Thursday, March 15



Without question this was the most exciting weekend in the NLL this season.  All three games were decided by a total of three goals, two were in OT.

Saturday saw ROCHESTER outlast the GEORGIA 11-10 in OT

COLORADO opened up a 4 game lead over CALGARY in the west by winning a tight one, 8-7

Sunday saw another OT game as NEW ENGLAND beat TORONTO, 8-7

IMO all three games had playoff intensity.  It looks to be a wild final third of the season, especially in the East where the entire division is within two games of each other.

Five who impressed


By the end of the game LYLE was left bloodied by BILLY DEE SMITH, which resulted in a 5 minute major power play.  However, LYLE came out of the locker room and finished the game strong.  I love watching his relentless style of play.  His stats are not as prolific as last season, but he is still a massive factor for the SWARM.  He has recorded 4 points in each of the last six games. In fact he has scored at least 4 points in all but one game this season.  His shooting% has dropped to 14% from his 19% last versus year. Don’t count out the SWARM in the East race.


We talked early in the year how we felt that JAMIESON would get better as the season went along.  That is the case as he has been the driving force in ROCHESTER’S 4 game winning streak.  Over that time has 11g, 16a.  Others like RESATARITS and SHANKS have also been playing well, but JAMIESON is the leader out the front door for ROCHESTER.


The rugged lefty has taken the lead in my opinion for Defensive Player of the Year.  He has the stats out of the back end with 5g, 5a and 99lbs.  But, when you watch the games he is all over the floor causing problems for the opposition.  The KNIGHTHAWKS have the most physical defense in the league.  HOSSACK has that physicality combined with a lethal transition game.


The BIG CAT scored yet another clutch goal for the BLACKWOLVES in OT this past weekend.  For the season he is only 29th in points, but sits tied for 3rd in goals on 27g, 14a.  I have seen him plenty this season up close at MOHEGAN SUN, and he has been scoring the big goals all season long.  If The BLACKWOLVES can hang on for first place he will be in the running for MVP


I’ve been watching NLL games for a number of years, and have yet to see so many great goalie performances in one week. NICK ROSE and STONE COLD AARON BOLD were brick walls for their teams in TORONTO.  It was a shame one of them had to come out a loser as they matched each other with 51 saves each.

Same can be said of MATT VINC (38 saves) and MIKE POULIN (46 saves) in the ROCH/GEORGIA game.


After digesting the EVANS / CRAWFORD trade a few things to think about.

Despite denials there was obviously a rift between EVANS and The BLACKWOLVES coaching staff and (or) front office and(or) other teammates. You don’t strip your franchise player of the (C) without a major issue. Just think if a ZDENO CHARA or a SIDNEY CROSBY ever had that happen, it would be major news.

The lack of coverage and interest shows us how far the lacrosse media in general needs to go to be relevant.

Let’s look at the trade on face value as a pure lacrosse trade. I think the BLACKWOLVES did a pretty good job and got a solid return for their former future HALL OF FAME captain.

The trade is more of a head-scratcher from a BUFFALO point of view. When I saw the BANDITS in person, the thing that stood out was their size and athleticism on offense. 

Taking away CRAWFORD from that equation and replacing him with EVANS takes that dimension away to a certain point.

EVANS has to be considered the best player in the trade, But, for BUFFALO to take him on is a little risky. How will he fit in with an offense that had been hitting on all cylinders in recent weeks? How will he work with DHANE SMITH on their right side? 

The BLACKWOLVES on the other hand seemingly has much to lose as well. EVANS and KEVIN CROWLEY have carried the offense pretty much all season. EVANS is a supreme competitor and led them into the playoffs last year. If they don’t make the playoffs, management will have some egg on their face dumping the franchise player. Also, CRAWFORD is a free agent at seasons end, where EVANS is signed for a couple more seasons.

Both players are in their early 30’s.

Also, NEW ENGLAND gets a much needed draft pick in the deal. Time will tell to see what that part of the deal turns into.

From a statistical point of view it’s a wash in 2018.

