Monday, December 18

[NLL REPORT] WEEK 2


WEEK 2 - There were only two games scheduled for WEEK 2 of the NLL ... 


Calgary def. Vancouver, 15 - 12 
Things kicked off in Calgary Friday night where the Roughnecks beat the Vancouver Stealth, 15-12. Both teams were coming off blow-out losses. 

Calgary showed great improvement in game 2 after a shocking performance at Rochester last week. Curtis Dickson had 3g / 3a on 20 shots, Holden Cattoni had a great 1st quarter with a natural hat-trick to lead Calgary

Rookie Zach Currier scored a highlight reel goal, also picked up seven LBs and went 3 / 5 on face offs. Jake Withers crushed the Roughnecks last week on face-offs. This week Bob Snider was back in action this and went 11 / 14 on face-offs, left the game early due to an injury. 

I see both teams battling for 3rd place, and the final West playoff berth as the season progresses. Whichever team improves on its defense and settles their goaltending, will have the edge on making it to the post-season. Vancouver has let up 15 goals in both games. 

Both Teams are on a bye next week. 

There was a solid crowd of 9,708 on hand in the Saddledome

Saskatchewan def. Toronto, 17 - 9 
If you've read our Western Conference preview than you know that we think that Saskatchewan could be a juggernaut, and you saw why on Saturday, as they beat the Rock (in Toronto), pretty easily. 

The Sask defense is big, athletic and imposing. Evan Kirk had a great debut for Sask, making 39 saves in goal. On offense the Rush look lethal with Mark Matthews, 1g, 4a, distributing the ball  to the likes of Ben McIntosh 5g, 1a

The face-off battle must be mentioned as Jeremy Thompson and Brad Kri had a great battle. Thompson was 12 / 21 on FO, 1a, 12 LBs. Kri went 11/18 with 14 LBs

Bill Hostrawser and Mike Messenger had a very entertaining fight in the 4th. Messenger was left with a cut over his eye from the bout. 

Matthews seemed to pick up a slight injury -- may be something to keep an eye on. 

Toronto needs to pick up their goals for. They have yet to hit double digits in the first two games. As a team they are shooting last in the league. To be fair to them though they have run into two really hot goalies in Alex Buque (Buffalo) and Evan Kirk (Sask). Brett Hickey led the Rock offense with 3g, 1a. Brodie Merrill added 10 more LBs. Sask has their home opener next week against New England, while the Rock will host Buffalo on December 30th. 

Toronto falls to 0-2, they have been held to 10 or less goals in both games played. To be fair to the Rock offense, both goalies they faced (Alex Buque, Evan Kirk) were on fire in net. 

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Wednesday, December 13

[NLL REPORT] Black Wolves take opener over Defending Champs


WEEK 1 - The New England BLACK WOLVES defeated the defending champion Georgia SWARM, 13-11 in front of a lively crowd of over 5,400 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in their season opener. 

It took a while to break the ice, as an unlikely player got the scoring started. Black Wolf defender David Brock scored on a rebound off transition to put N.E. on top.

The rest of the quarter saw nine goals as the two teams were knotted at five. The second quarter was all Swarm as they took an 8-5 halftime lead generated from a 6-0 run, to end the half. At this point the Swarm offense was buzzing. Jesse King coming off ACL surgery was very impressive with three 1st half goals (on a side note I didn't realize the size of King). The 2nd stanza saw Lyle Thompson all over the field while Mike Poulin made 2 big highlight reel saves.

At that point I thought the Swarm would cruise to the win.

Dynamic Duo to the Rescue
If you saw our Eastern Conference preview, we said Black Wolves Shawn Evans and Kevin Crowley were the best right side duo in the league. Confirming my picks and the precision of my crystal ball as the two dominated the second half combining for 5 of 8 second half goals. Evans finished the night with 2g, 7a while Crowley had 4g, 1a.
These two were pitted against each other in the MANN CUP finals this year where Evans' Peterbourgh team outlasted Crowley's New Westminster side. Put these two together you have quite a combo.

Thorimbert Unsung Hero
Jay Thorimbert hit on 17/27 FOs, picked up 18 LBs and chipped in with two assists. The extra possessions and key wins don't show up in the box score, but were big factors.


Georgia Misfires in 2nd
After their 7-0 run, the Swarm struggled to find their groove in the 2nd half. The Black Wolves packed in the defense and the Swarm was unable to breakthrough, only scoring 3 second half goals. Their high powered offense had some great passing and ball movement, but few of their shots were on frame and found Aaron Bold's chest pad.

Mohegan Sun was Rockin!
This was my first visit to the Mohegan Sun Arena. I was really impressed with the noise level and support the Black Wolves received from the home crowd. Although not as large as some venues it certainly isn't small. Quite frankly a perfect size venue for the NLL. Upon walking out of the game area, you are immediately met with gaming and a plethora of food and beverage options ... quite the place! If opening week is any indication, the 2018 NLL season looks to provide plenty of excitement!

