Week One Pick Ems

We finally are back…we have all conspired to dethrone Ross McLoughlin as defending champ of our LaxPhilly Pickems..

Ross holds the title which gives him bragging rights and the right to purchase a $15 adult beverage at a Seals game.

In the downtime, we found out exactly how our “experts” decided on the weekly winners…

We start with our newest friend…”Muffler”Mike Kostiuk…I can only hope Mike checked his brakes and tuned his musical (I had to add that) instrument for his debut in the world …or American renowned Pick Ems…

Week 1 pickems:

San Diego. Both teams are vastly improved, but I think it comes down to whether the Vancouver goaltender shows up.

Halifax. The Thunderbirds show the “old guard” that the premier defense in the league now resides in the Nest, not in the Prairies.

Albany. Solid road wins were key to the former Black Wolves’ 2019-20 campaign. I think that trend continues against Toronto, despite the Rock’s best efforts to christen the new home arena with a win.

Colorado. Another road upset, owing to more continuity on the Colorado squad than on Georgia.

Philadelphia. The Wings show PCLC games that count are a whole different animal than preseason.

Rochester. I don’t see how even an MVP-caliber player and two generational talents at forward overcome the revamping of two-thirds of a roster, at least to start the season.

Buffalo. Yes, the Roughnecks got younger during the break in play, but lost too many key components in the process. Buffalo always tough to beat at home.

Since we are out West…we go to our Gunslinger…yeah, ok…Three Finger Shawn Slaght…

Shawn’s pick’ems

Vancouver at San Diego
Pick – San Diego
I’m expecting San Diego to be an exciting team this year that could compete for the top spot in the standings.

Vancouver on the other end is an enigma. I suspect Vancouver will keep it close until the fourth quarter.

Saskatchewan at Halifax
Pick – Saskatchewan
Two of the top teams going head-to-head on opening weekend. Can you ask for anything more? This will be a defensive battle. With the Rush first in the standings before the 2019 season was stopped, I think they’ll have chip on their shoulders.

Albany at Toronto
Pick – Toronto
I like the way this Toronto team is shaping up. I think Albany will be competitive, but I don’t see them winning this one.

Colorado at Georgia
Pick – Georgia
I feel like Georgia is the Rodney Dangerfield of the NLL. “I get no respect.” They still have Lyle Thompson, Shayne Jackson, Jordan Hall and Mike Poulin, just to name a few. Dillon Ward will stand on his head yet #tradeward will begin.

Panther City at Philadelphia
Pick – Philadelphia
Regardless of how good the Wings are, the fact of the matter is they are going against an expansion team. Until Panther City can prove they can win, I have to go with the Wings.

Rochester at New York
Pick – New York
This was a tough one. Both teams really struggled last time we saw them. My prediction: Jeff Teat has a huge game and shows he can play at this level, Riptide for the win.

Calgary at Buffalo
Pick – Buffalo
Here comes the words everyone hates: rebuild year. That’s what Calgary is looking like this season. These are two teams in opposite directions. Buffalo is shaping up to look like favourites. I think Buffalo has this one by at least two or three goals.

I know you can’t wait….Ross double and triple checked with his trusty Magic 8 Ball (which may need lube job.. or, is that me?)

Vancouver vs. San Diego

Winner San Diego

Vancouver does not have all the pieces to combat the firepower the Seals had in the past but they are working on it Mitch Jones and Logan Schuss is a good place to start, but they didn’t ADD any more offense but opted to add a lot of defense in Garrett McIntosh and Rookie Reid Bowering and found a way to get Eric Penney back. At the same time the Seals on paper are going to be explosive, with Rookie of the Year Candidates Tre LeClaire and Mac O’Keefe, and former MVP Dane Dobbie to an already potent set of forwards Wes Berg, Jeremy Noble, Zach Greer, and Casey Jackson. But the Seals offense will be missing Austin Staats. The Seals Defense is still directed by Brodie Merrill and Cam Holding. Eli Gobrecht is going to have a breakout year on defense, and Mark Glicini is a ball magnet or target depending on how you look at him, always willing to put his body on the line. Seals Head Coach Patrick Merrill has faith in Brandon Clelland to start it all off on faceoff.

