has been steady with their veterans like Kyle Rubisch and Chris Corbeil as well as rookie Holden Garlent. Mark Matthews, Robert Church, and company have been dismantling defenses.

The Seals are still riding the high of winning in overtime as Captain Brodie Merrill sniffed out a loose ball and buried the game winning goal in transition. Despite their record, this Seals team will surely start to pick things up as the offense continues to adjust to the style of play of newcomers Wes Berg, Jeremy Noble, and Zack Greer.

If this game goes to overtime who will be the hero? Could it be Brodie Merrill again?

It is going to be a wild weekend filled with highlight reel goals, big hits, and up and down NLL lacrosse.

Tune in at https://live.bleacherreport.com/

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