Thursday, August 9

[MLL Report] Predictions

NEW YORK (8-6) at DALLAS (11-3)

At the time of our last post, I didn’t even think the LIZARDS would qualify for the postseason.  The reasoning was there would be an FIL hangover.  Instead LIZARDS on TEAM USA players seemed to have used the FIL games as a springboard, as they have won 3 straight down the stretch since.

ROB PANNELL is on a roll - Can anyone stop him and the LIZARDS?  He broke his own season scoring record this year with 78 points (43g, 35a).  At this point he seems to be playing on a different level than anyone else in the MLL

While PANNELL and RABIL were away the LIZARDS left side has really come to life.  WALTERS, MANNY and TINNEY have given them another legit option. 

During the season the LIZARDS gave up the most goals in MLL.  But over the last two weeks they have only given up 12 & 11 goals.  Their group certainly is capable and DREW ADAMS is a great keeper. JAKE BERNHARDT was a big acquisition, giving their defensive unit a needed infusion of transition play.

The RATTLERS on the other hand have been the most consistent team all season and hold home field. 

JORDAN WOLF is leading the offense.  RYAN McNAMARA is one of the most underrated players in the MLL TY THOMPSON has had his best season to date w (36g, 3a).  Will BEN REEVES be in action? He looked great during WOLF’s FIL absence. 

During the season DALLAS was second in MLL goals against.  They played great as a unit. JOHN SEXTON has come in from NOTRE DAME and given them another dimension at LSM to go along with JOEL WHITE.

MATT DUNN is up for DPOY. He will be tested by PANNELL,  having "held" him to 3g, 2a in their last meeting a couple of weeks back.

The FO game appears to be pretty even.  DREW SIMONEAU and TOMMY KELLY have faced each other twice this season, with SIMONEAU holding only a slight advantage.  Both teams are solid in cage.

When you get down to it, I have to go with NEW YORK, PANNELL and their veterans to put them over the line.  It will be a higher scoring game.

DENVER (8-6) at CHESAPEAKE (9-5)

This is a game between the highest scoring team (DENVER: 225) against the team with the fewest goals allowed (CHESAPEAKE: 174). 

But the man who will have the biggest impact may be HC DAVE COTTLE.  How will use his offensive personal?  Top to bottom they may have the best offensive group in terms of individual talent.  But there is only one ball to go around.  COLIN HEACOCK led the team in scoring this season (23(1), 14) with 38 points.  But since LYLE THOMPSON and JOSH BYRNE has been reinserted since the WORLD GAMES he only has 3 points in the last three games.  How COTTLE sets up his offense is crucial.

On defense they have held opponents to a league best 3 games in single digits.  NIKO AMATO has been solid.  Their SSDMs ISAIAH DAVIS ALLEN and NICK MANIS are very underrated and will have a lot to say.  Another concern is STEPHEN KELLY was injured last week and may miss out.  CJ COSTABILE may have to step in and FO.

DENVER are the most consistent franchise since joining the MLL. ERIC LAW (40g, 18a) finished 3rd in MLL in scoring isn’t the most impressive athlete out there, but all he does is score goals and win.  Don’t underestimate this guy.  He leads the offense and is a winner.

They rival the LIZARDS for the best left side in MLL. CHRIS CLOUTIER has taken the league by storm in his rookie season.  He put up 40 points (26g, 14a) in just six games.  However he has picked up an injury and his availability is in doubt.  He isn’t their only option MATT KAVANAGH   (34g, 19a) and ZACH CURRIER can cause problems for the BAYHAWKS defense. 

Another guy to watch out for is JOSH HAWKINS, he is having a great season appearing in all 14 games putting up 6g, 4a from his SSDM position.  He had a great game in their win last win in ATLANTA last week.

When it is all said and done I will go with the BAYHAWKS.  Their offensive talent, great defense and home field will prevail. 

So, we like the LIZARDS and BAYHAWKS to advance, what do you think?  Let us know on TWITTER.  

Thanks as always for the time, @bernasconirich

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Tuesday, July 10

[MLL REPORˇ] Coming Down the Homestretch

MLL REPORT:  Coming Down the Homestretch

Believe it or not the MLL season is winding down with most teams having only 4 or 5 games left.  The WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS  in ISRAEL are on the horizon.

We are going to take a look and project who the four postseason teams will be and how the WORLD GAMES may effect the teams.  Let’s look at how they countdown 9-1, CASEY KASEM style.