Saskatchewan vs. Halifax

Winner Halifax

Lets face it, not many teams stack up to Halifax, and the rebuilt Rush team does not stack up. Halifax is going to punish the Rush, Cody Jamison, Chris Boushy are a great tandem, but add in known winner Rhys Duch for some vet knowhow. Its going to be started off with Jake Withers on faceoff and the The defense is going to have a breakout year for Defenseman Ethan Riggs, and Graeme Hossack is going to break the Rush offence one piece at a time. The Rush lost too much getting old, and added not enough the biggest blow however is losing goalie Evan Kirk. Adam Shute the last time they were on the floor played one game 42 minutes, and was not a starter.

Albany vs. Toronto

Winner Albany

This is going to be a close, exciting game. The newly rebuilt/rebranded Firewolves have some sleepers in the mix, a great faceoff man in Joe Nardella and an offense that is going to surprise people, added to a robust defense by adding Adrian Sorichetti still have a great Goalie Doug Jamieson. The Rock got older, but didn’t really add or subtract anything more exciting than Hothead Mitch De Snoo. Timeless Dan Dawson is a few days till he turns 40, although still Dangerous I doubt he has found the fountain of youth, if Dawson is leading the Rock in scoring they will be in worse shape than I think they are.

Colorado vs. Georgia

Winner Colorado

Colorado has some good young players and did not really lose much or add much other than Zed Williams and somehow managed to hold onto Joey Cupido even exposing him in the draft. Georgia on the other hand got older just look at 35 year old Mike Poulin, Lost Randy Staats, and with the holdouts of Zach Miller and Miles Thompson the Swarm are going to struggle to find themselves.

Panther City vs. Philadelphia

Winner Philadelphia

Let’s be real, honestly, does anyone think Panther City is going to win this game? On paper no it looks like a Mismatch. But when you look at the Goaltending in Zach Higgins and Nick Damude are really an even matchup. BUT Wings have a spark plug offense with Kevin Crowley, Blaze Riorden and Matt Rambo. Trevor Baptiste is just speed and should not be underestimated EVER. Panther City won’t have any answers, instead lot of questions, such as why on Earth did we not draft JOEY CUPIDO?

Rochester vs. New York

Winner Rochester

If this was 2 years ago, it would have been the battle of the toothless Dogs, all bark no bite offenses. But a lot has changed, The riptide and added Connor Kernan and Callum Crawford and Jeff Teat, and seem to think they Found a goalie, in Steven Orleman. Rochester went out and got a bonafide stud goaltender Evan Kirk, and managed to hold on to sparkplugs Shawn Evans and Holden Cattoni.

Calgary Roughnecks vs. Buffalo Bandits

Winner Buffalo

The Roughnecks still have Curtis Dickson, and CDB but losing Tyson Bell on defense and Dane Dobbie and Rhys Duch on offence is a lot to recover from. Add to it they have 5 rookies on the starting roster and it screams Rebuilding year. The Bandits have all the makings of a championship team. Then they went out and added Kyle Buchanan, and a player some consider the actual rookie of the year winner last time they were on the floor, Connor Fields and the Bandits kept Josh Byrne, Chase Fraser, Dane Smith, Drafted Tehoka Nanticoke to the mix, this team should be very exciting. Matt Vinc is a few years slower but should be able to still cover up his defenses mistakes.

We go back to the Great White North..he and The Man,The Myth, The Legend and the Best Singer in our Crew…(that’s $20), Gary Groob.

Vancouver vs. San Diego

San Diego wins.

Both teams made a splash in the off season, but I still tip the scale towards San Diego. The addition of Dane Dobbie is huge, and will pay dividends quickly.