EVANS: 18g, 35a, 10% shooting

CRAWFORD: 19g, 24a, 18% shooting 

Career Stats:

EVANS: 205 GP, 386g, 677a, 1,063pts
181 GP, 295g, 537a, 831pts

In the early returns CRAWFORD had 1g, 2a in his debut versus the ROCK, while EVANS had 1a in his BUFFALO debut.

Also, EVANS has 5 MANN CUPS and a CHAMPIONS CUP, where CRAWFORD doesn’t have any. 
I don’t think I would have may the trade if I was running either team. At the end of the season I bet one team will be very happy and one will be bumming! I do think it took a lot of guts for the NEW ENGLAND front office to make this move.

The Picks

For the first time all season we were shut out 0-3!  All three, one goal games, could have went the other way….but didn’t.

We are still a 30-21 for a solid 59%.

These picks just keep getting tougher and tougher as things tighten up, especially in the East.

Friday I will go with SASK over BUFFALO, how can you pick against the boys in green?  The will be looking for revenge as the BANDITS upset them last time out.

Also Friday, I will take the BLACKWOLVES over TORONTO.  The ROCK has only scored 27 goals and have gone 0-3 since TOM SCHREIBER went down.  Which BLACKWOLF team will show up?  If they play with the defensive intensity and get the goaltending they will hold serve at home.  KEVIN CROWLEY and CO will score just enough to keep them in 1st.

On Saturday, I will choose CALGARY over ROCHESTER.  Reason being the HAWKS are just due for a loss.

I will also pick COLORADO over VANCOUVER, can’t pick the one win team at home.  Although they will win one of these weeks…I think!

The lone Sunday game I will go with BUFFALO over GEORGIA.  I can’t see the BANDITS going 0-2 for the weekend.  If they beat SASK I would change my pick to the SWARM.

Thanks for the time!
Follow me on TWITTER:  @bernasconirich

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Tuesday, March 6

[MLL REPORT] Cannons with big Opportunity in #1 Pick

Cannons with big Opportunity in #1 Pick

Like MAJOR LEAGUE LACROSSE in general, 2017 wasn’t a great year for the BOSTON CANNONS. Headlined by a last place finish, the WILL MANNY trade and the departure of GM KEVIN BARNEY, by no metric could last season be considered a success. 

The CANNONS certainly haven’t stood still in the off season. The aforementioned parting of ways with BARNEY, the hiring of HOFer DOM STARSIA and BEN RUBEOR to the coaching staff have made headlines. Although, certainly outside the box, how the dynamics will work with HC SEAN QUIRK?

This week they acquired A/M RYAN WALSH and Defenseman SCOTT FIRMAN from the NY Lizards in exchange for Defenseman MATT LANDIS .  The CANNONS also received the LIZARDS 1st round pick in this months Supplemental draft.  LANDIS is an elite defender, while WALSH is a big left handed dodger.  Those two are the main pieces of the trade and both should have big impacts on their new teams.

The team has also announced a barnstorming tour of sorts with home games at ENDICOTT COLLEGE and HINGHAM HS. This brings the team to both the north and south shores. The team hopes this will expand their fan base, which arguably is the best in the league. 

On the field there are questions whether MAX SEIBALD and TYLER FIORITO will be returning as well. The drafting of BENNY PUGH in the Supplemental draft gives a clue maybe he is going to be the #1 going into the season.

That on top of the likes of BRODIE MERRILL, KEVIN BUCHANAN and KYLE JACKSON will have NLL commitments to start the season.

However, the biggest question and what will have the biggest impact will be is who they select with the 1st pick of the MLL draft. You look what FLORIDA did last year, their team was re made, They made the playoffs and look to be contenders moving forward with a shrewd draft day in 2017.

The first overall pick gives plenty of options and opportunities, this is a massive call, one that can propel the franchise or set it back into mediocrity for the foreseeable future.

The Candidates


The crafty left handed attackman from Albany is one of the brightest stars in college lacrosse. In fact, he may be the most dynamic attackman since LYLE THOMPSON.   After 3 seasons of NCAA lacrosse he numbers are off the charts with 278 points on 165 goals.

He would certainly make a suitable replacement for WILL MANNY on the left side of the CANNON attack. He is an outstanding ball carrier and passer to go along with his goal scoring ability.

