National Lacrosse League: Ten Things to Know for Week 20

Seven Games Including NLL Game of the Week on TSN, ESPN Broadcast as Playoff Picture Gains Focus During Last Two Steps in ‘The March to May’; 2024 NLL Playoffs Start April 26-28

PHILADELPHIA, April 12, 2024 – With two weeks and 15 games remaining in the regular season, the National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, continues “The March to May” with last week’s full nine game slate breaking some of the logjam for playoff qualification… but not quite yet, as all eight seeds are still undetermined.

Seven contests this weekend will go a long way towards further separation and filling some of those slots. The first-place Toronto Rock (13-3) can wrap up the No. 1 seed when they take on Rochester (6-9) in the NLL Game of the Week on TSN on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, also ESPN+). The NLL Saturday Showcase features the defending champion Buffalo Bandits (9-7) still hopeful of a first-round home game against the Calgary Roughnecks (7-9), needing the win to stay in the playoff hung at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+, TSN+, CW23 locally in Buffalo). And the ESPNU audience sees one of the league’s best in the Albany FireWolves (10-6) looking to lock in a home postseason date when they visit Panther City on Sunday (5 p.m. ET, also TSN+).

Here are 10 things to know about the NLL entering Week 20:

  • Eights and Nines Wild: Seven teams have eight or nine defeats with two weeks remaining in the regular season, and those squads are effectively vying for three playoff slots.
  • Four In: Four Teams have clinched playoff berths. Which teams are in line to secure NLL postseason berths this week? Here are a few scenarios:
    • Toronto Rock (13-3) have clinched a playoff berth and a home playoff game. Toronto can clinch the top overall seed throughout the playoffs with a win vs. Rochester, OR a San Diego loss at Saskatchewan.
    • San Diego Seals (12-4) have clinched a playoff berth and a home playoff game.
    • Albany FireWolves (10-6) have clinched a playoff berth. Albany can clinch a home playoff game with a win at Panther City.
    • Georgia Swarm (10-7) have clinched a playoff berth. Georgia can clinch a home playoff game with a Calgary win at Buffalo, AND a Vancouver win vs. New York, AND an Albany win at Panther City.
    • Buffalo Bandits (9-7) can clinch a playoff berth with a win vs. Calgary, OR
    • A San Diego win at Saskatchewan, AND a New York win at Vancouver, AND an Albany win at Panther City.
    • Halifax Thunderbirds (9-8) can clinch a playoff berth with a Buffalo win vs. Calgary, OR A New York win at Vancouver, OR An Albany win at Panther City.
    • Panther City Lacrosse Club (8-8) can clinch a playoff berth with a win vs. Albany, AND a San Diego win at Saskatchewan, AND at least TWO of the following:
      • A Toronto win vs. Rochester; A Buffalo win vs. Calgary; A Vancouver win vs. New York.
    • New York Riptide (8-8) can clinch a playoff berth with a win at Vancouver, AND a San Diego win at Saskatchewan, AND at least ONE of the following:
      • A Buffalo win vs. Calgary, OR an Albany win at Panther City.
    • Calgary Roughnecks (7-9) can be eliminated from playoff contention with A loss at Buffalo, AND a Panther City win vs. Albany, AND at least ONE of the following:
      • A Saskatchewan win vs. San Diego, OR A New York win at Vancouver.
    • Saskatchewan Rush (7-9) can be eliminated from playoff contention with
    • A loss vs. San Diego, AND at least ONE of the following:
      • A Calgary win at Buffalo, OR a Panther City win vs. Albany.
    • Vancouver Warriors (7-9) can be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss vs. New York.
    • Rochester Knighthawks (6-9) can be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss at Toronto, AND A New York win at Vancouver, AND at least ONE of the following:
      • A Calgary win at Buffalo, OR a Panther City win vs. Albany.
    • Colorado Mammoth (5-10) can be eliminated from playoff contention with ONE loss (vs. Philadelphia OR at Las Vegas), OR a New York win at Vancouver, AND A Panther City win vs. Albany.
    • Philadelphia Wings (5-11) and Las Vegas Desert Dogs (4-12) have been eliminated from playoff contention.
  • Play the Percentages: The great Graeme Perrow has calculated the percentages of remaining playoff scenarios in which each NLL team makes the playoffs. The highest among those that have not yet qualified? The Halifax Thunderbirds with a near-perfect 99.49% chance, and the Buffalo Bandits at a whopping 90.94%. Fans looking for a Finals rematch will be saddened to see the Colorado Mammoth at just 1.15%. The Saskatchewan Rush are next longest at 16.48%.
  • Craig on the Call: Rochester broadcaster Craig Rybczynski will broadcast his 400th consecutive game on Saturday in Toronto. Rybczynski has broadcasted every Rochester Knighthawks game (both the current expansion team and former franchise now based in Halifax) since 2001.
  • TSN, Too: Speaking of broadcasts, the NLL and TSN have finalized the NLL Game of the Week on TSN doubleheader for next Saturday, April 20. Game one will be the Colorado Mammoth at Halifax at 6:30 p.m, ET, followed by the Panther City at Calgary clash at 9 p.m. ET. Both are also on ESPN+.
  • Warriors Wisdom: The season didn’t start out like the Vancouver Warriors had hoped, but no one really wants to face Curt Malawsky’s team now. NLL.com’s Cooper Perkins looks at the team’s resurgence and why they’ve been so good since March, in this week’s LAXMetrics Powered by NLL.
  • Two Top Tens: ESPN SportsCenter tabbed two amazing plays as Top 10 material last weekend. The Mammoth’s Dylan Kinnear‘s no-looker was No. 2 on Friday, and Stephen Keogh going between his legs and those of the defender earned No. 8 on Saturday.
  • Power Surge: Movement in Adam Levi’s NLL.com Power Rankings becomes tougher as the season goes on, and despite a full nine-game slate last week, there was just a little shakeup in the midsection heading into Week 20. The Toronto Rock and San Diego Seals stay one-two, while the Swarm edge up a spot to #3 and the biggest shift is the Bandits, looking near their 2023 Championship form in vaulting from #6 to #4 with a win in the title rematch vs. Colorado. Halifax drops two spots to #5.
  • For the Fans: Promotions at NLL arenas this weekend center mostly on the fans, with Fan Appreciation events in Colorado (dubbed “Loud House Appreciation Night”), Toronto, Buffalo, Saskatchewan, Vancouver, Las Vegas, and Panther City.