Saskatchewan vs. Halifax

Halifax wins.

I know this is the first game of the season, but this could very well be an NLL Final! Saskatchewan looked good in preseason, but I love the Halifax team. Having character guys like Cody Jamieson, and Aaron Bold, go a long way with leadership. The Thunderbirds are strong in all areas, and will pick up where they left off in 2020.

Albany vs. Toronto

Toronto wins.

Albany is in a rebuild mode, while the Toronto Rock have actually improved from the strong team they were in 2020. A mix of veterans like Rob Hellyer, Tom Schreiber, Dan Dawson, and Brad Kri, mixed with youths like Aaron Forster, Josh Jubenville, Dan Craig, and Adam Jay, with the steady goaltending of Nick Rose, and this team will make a lot of noise this season.

Colorado vs. Georgia

Georgia wins.

Colorado has some good young players but are no where near the Powerful team that upset Saskatchewan a few years back. Georgia, although a much different team as well, still has the Thompson Brothers, as well as Jordan Hall, and together they will lead this team to victory.

Panther City vs. Philadelphia

Philadelphia wins.

The inaugural game of the Fort Worth team will be a learning lesson. The Wings have a stingy defense, great goaltending in Zach Higgins, and a strong offense led by Kevin Crowley. Trevor Baptiste on faceoffs is almost an automatic as well.

Rochester vs. New York

New York wins.

Jim Veltman and Dan Ladouceur have put together an exciting team with a good mix of youth and veterans. First overall pick Jeff Teat is reunited with Tyson Gibson, throw in Callum Crawford, Scott Dominey, Connor Kearnan, and Keiran McArdle and you have a powerful lineup. Steven Orleman is a young but very talented goaltender that will help this team make some noise in the upcoming season as well.

Calgary Roughnecks vs. Buffalo Bandits

Buffalo wins.

The Roughnecks still have Curtis Dickson, but will miss the leadership and output of Dane Dobbie. Buffalo has a strong team with Josh Byrne, Chase Fraser, Dane Smith, and add the ability of Tehoka Nanticoke to the mix, this team should be explosive. Having Matt Vinc back in net will allow the transition game to roam a little freer, knowing that the back end is covered.

Don’t turn away as it’s Mr.Flip Flops..
My good friend, Kevin Neibauer or, as his crime fighter name is known, Mike Bauer, pulled out his tea leaves for his picks.

Vancouver-San Diego..

I originally picked the Warriors but, sobered up and realized the Seals Win this going away.

Halifax- Saskatchewan

Two squads going in a different direction…but, I see the pride of the Rush pulling one out of their hat.


A new home for the Rock…too bad they fall short by two goals.

Colorado- Georgia

The Mammoth simply can’t compete with the Swarm…a blow out.

Panther City- Philadelphia

Another one I flipped on..
Panther City, while talented, are not in the Wings class…a 15-7 Philly win.

Rochester- New York..

In what would have been sleeper 18 months ago, two teams that have greatly improved since.

This is the Jeff Teat coming out party and New York squeezes out a win.


All I am saying about this…it will not be pretty Buffalo by 5

Kevin Neibauer
Kevin Neibauer

Kevin has followed and promoted the game of lacrosse since May 19, 1974.
The same day the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, the Philadelphia Wings were introduced to Neibauer and Philadelphia.

Kevin has covered many sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and.. lacrosse. A former licensed football referee and baseball umpire, Kevin brings a unique insight to his game coverage.

A published writer in JustHockey Magazine, Kevin covered the American Hockey League as well as a monthly story on a pugilist where Kevin used the pen name, The Rink Rat. Neibauer turned his attentions to lacrosse for a few years and does his part, whether podcasting or writing to grow the game. Kevin branched out to his roots and currently provides insight for all Philadelphia teams for Edge of Philly as well as his full-time duties with LaxPhilly.