There is a downside of picking of FIELDS. He is looking like he will be a NLL player as he has suited up for the OAKVILLE ROCK this past summer. He put up solid numbers against top competition in the MAJOR SERIES, putting up 43 points in 16 games.

If you are an MLL team picking a player first overall only to see him miss half a season is a very tough call, even though he may be the better player. The WALSH (also a lefty) acquisition may influence this call as well.  


He would certainly fill a major need for the CANNONS, a ball carrier from behind the goal. The CANNONS haven’t had this type of player since the departure of RYAN BOYLE. He at times looks like a man amongst boys in the Ivy League. He has good size and can dodge, pass or finish with either hand. In my opinion compares very favorably with ROB PANNELL, but with more size.

He seemingly won’t have any NLL commitments, as his skill set wouldn’t really doesn’t translate into the box game. 

Another interesting thing is his academic profile. If you saw his interview with PAUL CARCATERRA last season he is an aspiring medical student. What better place to continue your medical career than Boston? Also, worth noting the CANNONS have a good relationship with Boston Children’s Hospital.

If there is a downside it would be his impending medical career, what would commitment level be to MLL?


Perhaps the most dominant face off man in college lacrosse history. He has put up massive numbers his first three years at Denver with a career .704 FO%. He will be playing for Team USA this summer as well. Despite his prowess, FO is a position of strength for the CANNONS. JOE NARDELLA has proven to be a solid player, He has a career 54.7% in MLL.  It seemingly doesn’t make sense to pick BAPTISTE with the number one pick, unless there is a trade of some sort. It has to be mentioned that NARDELLA is coming off an ACL injury.


The sharpshooter is a straight up baller that can play either attack or midfield. Another thing I like about KELLY is he seems to come up huge in the clutch. Probably the best pure shooter available. In three years at College Park he has put up 82g/ 27a.

Downside? I don’t really see one in KELLY, what you see is what you get, someone who will be able to step into your lineup a produce from day one. KELLY may not be the sexy selection, but he may be the safest pick in my opinion.

Trade the pick? I suppose that is an option, but if you are not getting a top five current player that isn’t a great idea. Don’t rule this out though.


REAVES is the guy for me. There are very few attackmen that control the game behind the goal the way REAVES does. CANNONS haven’t had an attackman like him since CONNOR GILL

If not REAVES I would take KELLY, if you saw him in the Final Four last year to go along with his winning goal at the Team USA tryouts you know why. He has an it factor too, He may prove to be the best player in this class.

Thoughts, feelings, reactions? Hit me up!

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Friday, March 2

[LAX LINKAGE] ARMY/CUSE, NLL Trade, How To Pay For College & Choosing Your Best Goalie

"Highbridge: A BRONX Lacrosse Story - A short film about Bronx Lacrosse, an organization that empowers students by teaching life skills through lacrosse. For more information visit" [youtube: JumbosLaxTV]
  • VIDEO: "ARMY vs SYRACUSE Lacrosse 2018 Full Highlights." [youtube]
  • VIDEO: "BLACKWOLVES  GM Rich Lisk on EVANS / CRAWFORD Trade - The New England Black Wolves and Buffalo Bandits made some noise in the lacrosse world today when they swapped superstars. Shawn Evans and a 2019 4th round pick head to Buffalo while Callum Crawford and a 2019 2nd round pick head to New England. Official YouTube of the NLL. " [youtube] 
  • VIDEO: "Which Lacrosse Goalie Should I Use? - A common dilemma of coaches from the youth level all the way up to college and sometimes the pros, which goalie do I go with? The one who can stop the ball or the one who can clear the ball. So which lacrosse goalie should you go with?" [youtube: Coach Edwards]
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Thursday, March 1


It was a light schedule this past week with only three games - But as usual, there were plenty of surprises and great performances ...


It was alumni night in BANDITLAND, and the current BANDITS didn’t start on time and were blown-out by the KNIGHTHAWKS.  Was BUFFALO was reading too many press clippings after their resurgence to first place coming off a bye week?

The game started out very slowly before the KNIGHTHAWKS scored three times to end the period.  The lead would increase to 7-0 before BUFFALO finally broke the ice.  

