(Photo Courtesy of Georgia Swarm)
Welcome to week eight of the 2019-20 NLL season, Y’all!
It’s another hefty week in the NLL with eight games on the docket. Things start on Friday with Colorado traveling to Vancouver. Saturday will see San Diego travel to Halifax, Calgary travel to Rochester, Philadelphia travel to New England, Toronto travel to Buffalo, Georgia take on New York on Long Island, and Colorado take on Saskatchewan. Rochester will travel to Philadelphia on Sunday to cap off the weekend’s action.
Toronto vs Buffalo is the Game of The Week and will be streamed for FREE on B/R Live and Twitter.
Week Eight Storylines
Can Philly Keep Rolling?
After losing their first game of the season against Georgia on the road, the Philadelphia Wings have seemingly put all the pieces together and have been able to win three straight, including a road contest against the defending champion Calgary Roughnecks and the Halifax Thunderbirds – who many argue is the hottest team in the league.
The Wings are playing much better lacrosse than they were a year ago, and the growth is seen on both ends of the floor. Offensively, more guys are getting involved every week and some of the younger guys, like Matt Rambo and Blaze Riorden, are really starting to find themselves at the NLL level. Defensively, Zach Higgins has helped solved their goaltending issues of the past and, overall, the Wings back end just looks more in sync.
Coming off of three straight victories, we’ll see if the Wings can continue their success this weekend against another tough opponent in New England, who at 3-0 have seen many improvements similar to Philadelphia from last season to now, and against a hungry Rochester team. Also, this is Philadelphia’s first back-to-back of the season, so it will be very interesting to see how head coach Paul Day manages his roster.
Rivalry Renewed in Saskatoon
The rivalry between the Colorado Mammoth and Saskatchewan Rush will be renewed on Saturday night when they meet in Saskatoon at the SaskTel Centre. And it’ll be a rematch of a week one game that saw Saskatchewan win 9-8 in Colorado.
In their first meeting of the season, heavy defensive play was the story of the game, especially with Dillon Ward (Colorado) and Evan Kirk (Saskatchewan) standing tall in their respective nets all game long. This second meeting of the season between these divisional rivals could go exactly the same way, but, as always, there is a chance that either one of both offenses pop off. We have seen both offenses be able to do so at times early this season.
Saskatchewan comes into this game off a win against San Diego on Sunday where they were able to really get their offense going and Colorado comes into this game after losing a close one in Halifax on Saturday, and the Mammoth will have a game on the road against Vancouver on Friday.
Can Georgia get their offense flowing again?
The Georgia Swarm are one of the best teams in the league, especially with an electric offense headlined by the likes of Lyle Thompson, Miles Thompson, Randy Staats, and others. However, the Swarm could be on the verge of losing three consecutive games for the first time since 2016 when they lost five straight games.
Last weekend, Georgia lost to Buffalo 18-10 at home and two weeks prior they lost a home game, 13-11, against Colorado. While neither is specifically a bad loss, Georgia looked pretty bad in both games for at least a half or more. And the problem appeared to be getting their offense going and sustaining the pace and efficiency that many expect to see from them. And while facing two star-studded goalies in Dillon Ward and Matt Vinc in back-to-back games doesn’t help a struggling offense, the Swarm need to get their mojo back this weekend.
Specifically, the Swarm offense needs to take advantage of a struggling New York defense and find ways to get their whole offense rolling. Over the past few week, they have had two guys, at the maximum, that have shown up and played a full sixty minutes. They certainly need everyone, especially their stars, to shine bright on Long Island this weekend just to build their confidence back up and show the world that they are still alive.
Week Eight Schedule
Friday, January 17th
10:30 pm ET: Vancouver @ Philadelphia
Saturday, January 18th
6:00pm ET: San Diego @ Halifax
7:00pm ET: Calgary @ Rochester
7:00pm ET: Philadelphia @ New England
7:00pm ET: Toronto @ Buffalo
7:30pm ET: Georgia @ New York
8:30pm ET: Colorado @ Saskatchewan
Sunday, January 19th
7:00pm ET: Rochester @ Philadelphia