Saturday, April 14

[NLL MASH-UP] WEEK 17

NLL MASH-UP

Well we have been on a couple week hiatus, but the MASH-UP is back!  Nothing has really changed in that time as the entire East Division is within one game of each other.  

ROCHESTER, BUFFALO & GEORGIA are 8-7, while TORONTO & NEW ENGLAND are 7-8.  Remember, only top 3 advance to playoffs.  Three games left!

Out West its 1. SASK, 2. COLORADO, 3. CALGARY, 4. VANCOUVER.  That has been the line-up all season, we don’t see that changing.

MVP RACE

We have to start thinking about post season honors as the season winds down.  Here is how we see the things going in the MVP race, there is still time to change things, but here is how we see it today as we give you our top five at this point.

MARK MATTHEWS, SASK:  The front runner is leading the NLL in points with (26g, 68a) 94 pts.  I really like his passing game whether he is running the leagues best power play (71.4%) or throwing east/west lasers to the RUSH right handers.  Can’t help but think that he is instrumental in the high goal totals and shooting percentages of ROBERT CHURCH (41g, 22.9 shooting %) and BEN MCINTOSH (37g, 21 shooting %).  He was our preseason pick and has done nothing to lose his status as front runner.  

LYLE THOMPSON, GEORGIA:  The reigning MVP got off to a slow start points-wise, but if you watch the games you know he has been the driving force behind the SWARM all season.  Currently sits at 11th in scoring with (35g, 35a).  The goals are 4th in the league.  His GB game is strong as well with 108, that is the best among forwards.  He has all the shots. Twisters.  Dives, Outside Shots.  He does it all.  If he can lead the SWARM back into the playoffs he may come out on top.

KEVIN CROWLEY, NEW ENGLAND:  He is leading the NLL with 44g thus far.  He has hat tricks in 11 games.  There is been a lot of change in the BLACKWOLF offense all season long.  CROWLEY has been the constant scoring, all of the big goals.  If he leads this team to the post season he will have a great argument for MVP.  He is the NLL's version of Taylor Hall of the NEW JERSEY DEVILS.  He may be the best player in the league getting off his own shot. 

 CODY JAMIESON, ROCHESTER: Last season the KNIGHTHAWKS had the worst offense in the league when JAMIESON missed the entire season.  This season ROCHESTER is 2nd in the league in both Power play at 62% and Goals for 201.  They trail only SASK in those two categories 71% PP & 213 GF.

He leads their Power Play up top and is a clutch scorer.  Also gave consideration to teammate JOE RESATARITS, but JAMIESON is the leader of the team and has the track record.  This would be his second MVP.

DHANE SMITH, BUFFALO:  He is also gunning for his second MVP award.  Trails only MATTHEWS in points as he has racked up 91 points (33g, 58a).  If BUFFALO earns a playoff berth more than likely he will be a major factor.  IMO, one thing going against him is that the BANDITS have a great supporting cast around him.

THE PICKS:

Last week we went with all of the home teams and went 3-0.  That puts us at 40-28, 59% for the season.

(8-7) ROCHESTER at (7-8) TORONTO

This is a must win for the ROCK, the big question going in has to be TOM SCHREIBER and whether he is going to play.  He was expected to suit up this past weekend, but didn’t.  I wouldn’t think he would return unless he's at 100%, especially with the World Games upcoming this summer.  That said if he does play I will go with the ROCK, if not I got the KNIGHTHAWKS.  I see the ROCK transition players making a big difference as well.

(12-3) SASK at (2-13) VANCOUVER

I think I got SASK.

(7-8) NEW ENGLAND at (10-6) COLORADO

Conventional wisdom says it’s the MAMMMOTH, but the BLACKWOLVES have their back against the wall.  Can KEVIN CROWLEY get enough support from CALLUM CRAWFORD and someone else on their left side?  Last week it was JOHNNY POWLESS who stepped up scoring a couple including the winner in OTCOLTON WATKINSON and MARK COCKERTON impressed last week in transition as well.  They will need a little offense from the back to put them over the top. 

COLORADO doesn’t have much to play for as they are locked into 2nd place in the West.  I’m going with the BLACKWOLVES here despite the MAMMOTH blowing out the WOLVES a couple of weeks back.


(8-7) BUFFALO at (6-9) CALGARY

The BANDITS are coming off of a bye week and the ROUGHNECKS lost to NEW ENGLAND in OT.  Sounds like a broken record, but BUFFALO has a lot more at stake as CALGARY is locked into the west playoffs.  DHANE SMITH has put up at least 5 points in his last five games.  I do have questions about the goaltending for BUFFALO and who will start, BUQUE or HIGGINS?  Either way I like the home NECKS as their offense behind DICKSON should be able to outscore the BANDITS.