The KNIGHTHAWKS held an 11 - 4 halftime lead, and the BANDITS were never in it.  They do remain in 1st place with a 6 - 4 record.  

With the win, ROCHESTER takes the season series versus BUFFALO 2 - 1.  In recent weeks we have touched on ROCHESTER’S poor record versus the East and the troubles they may have in tiebreakers.  This could prove to be a big win down the line.

JOE RESATARITS had a career night with (3g, 11a).  He's making a strong case as the top AMERICAN in the NLL.

CODY JAMIESON continued his hot streak with (2g, 7a)KYLE JACKSON also with a career night tallying (5g, 4a) on the left side.

One thing that really stands out for me is the physical play of their defense.  The likes of PAUL DAWSON, BILLY DEE SMITH and IAN LLORD may not put up many stats -- after seeing them up close and online they are one of the tougher groups to play against.


This was a hard fought game with a playoff atmosphere.  SASK never trailed in the game and tallied four power play goals.  MARK MATTHEWS led the balanced attack with (3g, 4a).

CALGARY showed they can compete with the RUSH, they just need to keep out of the penalty box.  The RUSH punished the ROUGHNECKS 5 power play goals.

ZACH CURRIER was once again all over the place for CALGARY picking up 16 loose balls.


In the late game things weren’t looking that great for the BLACKWOLVES as they trailed  
4 - 0 midway thru the second quarter.  But, they chipped away during the course of the game and avoided a 4th consecutive loss.  In fact, the only time they led was in OT!

One encouraging thing for BLACKWOLVES was that they won despite producing only one goal out of their dynamic duo KEVIN CROWLEY (1g, 2a) & SHAWN EVANS (3a).  When this is the case, it is more than likely that they'll come up on the losing end.

STEPHAN LEBLANC played his best game as a BLACKWOLF going off for (4g, 1a).  We talked about the lack of lefty punch in their lineup since the preseason.  GM RICH LISK went out and acquired LEBLANC a few weeks back which has paid dividends.  To me, he is clearly their best lefty.  

Even with the LEBLANC acquisition they have still struggled from the left side as a whole. So LISK went ahead and plucked JOHNNY POWLESS from GEORGIA last week.  He had been struggling this season only putting up (3g, 11a) in seven games with the SWARM.  In fact, he had been a healthy scratch in recent weeks.

However, in his BLACKWOLF debut he added (2g, 1a).  If he can work well with LEBLANC that may a key acquisition down the stretch.  Despite being in his 8th season POWLESS is still only 25 years of age.

Seeing him up close this season with the SWARM he looked a bit out of shape.  If he can get his fitness level up, the BLACKWOLVES may have gotten a steal.  One thing that can’t be questioned is his skill level.

The play of COLTON WATKINSON has to be mentioned as well.  Earlier in the season the BLACKWOLVES were a menace in transition.  Over the previous two games, not one goal came from their D/T crew.

That changed in VANCOUVER as WATKINSON (2g, 7lb) came up huge.  In my opinion that the best game the rookie has played.


Over the last couple of weeks ROCHESTER has gone to a youth movement which has seen DAN DAWSON as a healthy scratch.  CURTIS KNIGHT was placed on the IR in SASK.   So…. The RUSH make the call and acquire the veteran for the playoff run for a couple of draft picks.  Although past his prime, DAWSON still will have plenty to offer to the SASK right side.  Despite being scratched the last couple games DAWSON does have decent numbers in 2018 with (9g, 17a) in eight games.

An interesting tid-bit to come out of the trade is SASK will be the 7th team he has suited up for.  Of the previous six teams only ROCHESTER still exists.  He has had stints with (COLUMBUS LANDSHARKS, ARIZONA STING, PORTLAND LUMBERJAX, BOSTON BLAZERS & the  old PHILLY WINGS).  He is sitting on 1297 points in his career.  


We went 2 - 1 in our picks last week, only BUFFALO let us down.  For that season we stand at 27 - 16, 63%.

This week GEORGIA & COLORADO both have back to backs.  NEW ENGLAND & ROCHESTER have byes.  Here is how we see things unfolding this week.

