Blogs and Commentary

posted 04.04.2013 at 11.19 a.m. by Neil Stevens

NLL Week 14: All Nine Teams in Play, Six Games on Tap

Week 14 sets us up with six games involving all nine teams. Philadelphia, Rochester and Minnesota each play twice.


PHILADELPHIA (5-7) AT ROCHESTER (5-6) 6 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network, Network outside North America)

Rochester won 20-10 at Philadelphia on Feb. 8 and Philadelphia won 10-8 at Rochester on Feb. 23 so the winner of this one will have the tiebreaker should the teams complete their 16-game schedules with identical records.

''Having that tiebreaker in the back pocket would give us a bit of breathing room,'' said Rochester coach Mike Hasen.

Philadelphia's losing streak is at four after a 10-9 loss at Colorado that followed a 20-11 setback in Minnesota.

''To go 0-2 last weekend was pretty tough,'' said Joel White of the Wings. ''I know the guys will be excited to get back out there.''

Holding the Mammoth off the score sheet in the second half sends the Wings into this game with positive momentum.

''I really liked the way we finished,'' said GM-coach Johnny Mouradian.

Rochester is coming off a 12-8 home win over Toronto and is 5-3 after a 0-3 start.

''We're trying to get into a little bit of a groove,'' Hasen said during the NLL's weekly conference call Wednesday.

''We're all really excited for this weekend,'' said Knighthawks defenseman Mike Kirk. ''It was great to get a win last weekend and now we've shifted our focus to Philadelphia.

''We know what we have to do and now it's time to go out there and perform.''

BUFFALO (5-8) AT MINNESOTA (5-7), 8 p.m. ET (

This is the second and last meeting. Buffalo won 13-12 at home on Jan. 12.

Buffalo has lost five in a row.

''We're a frustrated bunch,'' said Bandits faceoff man Jay Thorimbert.

Minnesota is coming off a 20-11 home win over Philadelphia. Coach Joe Sullivan said that win ''helps with the direction we're going in moving forward.'' Given Buffalo's losing streak, he's well aware that the Bandits will be hungry.

''It's a big position game for both of us,'' said Buffalo coach Darris Kilgour. ''We're looking for a win to get our confidence going again.''

Added Kilgour: ''I still believe we have a team that can compete with any team in the league'' but unexplained lapses have done the team in. ''It's all over the map when we lose our focus.''

Rookie forward Dhane Smith hurt a shoulder last weekend and his availability is questionable, said Kilgour.

COLORADO (5-8) AT EDMONTON (8-5), 9 p.m. ET (

This is the second and last meeting. Edmonton won 14-7 in Denver on Feb. 16. The Rush aim to enhance their chances of earning home floor for the West playoffs.

''I know the ownership and fans would like to see a home playoff game,'' said Rush forward Ryan Ward. ''We've never had one so it'd be exciting for the team.''

Colorado has won three of its last four and is coming off a 10-9 home win over Philadelphia.

''We're happy with our play of late,'' said Mammoth coach Bob Hamley.

Edmonton has won five in a row and is coming off a bye week.

''We welcomed the bye because we were a little banged up,'' said Keenan. ''Now we'll be 100 per cent healthy for this weekend.

''We're at the point in the season now where you have to be playing your best lacrosse. We're going to be playing team that is better than it was a month and a half ago so it's going to be a big challenge for us.''

Edmonton was 1-4 at home before playing its last five on the road.

''I think we're a better team than when we left,'' said Keenan.

''We've got a good thing going,'' said Ward.

WASHINGTON (7-6) AT CALGARY (8-5), 9 p.m. ET (

The teams split two earlier meetings so the winner of this one will have the standings tiebreaker.

''The season series is on the line,'' said Calgary coach Curt Malawsky.

Calgary has won three in a row and is coming off a 13-11 win at Washington.

''We kept our composure and stuck to the plan and battled through things,'' said Malawsky. ''We're getting better week in and week out.''

The Roughnecks still have a good shot at finishing first overall.

''It's starting to feel as if these games are playoffs already,'' said Calgary defenseman Dan MacRae. ''We want to get that home-floor advantage as a thank-you to our fans.''

Washington has lost its last two.

''We did a pretty good job against a great Calgary offense,'' Stealth coach Chris Hall said of the most recent loss. ''Defensively, we're playing well. We're not in playoff form yet, I would say, but we're building to get there.''



Toronto won 11-7 in Rochester on Jan. 26 and lost 12-8 in Rochester last Saturday night so this will provide one of the teams with a standings tiebreaker.

''I think if we duplicate the effort we had last week I'd think it might translate into a better result,'' said Rock GM Terry Sanderson.

Rock defenseman Stephen Hoar said he and his teammates have to work on their execution in order to solve goalie Matt Vinc, whose work against the Rock last Saturday earned him the nod as defensive player of the week for the third time this season.

''If we can get a few more balls behind him it might be a different story,'' said Hoar.

The last time Rochester played in Toronto, Vinc was the hero as Hasen's club knocked the Rock off in the 2012 East final.

A win locks up first place in the East for the Rock.

''With us, I believe it's all about our will factor and compete level and if we have that I'll put our chances up with anyone,'' said Sanderson.


This is the second and final meeting. Minnesota beat the Wings 20-11 at home last weekend when No. 1 Wings goalie Brandon Miller sat out a one-game suspension.

Most of Philadelphia's walking wounded returned last weekend.

''We're going to have a full lineup, which is going to help us a lot,'' said Mouradian.

Three weekends of games remain and the playoff picture remains muddled with no team yet out of contention.

''Let's face it, it's been the way this league has shaped up for a number of years,'' said Mouradian. ''We're working hard to finish strong.''

The Swarm's Jordan MacIntosh, who is the transition player of the week for the third time this season, said he and his teammates are ready for this weekend's challenges.

''It's always fun to have two games on a weekend and travel with your teammates,'' said MacIntosh. ''It's a make-or-break weekend. I'm a little nervous but excited at the same time.''

Minnesota's Callum Crawford is the offensive player of the week.