The defending Champions OHIO MACHINE have had a rough 2018 and come in at number nine with a 2-7 recordTOM SCHREIBER has missed time due to injury and NLL commitments and has only played in 3 games (4g,11a).  He will also be departing with TEAM USA.  KYLE HARRISON is injured and has appeared in 6 games (7g,1a, 1 2pt).  PETER BAUM has only played 5 games, (9g, 1a, 1 2pt).  With these guys missing so much time no wonder they are in the basement.

The playoffs seem to be out of reach at this point, that would be the 1st time they missed the playoffs since 2013.  BEAR DAVIS is one of the better Coach/GM’s in MLL, but this year things have gone sideways and they won’t have a chance to defend their 2017 title.

Coach LIAM BANKS and his ATLANTA BLAZE come in at number eight.  They have lost five in a row after winning three in a row earlier in the season.  KEVIN RICE is second in MLL with 46 points, but IMO they are way to reliant on him as a ball carrier.  JOE NARDELLA has stabilized their FO game going 53% with 3 goals and 3 assists since arriving from BOSTON.  They sit at the 6 loss mark and have no margin for error from now until the end of the season.

The number seven team is the BOSTON CANNONS.  They have scored the least amount of goals in MLL, with 11.77/game.  The roster has been a revolving door all season.  There is a definite VIRGINIA flavor since DOM STARSIA and BEN RUBEOR joined the staff.

UVA alums ZED WILLIAMS and MARK COCKERTON were brought in via trade while the likes of DAVEY EMALA (OHIO) and KYLOR BELLESTRI (DENVER) both being dealt in recent weeks.  They join fellow Cav JAMES PANNELL in the Cannon offense. PANNELL has been their most consistent offensive player with (18g, 9a) in 8 games, which puts him at number 15 in scoring.

They look like a different squad since WILLIAMS (12 goals, 4 games) and COCKERTON (13 goals, 3 games in BOSTON) have been inserted.  WILLIAMS looks to be a force with his size and versatility.  He was languishing in DALLAS and couldn’t crack their talented lineup.  In person he certainly passes the eye test.  The CANNONS caught a huge break picking him up.

Number one draft pick TREVOR BAPTISTE has been solid going so far going 52/100 with 1 goal since being drafted.

Long term its looks like they have righted the ship, but in terms of making the postseason this year I think it may be too much of a task.

Number six is a bit of a disappointment with a 4-6 record, The FLORIDA LAUNCH.  Coming off a great season in 2017 where they made the playoffs and drafted really well.

IMHO they have the best three-man attack unit in the game with MLL leading goal scorer DYLAN MOLLOY (32g, 11a), KIERAN MCARDLE (25g, 12a) and Rookie of the Year candidate JULES HENENBURG (14g, 10a) who has earned a starting position.

Defense, that’s a different story.  The LAUNCH rank 8th in goals given up at 148 goals against on the year.  Defending DPOY and Team USA member TUCKER DURKIN has had some injury issues and missed games and looked less than 100% in a couple of others. BEN WILLIAMS was added at FO and has stabilized a shaky situation going for 131/271, 48% since arriving.

With their six losses they have no margin for error, but they are very capable of winning out with their firepower.


New York comes in at number five. They have been very inconsistent, particularly on defense, they have given up the most goals in MLL at 149 to date.  ROB PANNELL is the best attackmen in the game, his 57 points (29g, 28a) are eleven more than his next closest competitor.  PAUL RABIL isn’t as dominate as he once was, but is still 11th in the league in scoring with 33 points.

Another thing to consider is they will lose PANNELL and RABIL to the World Games for at least one game.  Those two in addition to KYLE HARTZELL, JOE FLETCHER and KEVIN UNTERSTEIN from their defense, STEVE DENAPOLI was also selected but is injured...but I digress.

When they come back what kind of shape will they be in?  I see them missing out on the post season for the second year in a row!  They are another team with no margin for error.  Although I wouldn’t be shocked to see them sneak in.

Coming in at number four are the CHARLOTTE HOUNDS.  This is the first of our projected playoff teams. They came out of the gate really quickly winning four of the first five games. They have lost three of four since.  I still remain bullish on the HOUNDS though.