GEORGIA OVER COLORADO, LYLE THOMPSON is set for a breakout game.

GEORGIA OVER TORONTO, The ROCK will struggle with out SCHRIEBER.

SASK OVER VANCOUVER, enough said ...

BUFFALO OVER COLORADO, I see BUFFALO getting back on track on the road.


Apologies to RYAN BENESCH, we gave him kudos for 200 career assists last week.  Well that was a typo, he actually has 500!

SASK has a 75% power play percentage….WOW.  ROCHESTER is next with 55%.

I'm on TWITTER as @bernasconirich

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Wednesday, February 21



It was another exciting week in the NLL that brought us some some exciting games and big performances and a big upset.


The losing continues for the STEALTH, as CALGARY went on a 13-1, 2nd quarter run to cruise in for the win.

The door was open a bit for VANCOUVER as DANE DOBBIE was serving a suspension. But, HOLDEN CATTONI was usually the first lefty out the front door and he took advantage of his opportunity with a career night (5g, 6a).

The transition play of ZACH CURRIER (1g, 1a, 7 LB) and TYSON BELL (2a, 11LB) was impressive. That’s three in a row for CALGARY, they have outscored opposition 49-29 in that span.

All you can say about VANCOUVER is that they are a disaster area at this point. 


The biggest story for the SWARM was the return of JORDAN HALL to the lineup. He made an immediate impact putting up (3g, 1a) in his season debut. His presence also seemed to help JESSE KING on the left side as he had his best game since returning from injury going off for (3g, 3a). Hall looks to be a big upgrade from JOHNNY POWLESS who has been struggling for GEORGIA all season.

LYLE THOMPSON was held goalless, but chipped in with 4a and picked up 5 loose balls. He shot 0/16 for the night. He seems to be getting his looks but the ball isn’t dropping for him at the moment. He will undoubtedly find his range, when he does look out!

(1g, 3a) scored his only goal in OT on a beautiful pick and roll with JESSE KING


No doubt the biggest upset of the week as the KNIGHTHAWKS are trying to get back into playoff contention in the East. Once again DAN DAWSON was out of the lineup as ROCHESTER has a younger look on the offensive end. AUSTIN SHANKS (2g, 2a) and JOSH CURRIER (2g,1a) continue to improve.

CODY JAMIESON (3g, 4a) is coming alive with 7g, 6a in his last two games. We have talked about him getting better as the year progresses after coming off a long layoff.

ROCHESTER still has a big hill to climb as they are 2-6 in Eastern Conference games. Those game may hurt with tiebreaker scenarios down the line.


NEW ENGLAND continues to struggle after dropping their third in a row. Luckily they got off to a great start and still hold a playoff spot...barely.

The big takeaway to in this game was the 12 penalties committed by the BLACKWOLVES. That resulted in seven power play goals for the MAMMOTH.

DOUG JAMIESON got the start in goal for the BLACKWOLVES and as you would expect from a young goalie was inconsistent. He showed some solid play, but let in some leaky goals as well in his 23 save performance. He was pulled in favor of AARON BOLD in the second half.

It was a great stat game for the MAMMOTH as RYAN BENESCH (2g, 6a), ZACK GREER (3g, 5a) and STEPHEN KEOGH (4g, 3a) all had big afternoons. 

NEW ENGLAND will take to the road next week to take on the STEALTH in BRITISH COLUMBIA. I will have major concerns if they can’t come up with a win versus the NLLs worst team. The BLACKWOLF goal difference is a worry as well as it stands at -29, only the Stealth is worse with -52.

Mid season awards

Pretty much all teams are at the halfway point, so let’s look at some mid season awards and All Pro selections.

All Pros Midseason

1st Team
RF - DHANE SMITH, BUFFALO (21g, 35a) ... Great Dhane having a bouceback year in Banditland.
RF- ROBERT CHURCH, SASKATCHEWAN (23,35a) ... Underrated on the Rush right side

LF- MARK MATTHEWS, SASKATCHEWAN (20g,37a) ... Best lefty in the world, that’s all
LF - ADAM JONES, TORONTO (24g, 35a) ... Switch to Toronto has elevated his career.