Thanks for the time.
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Friday, December 8

[NLL] YumYumLax Presents: WESTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEW

Yesterday we previewed the National Lacrosse League's Eastern Conference, picking the Georgia Swarm to repeat.  Today we're forecasting a rematch for the CHAMPIONS CUP with the Saskatchewan Rush.  The Rush are looking for their 3rd title in 4 years.  Here is how we see the West in 2018.



1. Saskatchewan RUSH
When talking about the Rush you have start with Mark Matthews, quite simply the best lefty in the game. They are far from a one man Team however.  Jeff Shattler has joined the Rush from Calgary. He will replace Adam Jones who departed for Toronto.
I love the balance on the right side as well with McIntosh, Knight and Church.

However the strength of the team may be the defense.  Names like Rubisch, Dilks Corbeil are an intimidating unit.  Evan Kirk takes over in goal.  There won't be much of drop off from Aaron Bold who was traded to New England.  This team could be a juggernaut in 2018.


 
2. Vancouver STEALTH
Corey Small may be the most underrated player in the NLL.  He finished the 2017 season with 111 points.  Anthony Malcom was acquired from Buffalo and will enhance their right side alongside Rhys Duch.  In goal Brodie MacDonald or Tye Belanger will battle it out for PT. 



 
3. Calgary ROUGHNECKS
The 'Necks got he biggest gift in the off season when Rochester passed on Zack Currier on draft night. He can play both ends of the floor. Also look for another rookie Tyler Pace to make some some noise as well.  He should get quality time with Wes Berg holding out.   

Curtis Dickson is one of the best players in the league figures to score 50 plus. 

The Necks will look for stability in net, Frank Scigliano and Christian Del Bianco will battle for that spot.



 
4. Colorado MAMMOUTH
Dillon Ward is probably the best goalie in the league.  It's a good thing because I think it will be a challenge to score goals for the Mammoth. Ryan Benesch  has been brought in.  He no doubt will improve the left side, but Zack Greer starts the season on the PUP list. 

Their defense has been hit hard by injuries in the pre-season. Cam Holding and Dan Coates figure to be out for the season.

I am going to go out on a limb and pick the Saskatchewan Rush to take home the title.

As far post season honors I will go with:

MVP:  Mark Matthews (Sask)
Goalie of the Year:  Nick Rose (Tor)
Rookie of the Year: Zack Currier (Cal)
Transition player of the year: Brad Self (Col)
Defensive Player of the Year:  Ryan Dilks (Sask)
Coach of the Year: Matt Sawyer (Tor)

Thanks for the time.
@bernasconirich
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Thursday, December 7

[NLL] YumYumLax Presents: EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEW

The NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE season is fast approaching.  Let's take a look at the Eastern Conference.  Who will come out on top?  Can the Georgia Swarm defend their title?  



1. Georgia SWARM
 
Can Lyle Thompson match what he did last year?  He was  MVP of both the regular season and the playoffs.  He has an amazing supporting cast as well.  Staats, Jackson, Powless etc., etc.  

Watch out for rookies Zed Williams and Frank Brown.  They will add transition and athleticism from the defensive end.  Both should get an opportunity to see some action with the retirement of Mitch Belise and Joel White who like last season, will miss some early action due to work commitments.


2. Toronto ROCK
 
Coming off a playoff appearance in 2017 is Adam Jones, who has been added to the left side, and will complement Stephan LeBlanc and Kieran McArdle.

The righties Schreiber, Hickey and Hellyer look to be strong as well.

Nick Rose is solid in the cage and Latrell Harris looks to improve on his outstanding rookie season.  Brodie Merrill is still there as well.  I want to pick them to win the east, but I have to stay with Georgia.  Without question, The Rock look to be a legit contender.


3. New England BLACK WOLVES
 
Shawn Evans and Kevin Crowley are one of the leagues best duos on the right side. I Have questions about their lefties.  Mark Cockerton is back after a career year with the Ohio Machine of MLL.  He has not played in the NLL in a couple of seasons though.  The Wolves will be counting on Reilly O'Connor to have a big year on the left side of the floor after notching 18g / 33a for 51 Pts in 2017.

Aaron Bold takes over in net for Evan Kirk.  That was a trade that took me by surprise, but Bold is a solid keeper in his own right, who has Championship pedigree.

I have concerns about about depth on the offensive side, especially the lefties.  If Evans and Crowley remain healthy, I think the playoffs will be in their future.


4. Buffalo BANDITS

Lots of questions here, but they may prove to have some answers.  Their left side has been revamped with #1 pick Josh Byrne and a trade for Jordan Durston.  The Bandits have also added Callum Crawford for the right side in the Ryan Benesch trade.