(8-7) GEORGIA at (12-3) SASK

The RUSH will be coming off a game with VANCOUVER night previous.  I think they will be looking for revenge over last seasons title match up when the SWARM won the CHAMPIONS CUP on their home floor.  As we mentioned earlier, LYLE THOMPSON is heating up at the right time.  I don’t think it will be enough.  I’ll pick SASK.

Thanks for the time!  Follow on TWITTER @bernasconirich



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Wednesday, April 4

[Lax Linkage] BROWN / PRINCETON Highlights, "Where Are The Rest Of The Black People?", Fish Head Lacrosse Balls & more!

"BROWN Battles PRINCETON for the Ivy League // 2018 Lacrosse Highlights
- BROWN plays a hard fought battle against PRINCETON in efforts to make the Ivy League tournament. Video by: Owen Moy // owenmoy@gmail.com // @owen.moy" [youtube: Owen Moy]
  • ARTICLE: "Where are the Rest of the Black People?' KYLE HARRISON, Agent of Change" [uslaxmagazine.com]
  • VIDEO: "Varsity Media Lacrosse Minute (Week 1 Game Highlights)" [vimeo: Varsity Media] ... NY State / L.I. HS recaps.
  • VIDEO: "2018 // TAFT Boys Lacrosse Pre-Season" [youtube]
  • VIDEO: "Dirt History Part V - Fish Head Lacrosse Balls" [vimeo: Honest Engine Films]
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Wednesday, March 28

[LINKS] Hump Day - Hand picked lax links ...

  "Sliding to Areas of the Field, Not Man (2018 LaxCon)" [youtube: Hogan's Lacrosse]
  • ARTICLE: "From lacrosse to limbo: His relationship with UVA fractured, DOM STARSIA struggles to live in a town he'll never leave" [dailyprogress.com]
  • ARTICLE: "BRENDAN BOMBERRY (MOHAWK) Was Named Offensive Player Of The Week" [ndnsports.com]
  • ARTICLE: "YORKTOWN finds a comfort zone and dispatches St. ANTHONY's" [lohud.com]
  • VIDEO: "A Lacrosse PSA From Mr. Pink" [vimeo: Lummys.com]
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Tuesday, March 27

[LAX LINKAGE] PRINCETON / YALE Highlights | YALE 1990! | WESLEYAN / ROANOKE Highlights & More!

"PRINCETON vs YALE Lacrosse 2018 Highlights - NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse 2018 Regular Season March 24, 2018 New Haven, CT (Reese Stadium)" 
[youtube: Lacrosse Nation]
  • VIDEO: "1990 YALE Men’s Lacrosse - NCAA Single Season Record - 300 Goals" [vimeo: Jason O'Neill] ... FUNKY!
  • VIDEO: "WESLEYAN vs ROANOKE | 2018 College Highlights -  In a meeting between two top ten division three programs, the Roanoke Maroons men's lacrosse team hosted the Wesleyan Cardinals in Salem, VA. In game that was tightly contested in the first half, the Wesleyan offense took over the game, scoring five unanswered goals in the third quarter, en route to a 18-5 win over the Maroons." [youtube: laxdotcom]
  • VIDEO: "3D Methodology - Groundballs.  Logan Bobzien, 3d Lacrosse's Director of Training and Methodology, discusses groundballs in the next instructional video produced by STX Lacrosse, 3d Lacrosse's official gear partner." [youtube: 3D Lacrosse]
  • VIDEO: Episode 1 of Defending the Title - The MIDDLETOWN ISLANDERS (R.I.) haven't stopped working since winning the state championship in 2017. [youtube: Owen Moy]
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Thursday, March 22

[NLL MASHUP] Week 15


NLL MASHUP Week 15

As the NLL heads down the final third of the season there are a couple  of main themes.  First, the West playoff seeding for all intents and purposes are done.  SASK is going to be the number one see and COLORADO is going to host CALGARY for the right to play the RUSH.  

As far as the East goes, who knows.  Just when you think you have it figured out things get turned upside down again.  

Going into this weekend NEW ENGLAND is in 1st at 6-5.  Followed by TORONTO at 6-6, ROCHESTER, BUFFALO and GEORGIA all stand at 6-7.  The top three qualify for the playoffs.

TORONTO EXACTS REVENGE IN NEW ENGLAND 14-9

In the back half of a home and home the ROCK took the victory over the BLACKWOLVES at MOHEGAN SUN.  Week prior the BLACKWOLVES came out on top 8-7 in OT.

The game had playoff intensity as both goalies once again were on point.  STONE COLD AARON BOLD had 44 saves for NEW ENGLAND, while NICK ROSE had 38 for TORONTO.  When the game ended the ROCK were clearly relieved and ecstatic to keep pace with the rest of the division.