MATT RAMBO has had a great second MLL campaign and currently is 5th in scoring at 41pts (24g, 17a).  They will certainly miss their Team USA players too, JOHN HAUS (13g,11a) and RYAN BROWN (27g, 5a, 1, 2pt) are big contributors.  Is there a better pure shooter than BROWN currently?  I don’t think so.

MICHAEL EHRHARDT will also be a huge miss from the defense.  In fact, he may be the best LSM in MLL this year, he already has 16pts and 3, 2pt goalsKEVIN CROWLEY is a TEAM CANADA member and will be missed.  CROWLEY led the NLL in goals this past season in NEW ENGLAND and was instrumental in CANADA'S 2014 GOLD MEDAL.  He currently has (6g, 1a) in five games played.

Since coming into MLL, DENVER has been one of the most consistent teams making the playoffs most every year.  This year looks to be no different.  TONY SEAMAN is making a big run at GM of the year.  Look at some of the talent he has brought in this year.  JOSH HAWKINS was a free agent sign up, KYLOR BELLISTRI  (16g, 4a) was a trade acquisition from BOSTON.  But the best may be CHRIS CLOUTIER was drafted out of UNC with the 29th pick and has been on a tear scoring 18g and 8a in just four games thus far.

Like many of the teams the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS is going to cause problems.

They have TEAM USA members DREW SNIDER and JACK KELLY.  This is a big TEAM CANADA squad too with WES BERG, ZACH CURRIER and DILLON WARD.  So with WARD and KELLY both participating goalie may be an issue.  FO man MAX ADLER (79/138, 57%) who has been a big surprise is also a miss from TEAM ISRAEL.

That certainly is a lot of talent to lose, but they are far enough ahead and have enough talent to lose their contingent short term.  The OUTLAWS should qualify again for the post season, but they certainly have work to do.

DALLAS currently sits atop MLL with an 8-2 record, but are number two on my list.  Although they are new to DALLAS, the RATTLERS have been a serious title contender the last few seasons.  They look like they have what it takes to win the elusive title.

JORDAN WOLF (27g, 19a) trails only ROB PANNELL in scoring.  However he along with NED CROTTY (9g, 8a) will be absent from their offense.  JOEL WHITE and JOHN GALLOWAY are their leaders on defense and will also be missing.  But, this is a squad that is loaded and have added BEN REEVES from YALE and JOHN SEXTON from NOTRE DAME. They can be a suitable replacements   for WOLF at Attack and for WHITE at LSM.  If BLAZE RIORDAN had enough minutes played he would be leading MLL in both GAA and Save% at 11.30 and .612%.

I love their defensive unit with MIKE MANLEY, MATT DUNN and JORDAN STEVENS.

TY THOMPSON is having a career season putting up 28 goals.  So despite the TEAM USA players missing they will have more than enough to qualify for the postseason.

CHESAPEAKE is the team I see standing with their sixth STEINFELD TROPHY when all of the dust settles.  First off I love DAVE COTTLE as a coach, he has the experience and has put together front to back the best team IMHO.

In goal NIKO AMATO leads in GAA and Save % (11.64 and .573%).  The BAYHAWKS have held opponents under 10 goals two of their last three outings.  Defenders like GARRET EPPLE and MATT REISS have impressed.

At midfield it starts with STEPHEN KELLY who has burst onto the scene going 129/220, .586% at the FO X.

MYLES JONES didn’t make TEAM USA, that’s not a bad thing for the BAYHAWKS.  He is leading a balanced offense with 26 points (15g, 10a, 1 2Pt).  MATT DANOWSKI who has only appeared in 5 games his season and longpole JESSE BERNHARDT are the lone TEAM USA members.  JOSH BYRNE and rookie IAN MacKAY are on TEAM CANADA.

On attack STEELE STANWICK has resurfaced and has 16 points (13g, 3a) in 5 games played.  LYLE THOMPSON remains on the roster although we haven’t seen him yet.

So when the dust settles, I like likes CHESAPEAKE to win the title.  The other playoff teams will be: DENVER, DALLAS and CHARLOTTE.

Well thanks again for the time!  Follow me on TWITTER, @bernasconirich.
We love feedback!




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Thursday, June 7

[NLL MASH-UP] Our NLL Analysis Continues


NLL MASHUP

ROCHESTER, SASK to go the DISTANCE in NLL FINALS

Can we really be surprised that Rochester & Saskatchewan are going to a game 3 in the NLL Finals. They have combined for five of the last six Championships in the NLL. The RUSH have been heavy favorites all season, while the KNIGHTHAWKS have proven they can more than hold their own as they have won 3 of the 4 meetings between the two teams in 2018. All of that won’t matter in the winner take all game 3, Saturday in SASKATCHEWAN.