Will Dhane Smith bounce back after a subpar 2017 season?  How will the goalie situation play out with the retirement of Cosmo? If they can answer these questions, they will challenge for a playoff spot.



5. Rochester KNIGHTHAWKS
 

The only team to score less than 200 goals (only having scored 175) in 2017.   So they go and draft a FO man with the 2nd pick in the draft?  Jake Withers is a good player, but won't provide much offense.  

Cody Jamieson starts the season on the injured list.  They still have Dangerous Dan Dawson though.  That said, many of the players on the roster have 3 Championships with Rochester.  I wouldn't sell them short, but I don't think they will have the firepower to keep up with the others in the East.

Where am I right?  Where am I wrong?  Look out for our WESTERN CONFERENCE preview tomorrow.

Thanks for the time.
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Friday, December 1

[LINKS] Why the NFL loves lacrosse & more ...

"Why The NFL loves lacrosse - Why lacrosse is such a great complimentary sport for all athletes including football players that want to become better players in the Spring." [youtube]
  • ARTICLE: "The NLL Honors Native American History Month" [nll.com] 
  • VIDEO:"NLL Productions west coast reporter Mia Gordon had a chance to check out the VANCOUVER STEALTH training camp to see how the team is preparing for the start of the NLL season. They will take on the COLORADO MAMMOTH at their home opener December 8th. " [youtube]
  • VIDEO: "The Best Spot to Shoot | Paul Rabil Experience" [youtube: Paul Rabil]
  • VIDEO: "BERMUDA Lacrosse, King Of De Rock - Lacrosse. Island Life. Boats & Beers. What more could you ask for? Sign up for the King of De Rock Lacrosse Tournament which takes place Labor Day Long Weekend annually at http://www.BermudaLax.com."  [vimeo]
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Wednesday, November 29

[REVIEW] ALPHA SHAFT - CAM BOMBERRY & PROFESSOR X!

Editors note A big shout out to lacrosse legend and homie, CAM BOMBERRY  (SIX NATIONS / IROQUOIS NATIONALS / NAZARETH COLLEGE '92 NATTY CHAMP) for sharing a few words on how this ALPHA Lacrosse shaft might fair in a box / indoor lacrosse setting. 

This handle saw countless hands, traveling from the West Coast all the way to the Upper West Side of Manhattan (NYC), then making it's way up the New England shoreline to Rhode Island, then down to Florida, where our guy, a field lacrosse fogo, who goes by PROFESSOR X has it, and the last word with his review below ...

--- 
We have seen many advancements in our sticks over the past decades since the original steam bent woodies that have grown to become iconic to our game. One of the most revolutionary advancements in stick technology is that of the composite handle. A new wave of space age handles has flooded our markets and the boys over at Alpha Lacrosse seem to be doing it right. When I first saw one of their shafts I wasn't sure about the graphics and color way, which appeared to be gimmicky and lead me to believe that performance may not have been their primary goal. All my perceptions changed when I got my hands on one. I was immediately struck by just how light the shaft was, however it felt substantial in your hand and I immediately could tell this thing was a beast. The texture was also something I noticed. The Alpha shaft I tested has a sandblasted feel too it, providing grip and eliminating the need to add tape and the unnecessary weight that comes with it. After playing with the shaft for a while I also noticed another great advantage which was the snappiness of the stat and how lightning fast the release is. My only complaint of this shaft is that it's sandblasted texture eventually wore off resulting in the shaft having an almost plastic feel. I have never truly liked composite handles, but this I was a true fan of, and absolutely ranks up their, among the giants in the market. I am excited to see what this company has in their future. They seem to be taking steps in the right direction, as ALPHA has released new products since they dropped this particular shaft such as the recent A-Series shafts, and their first ever head, the Beta. I hope to see that they truly make an identity for themselves with perhaps some new innovative technology or a new outlook on the future of the lacrosse stick.

Professor X
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Wednesday, November 15

[LINKS]

"'I Will Win', A Lacrosse promo." [youtube: KTW Lacrosse Films]
  • VIDEO: "CASEY POWELL Discusses His Induction to the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame" [youtube: Lax Sports Network]
  • COACHES CLINIC: "[PROVIDENCE COLLEGE] Men's Lacrosse To Hold Coaches Clinic " [friars.com]
  • VIDEO: "PAUL RABIL Shooting Workout Part 2" [youtube: Paul Rabil]
  • PODCAST: "MILLENNIAL RENAISSANCE RADIO - 'BMAC And The Universe'" ... SCHUYLERHORN interviews your favorite lacrosse player / nomadic yogi / mindfulness teacher, BILLY McNAMARA." [milrenradio.middcreate.net] ... !
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