FO - JEREMY THOMPSON, SASKATCHEWAN (54%, 5g, 7a, 84lb) ... Solid on draws, his all around game makes him the leagues best.

D/T - NICK WEISS, BUFFALO (8g, 6a, 64lb) ... Impressive first half.

D - ROBERT HOPE, COLORADO ( 5a, 62lb) ... Leader of the leagues best defense in goals against.

D - KYLE RUBISCH, SASKATCHEWAN (6a, 79lb) ... Solid as a rock.

G - DILLON WARD, COLORADO .778 ... Save % most consistent in league thus far.

2nd Team

RF - BEN MCINTOSH, SASKATCHEWAN (28g,20a) ... Leading League in goals

RF- SHAWN EVANS, NEW ENGLAND (18g, 30a) ... Pound for pound toughest in NLL.

LF - SHAYNE JACKSON, GEORGIA (16g, 29a) ... Unsung hero for GEORGIA 
LF - CODY JAMIESON, ROCHESTER (15g,33a) ... Finding his stride coming back off injury

FO - JAKE WITHERS, ROCHESTER (66%, 3g, 4a, 82lb) ... Leading in FO%. 

D/T - ZACH CURRIER, CALGARY (5g, 8a, 85lb) ... Has made a immediate impact in Calgary 
D- GRAEME HOSSACK, ROCHESTER (5g,4a, 70lb) ... One tough customer 

D - CHALLEN ROGERS, TORONTO (7g,7a, 36lb) ... Missed some games early, love his offense from the back

G - CHRISTIAN DELBIANCO, CALGARY ... .806 save%, leads NLL in GAA and Save%
Has elevated Roughnecks since taking over.






 - Another .500 week as we keep our heads above water. As the season progresses the games are harder to pick each week.  For the season we are a solid 25-15.

This week we like:





RYAN BENESCH dishes out career assist 200
CALGARY’S CHAD CUMMINGS tallied his first NLL goal

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Saturday, February 17


"BROWN Scrimmaged against the BOSTON CANNONS [MLL] before starting their 2018 season." [youtube: Owen Moy]
  •  VIDEO: "All Access: DUKE Lacrosse" [youtube]
  • VIDEO: "YALE lacrosse heading to Dallas thanks to JERRY JONES - It's a matchup put together by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and is taking place in the Cowboys practice facility." [youtube: Sports Team 8]
  • VIDEO: "2018 MLL All-Star Game Press Conference" [youtube]
  • VIDEO: "Twitter Game of the Week -  The NLL explores Vancouver with Peter McFetridge" [youtube: NLL|  Nationa Lacrosse League]
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Friday, February 16

[PRESS RELEASE] Johns Hopkins University partners with Cascade Lacrosse & Cascade updates customization website

JOHNS HOPKINS University has partnered with Cascade Lacrosse, and Cascade launches newly updated customization website!
LIVERPOOL, N.Y., Feb. 13, 2018 — Cascade Lacrosse, the industry leader in head protection, announced today that Johns Hopkins University will wear Cascade helmets for the upcoming 2018 season. Cascade helmet usage now approaches almost 75 percent across all NCAA Division 1 schools. 

"We are excited to renew our relationship with Cascade," stated Hopkins Head Coach Dave Pietramala. "Having worn their helmets before, we have great confidence in their product and are appreciative of Cascade's ability to think outside the box when it comes to design," continued Pietramala. 

Johns Hopkins will wear the newest elite Cascade helmet, the S. The S incorporates several new, game- changing helmet technologies, including a new tri-liner integrated with the shell, new Xflo ventilation that more than doubles the breathability of previous helmets models, and a new Vision bar facemask that ensures the ball is never out of sight. 

"The Hopkins name is synonymous with lacrosse and we're thrilled to have them back on our squad," commented Kevin Simmons, Sports Marketing Manager for Cascade Maverik Lacrosse. "Hopkins has such a rich history in the sport, like Cascade, so we're very proud to reunite our two great college lacrosse brands. 

"The S helmet is available through Cascade's 48-hour factory custom manufacturing at a starting retail price of $289. Visit for a full selection of color and component options and to make your own custom team design. 

Visit to see the complete line of Cascade helmets. 

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