Thursday, February 8

[NLL] MASH-UP - WEEK 9


NLL Mashup

This week we got a few surprises and there are a couple of teams that look ready to emerge in CALGARY and BUFFALO.  Another constant Is the RUSH continue to win games and set the pace.  The road teams were an impressive 3-1 on the weekend.  SASK over VANCOUVER was the only home winner in Week 9.

 


RUSH 13 , MAMMOTH 10


SASK got their 2nd win of the season in COLORADO starting off the action on Friday evening.  Like many of the games the RUSH took an early lead, took their foot off the gas before outscoring COLORADO,  6-2 in the 4th quarter to earn the road win.  The 18-0 talk may have ended, but what about 17-1?  RYAN KEENAN led the offense with 4g, 1a.

For the MAMMOTH, STEVE KEOGH who has been in and out of the lineup had 3g, 3a.  He made a statement to get a regular shift moving forward.  Realistically, unless something strange goes down that puts a major blow to MAMMOTH’S aspirations of winning the West, as SASK has clinched the season series with the win over the MAMMOTH.

RUSH 11,  STEALTH 9

Some may have thought the door may be open for an upset with SASK playing the back end of a back to back.  That wasn’t going to happen, as the RUSH grinded out a hard fought win in front of their large home crowd.  TYLER CARLSON got the call between the pipes as EVAN KIRK was given the night off. CARLSON came up with 39 saves.

Another take away for me was the balance SASK continues to have on offense, they had five players score two goals each.   The defense is workmanlike, they continue to separate from the pack with their 7-1 record.

Vancouver was able to be competitive in this game.  LOGAN SCHUSS had 4g, 2a in a losing cause. They continue be in the basement and got more bad news as CALGARY upset TORONTO widening the CALGARY lead over the STEALTH.  The RUSH and STEALTH will go at it again next week in VANCOUVER.

There may be one area of concern for SASK, as it was mentioned on the broadcast MARK MATTHEWS has a bit of a nagging injury. He still managed 2g, 7a for the weekend.

ROUGHNECKS 16,  ROCK 8


Without question this is was the biggest upset of the week.  To me, TORONTO seemed flat from the beginning as CALGARY was able to pick up a huge road win and put some space between them and VANCOUVER.

Last week we mentioned how CHRISTIAN DELBIANCO played well in relief between the pipes.  He got the start this week and got his first NLL win making 47 saves.  This was a long time coming for the 20 year old.  DELBIANCO came into the league in 2016.  He now seems to be paying dividends after some uneven outings early in his career.

He was a MINTO CUP CHAMPION for COQUITLAM in 2016.  For those who haven’t seen much of him he is a very unique NLL goalie.  He doesn’t have the size that many of the guys do, but he is very athletic and shows he can move side to side as well as great stick skills with his outlet passes to TYSON BELL and ZACH CURRIER.

It has to be mentioned CURTIS DICKSON is starting to heat up after a sluggish start.  He has 9 goals over the last two games after only posting 8 over the previous five.  Something seems to have clicked for CALGARY during their OT loss to SASK last week, they looked like a different team from early on.

If I’m in the TORONTO camp I would just chalk this one up to a bad night or taking an opponent lightly.  They seemed to be settling for outside shots way too much, the way DELBIANCO was dialed in that wasn’t going to fly.

One interesting fact is they were blown out in the 4th, 7-0.  Last week they were the ones who went on a 7-0 run in the final frame against the BLACKWOLVES.

BANDITS 16, KNIGHTHAWKS 14


This was the game I was most looked forward to on Saturday, it didn’t disappoint as the BANDITS outlasted the KNIGHTHAWKS on Military night.  Both teams came out with some sharp uniforms as well.

BUFFALO showed the form that helped them hand SASK their only loss of the season.  It looks like it may be some bad news for the rest of the NLL as DHANE SMITH (3g,8a) looks 100% healthy and is showing his MVP form.  Number one draft pick JOSH BYRNE (5g,1a) is getting his feet under him and is looking like a very tough cover for any defenseman.  They are not the only two who can hurt defenses.  CALLUM CRAWFORD (2g,5a), JORDAN DURSTON (1g,2a) and MITCH JONES (2g,2a) give the BANDITS so much depth.  If ALEX BUQUE (45 saves) can be consistent the BANDITS are going to be major factors.

ROCHESTER seems to be in freefall after their 2-0 start, dropping to 2-5.  Their record versus East (1-5) opponents is going to put them in a bad spot with tiebreakers down the line.  They didn’t play badly this week, but the BANDITS had too many horses and MATT VINC (32 saves) was peppered as the game progressed.

This BANDIT win sets up a massive game this week at the MOHEGAN SUN versus the BLACKWOLVES.  We will be there providing expanded coverage for that one!
 

FEARLESS PICKS

A mediocre week only going 2-2, but the season tally is hanging in there at 21-10.  Here is how we see this week’s action.

BUFFALO AT NEW ENGLAND:  The BLACKWOLVES are unbeaten at the MOHEGAN SUN this year (3-0), they have a very stingy defense.  They give up just under 10 GA in those home games.

They are going to be challenged by the big athletic BANDIT attack who are on a roll.

I’m going to stick with the BLACKWOLVES.  This should be the game of the weekend.


GEORGIA AT BUFFALO:  The dreaded back to back for the BANDITS.  It is going to be a battle against NEW ENGLAND, I don’t see the BANDITS being able to deal with the quick turnaround.     LYLE THOMPSON and company are going to be rested.  Their offense is coming alive, I take the SWARM.


COLORADO AT CLAGARY:  As mentioned above the NECKS are rounding into form, I like them at home.

TORONTO AT ROCHESTER:  The KNIGHTHAWKS are in dire need of a win, I think the ROCK will pose too much offense.


SASK AT VANCOUVER: I can’t pick against the best team in the league versus the worst.  RUSH it is.

@BernasconiRich




 

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