Games of the Week - Week 18
1) San Diego vs. Saskatchewan
This was ranked as the best game of the week in our initial edition of this series, and Friday’s clash should another great showdown.
San Diego managed to take the last matchup at home for the biggest win in franchise history. That tied the season series. The rubber match should serve as the best matchup of the year.
San Diego had a chance to create separation between them and Saskatchewan with a pair of games last weekend, however, they lost both and saw both Austin Staats and Kyle Buchanan go down with injuries.
Friday’s game will also serve as a premier matchup between two of the hottest goalies in the league. Frank Scigliano and Adam Shute will go head to head once again. The former stole the game for the Seals in the last matchup, making several massive saves down the stretch to preserve the lead. Shute has allowed less than ten goals in his past two starts.
Something has to give in this game. The injuries to Staats and Buchanan could hurt the Seals’ chances, but their home crowd at Pechanga Arena should help.
2) Calgary vs. Georgia
Georgia is firing on all cylinders heading into the final weeks of the campaign. They were dominant in the win over the Seals last weekend and have won five straight games, allowing 10 or fewer goals in three of those games.
Calgary managed to walk over the Philadelphia Wings last week, but they’ve been up and down over the past two months. The Riggers haven’t managed to put together consecutive wins since the beginning of February. They are, however, getting great goaltending from Christian Del Bianco and solid offensive contributions from Dan Dobbie, Curtis Dickson, and Rhys Duch.
This is the only showdown between the inter-division rivals this season. Despite their respective records, these are two of the most talented rosters in the league. Expect a great battle.
3) Toronto vs. New England
Both the Rock and Black Wolves had solid showings a week ago. Toronto managed to beat the Buffalo Bandits in overtime while New England clinched a playoff berth with a victory over San Diego.
This game will hold extra significance as the Rock will raise longtime captain Jim Veltman’s number to the rafters ahead of the game. Veltman also spent time behind the New England bench as an assistant coach, so there will likely be some added emotions on both sides.
The last time these two teams faced off, the Black Wolves got the win at home. However, that game will be remembered for the blatant elbow by Callum Crawford to the head of Brad Kri and the ensuing circus that came from his suspension.
Games between the East Division rivals are always spirited, but these circumstances make the game feel that much bigger.
4) Colorado vs. Rochester
Colorado can clinch its spot in the postseason with a win over the Knighthawks or a Vancouver loss to Philadelphia, and while they would take a playoff berth regardless, a win to seal their fate would likely feel a lot better.
This game will also see Ryan Benesch return to the Loud House in Colorado for the first time since being traded for Cory Vitarelli back in March.
Rochester has been playing some inspired lacrosse despite missing the postseason this year. They defeated Toronto at home last weekend after the Rock beat the league-best Buffalo Bandits a night before.
The Knighthawks have won two straight games - with both coming against playoff teams. They’ll have a real chance to make it three straight on the road this weekend.
5) Saskatchewan vs. Philadelphia
It’s been a rough year for the Wings, and it likely won’t be any easier this weekend.
They have their final back-to-back weekend of the year, and it starts on the road against the defending NLL Cup champions.
Saskatchewan will also be playing a pair of games this week, however, so there’s a chance that they have a down night after playing a massive game against the Seals for the top spot in the West.
As usual, it’s hard to go against the Rush when they’re in the friendly confines of SaskTel Centre.
6) Vancouver vs. Philadelphia
The Wings were eliminated from playoff contention last weekend after the Black Wolves grabbed a win. They added extra insult by losing to Calgary in their final home game of the campaign.
Similarly, Vancouver can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye with either a loss to the Wings on Sunday night or a Colorado win against Rochester.
Depending on how other matchups pan out, both teams might just be playing for pride here.