 

This was a huge confidence boost for the ROCK, as it was the first victory since TOM SCHREIBER was injured in ROCHESTER on FEBRUARY 10. 

The game was much closer than the 14-9 final.  The score stood 10-9 with ten minutes left before the ROCK scored the final four goals including a penalty shot and an empty netter.

The difference in the game was the play of ADAM JONES (2g, 5a) & KIERAN McARDLE (3g,2a).  Over the two previous games JONES was held goal less and only had 2 assists.  He was able to work the pick and roll with MCARDLE as they had great chemistry all night long.  As far as McARDLE goes his physical game was very surprising as he showed some serious grit as well as the ability to get in great shooting positions.



For the BLACKWOLVES once again KEVIN CROWLEY was the catalyst, he had 3 goals.  If there is a better offensive player in terms of getting his own shot off I haven’t seen him.  He also hit the 500 point mark for his career as well.

STEPHAN LeBLANC
continued his consistent play with (2g, 4a), JOHNNY POWLESS was also solid on the left side with (2g, 1a).  New addition CALLUM CRAWFORD shot 1 for 13 adding 3 assists.  After that like many games this season secondary scoring was hard to come by for the BLACKWOLVES.


In the end the ROCK played with a little more of a sense of urgency as they held a 80-69 loose ball advantage.

SCHREIBER GETTING CLOSE

SCHREIBER was warming up before the game and looked like he is getting closer.  YumYumLax spoke to him as well. I would look for him to return in a couple of weeks.



The ROCK are going to be dangerous when he returns!
 

LOST WEEKEND FOR BUFFALO


A couple of weeks ago the BANDITS looked like the best team in the league.  Coming off a loss at home to VANCOUVER they ran off four wins in a row, including handing SASK their only home loss.  Since then they have dropped four in a row as their record falls to 6-7.

They lost to SASK to start the weekend.  The RUSH were certainly ready to avenge their home defeat at the hands of the BANDITS, they never trailed in the game in cruised to a 16-10 win.
THE BANDITS also seemed to be to caught up rough play in the GEORGIA game as they were punished with four power play goals against, all in the first half as the trailed 9-5.  

The BANDITS did come back and make things interesting in the 3rd cutting the SWARM lead to 9-8.  But, LYLE THOMPSON stripped STEVE PRIOLO took it the distance at put in an insane twister shot on the run.  GEORGIA went on to score 3 of the next 4 goals and took home the huge 14-10 win.

This weekend their offense seemed to be off as their lefties struggled.  JOSH BYRNE (1G, 3A), JORDAN DURSTON (1g, 3a) and MITCH JONES (2g, 4a) all had off weekends.

ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION?

The SWARM played without RANDY STAATS for the second straight game, but has the SWARM offense played better without him?

Coach ED COMEAU has inserted an extra lefty in HAINA THOMPSON, that has given more floor time to LYLE THOMPSON and his game has taken off the last two weeks.  His 5 goals this weekend were a season high, and he is starting to show his MVP form from last season.

Coach COMEAU is going to have a tough choice when STAATS is ready to come back in!
 

The Picks

We got back to our winning ways last week going 3-2, for the season we stand at 33-23, 59%
 
This weekend starts off again at MOHEGAN SUN, as the BANDITS and SHAWN EVANS come to town.  I expect a lot of emotion in this game, maybe some rough stuff.  I will pick the home BLACKWOLVES though.

The BLACKWOLVES have the back to back this week as they travel to GEORGIA Saturday.  I will go with the SWARM at home.  The SWARM seem to be catching fire as they look to defend the title.

TORONTO heads to CALGARY 

After seeing the ROCK up close this past week I loved their spirit.  I will say ROCK.

SASK at home over ROCHESTER 

How can you pick against the RUSH at home?
 

COLORADO at home versus VANCOUVER  

Are the STEALTH going to win again this year?

Thanks for the time. Agree? Disagree? Let me know on TWITTER, @bernasconirich

Also be sure to follow @YumYumLax on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. to get the scoop.




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Thursday, March 15

[NLL MASH-UP] WEEK 14!


WEEK 14, NLL MASH UP


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


LYLE THOMPSON  

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.
 

CODY JAMIESON  

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.

GRAEME HOSSACK 

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.

KEVIN CROWLEY 

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


GOALIES  

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.


THE TRADE

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
CRAWFORD:
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


CONNOR FIELDS, ALBANY


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.  


BEN REAVES, YALE


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?


TREVOR BAPTISTE, DENVER


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.

CONNOR KELLY, MARYLAND


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.

WHO DO I PICK?

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!

@bernasconirich
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