Schedule – Week 20 (All Times Eastern)

Friday

  • Philadelphia Wings (5-11) at Colorado Mammoth (5-10), 9 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+ , Philly57, Altitude Sports (Lindahl, Shewchuk, Gallant)

Saturday

  • Rochester Knighthawks (6-9) at Toronto Rock (13-3), 7:30 p.m., NLL Game of the Week on TSN, ESPN+ (Abbott, Gregoire, Docking)
  • Calgary Roughnecks (7-9) at Buffalo Bandits (9-7), 7:30 p.m., NLL Saturday Showcase, ESPN+, TSN+, CW23 (Gurtler, Bermel, Buchanan)
  • San Diego Seals (12-4) at Saskatchewan Rush (7-9), 9 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+ (Janzen, Fraser, Ahmad)
  • New York Riptide (8-8) at Vancouver Warriors (7-9), 10 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+ (Elliott, Challoner, Chand)
  • Colorado Mammoth (5-10*) at Las Vegas Desert Dogs (4-12), 10 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+, Altitude Sports, Fox5 (Kanell, Ossello, Werth)

Sunday

  • Albany FireWolves (10-6) at Panther City Lacrosse Club (8-8), 5 p.m., NLL on ESPN, ESPNU, TSN+ (Thulin, Jernigan, Hale)

*pending Friday results

About the National Lacrosse League

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s largest professional lacrosse league, welcoming a record 1,165,528 fans attending games in 2022-23. Founded in 1986, the NLL is comprised of 15 franchises across the United States and Canada, and recently unveiled its largest brand campaign ever, “Welcome to The Next Major League™” and introduced its comprehensive grassroots initiative, NLL UnBOXed™, that will expand the League’s footprint to more than 60 communities across North America by 2027.

For the latest scores and developments in the National Lacrosse League, please visit: NLL.com and find the NLL on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok.

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Media inquiries contact:

Joe Favorito, jfavorito2@gmail.com, 917-566-8345

Jerry Milani, media@nll.com, 917-797-5663

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.

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