When I made my preseason picks I had ROCHESTER picked last in the EAST. That didn’t work out too well!
 In 2017 they finished 7-11 and were dead last in goal scoring. CODY JAMIESON missed the entire year with a knee injury. There were big questions coming in about the future HOFer and his health coming into the 2018 season.


JAMIESON was in the opening night lineup. He has responded mightily finishing 8th in NLL in scoring 26/63 89 points.  Looking back you have to give the man credit for such a great rebound.

He has led his young offensive group that is a lot different the squad that won 3 in a row between 2012-2014. The likes of AUSTIN SHANKS, KYLE JACKSON and JOSH CURRIER have stepped up in a big way. JOE RESETARITS has also contributed. None of these guys were on the roster the last time ROCHESTER took home the title.


Back then they were rolling with KEOGH, DAWSON, POWLESS and POINT (what a wicked shot he had). CORY VITARELLI is a holdover.

YYL DEFENSIVE PLAYER of the YEAR, GREAME HOSSACK and YYL GOALIE of the YEAR MATT VINC are leading the way for the KNIGHTHAWKS in the back. They can reclaim the title if they can come up with another big effort against the RUSH. They seemed to make the RUSH offense uncomfortable as they were settling for outside shots that VINC easily took care of.

HOSSACK was on fire in game two scoring 2g/1a and picking up a game high 16 GBs and as always was all over the field.


When I asked an anonymous NLL insider he was confident ROCHESTER would have a good chance if VINC could be the proverbial hot goalie, he was just that in game two making 47 saves


On the other hand SASK was my preseason pick coming into 2018. As the season has gone on, the KNIGHTHAWKS are the only team that has had success beating the RUSH.


In the NHL playoffs it is often said your star players need to play like stars in the postseason. Well in game 2 that didn’t happen for the RUSH as MARK MATTHEWS was held goalless shooting 0/11 with 4a and ROBERT CHURCH (1/8 shooting, 2a) and BEN McINTOSH (1-13 with 3a) were held in check by the physical ROCHESTER defense. If those three shoot 2/33 again things won’t turn out well.


I was a little surprised by the lack of compete level by the RUSH as well in game 2. They didn’t seem willing to take the extra step to get inside.
The RUSH have been the best team all season and I will stay with my original selection, but ROCHESTER may have something to say about that!

What the NLL needs?

As the season is coming to a close and the excitement of SAN DIEGO & PHILLY coming into the NLL here are some more things I would love to see happen in the league.

GAMING/DFS.  With the recent Supreme Court decision that opens legal gambling this could be a great way to gain more exposure.  Gambling laws are to be determined by the state. The NLL needs to get on board and be a part of all of the gaming that is coming.

At the very least DAILY FANTASY SPORTS needs to happen ASAP. Getting on the DRAFTKINGS and FANDUEL platforms would lead to more interest in the NLL without question.  Maybe I could make a little side cash too!

The league is in a unique position with one of its teams that calls a casino home.  Lacrosse at all levels need to engage the non lax person into the sport.  Gaming is one way to do so.

Long Island. Long term the N.Y. market is a must in my view.  The NASSAU COLISEUM has been renovated and lacks a full time tenant.  Wouldn’t the NLL be perfect for them?  Not to mention the great local talent base on the ISLAND.  Hopefully they will be in the next round of expansion.  With SD and PHILLY coming on board that leaves us with eleven.  Twelve would be a perfect number of teams.

American Players.  Quite simply there needs to be more Americans on NLL rosters, the new teams will give more opportunity to the AMERICAN player. But, the teams run predominately by CANANDIANS and they must also need to be willing to give AMERICAN players the chance. 

 Two guys off the top of my head I would love to see in the box are DYLAN MOLLOY and MATT RAMBO.  With there skill sets they would cause problems for NLL defenders, playing NLL would without question elevate their field games and give them more experience. 

At the end of the year when our world top 10 comes out most players will have NLL experience.  Well now we can look forward to the draft as SD has won the right to make the first pick in the entry draft.  PHILLY will have to settle for the first pick in the expansion draft.  The league is going to look a lot different next season!

Thanks for the time as always, interact with me on TWITTER, @bernasconirich.

Also keep connected with @YUMYUMLAX for the best links and the most unique coverage!
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Tuesday, May 29

[Lax Linkage] Tuesday Links - Ready. Set. Go.

"NCAA 2018 Men's Lacrosse Tournament Highlights" [youtube: Lacrosse Analytics]
  • VIDEO: "2018 NCAA college lacrosse championshipYALE takes down DUKE for program's first national title" [ncaa.com]
  • VIDEO: "CALVERT HALL Lacrosse 2018 Championship | Let's Hunt" [youtube]
  • VIDEO: "DARIEN Lacrosse | SidelineSwap Visits: Episode 2" [youtube]
  • VIDEO: "Lacrosse 101" [vimeo] ... A short video that may help explain the rules of lacrosse to your friends who don't get it. 
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Thursday, May 24

[Lax Linkage] MLL, NLL, NCAA plus how to break your oppenents ankles!

 MLL Top 10 Plays - Week 5 [youtube: MLL | Major Lacrosse League]
  • VIDEO: "NLL Finals -  The Saskatchewan Rush Fan Base" [youtube: NLL | National Lacrosse League]
  • VIDEO: "JOSH BYRNE and DHANE SMITH" [youtube: Buffalo Bandits] ... Interview.
  • VIDEO: "WESLEYAN vs RIT | 2018 NCAA D3 Semi Finals | 2018 Highlights" [youtube: LaxDotComTV]
  • VIDEO: "#1 Lacrosse Dodging Tip to Break Your Defender’s Ankles" [youtube: I Love Lacrosse TV]
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Monday, May 21

[LAX LINKAGE] Start your week off with some hand-picked lacrosse links

"Syracuse's Air Gait: The play that changed college lacrosse - In 1988, SYRACUSE University men's lacrosse star GARY GAIT scored from behind the net in an NCAA Final Four game against PENN at the Carrier Dome in a famous play now known as the "Air Gait." Syracuse.com's Brent Axe takes a look at the impact of the play 30 years later. Video features commentary with Gary Gait, Roy Simmons Jr., Kyle Fetterly, John Desko and Greg Burns." [youtube: suracuse.com]
  • VIDEO: "Freshman sensation Tehoka Naticoke first half hat-trick - Albany's freshman sensation Tehoka Nanticoke had a first-half hat-trick in the Great Danes win over Denver in the Lacrosse Quarterfinals. " [ncaa.com]
  • VIDEO: "The Hunt-  JORDAN WOLF Ep. 1 Presented by Maverik Lacrosse. In Part 1 of The Hunt with Maverik ahtlete Jordan Wolf, we see what a day in his life is like, trying to stay fit and stay sharp as he looks to win another MLL championship with the Dallas Rattlers and prepare to lead the U.S. National Team this July at the FIL World Championship in Israel. The first in a four-part video series following Wolf as he plays through his MLL season, moves his life from New York to Durham, N.C., and prepares to head overseas to Netanya, Israel for this summer's World Games" [youtube: Maverik Lacrosse]
  • VIDEO: TAFT (CT) vs AVON OLD FARMS (CT) | 2018. [youtube: laxdotcomtv]
  • ARTICLE: "Native American lacrosse teams leagueless in South Dakota" [abcnews.go.com]
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Friday, May 18

[LAX LINKAGE] TGIF LINKS!

"TREVOR BAPTISTE & GREG GURENLIAN // Under The Helmet presented by Cascade - Before Greg Gurenlian formally passes the torch to Trevor Baptiste, the grizzled veteran and the hotshot rookie will team up for Team USA. Go Under The Helmet presented by Cascade." [youtube: US Lacrosse]
  • VIDEO: "Team ENGLAND Lacrosse Trip to ISRAEL | World Lacrosse Championship 2018" [vimeo: knockoutpr]
  • VIDEO: "NASSAU COMMUNITY vs ONONDAGA COMMUNITY | 2018 NJCAA National Title" [youtube: LaxDotComTV]
  • VIDEO: "Coach MESSERE's retirementWEST GENESEE lacrosse players share stories" [youtube: syracuse.com]
  • VIDEO: "ESPN Lacrosse Analyst PAUL CARCATERRA Talks Matchup with DENVER on Big Board Sports" [youtube: 104.5 The Team]
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