We move on to the second pair of preliminary round matchups in our quest to choose the best player not currently on a National Lacrosse League team. The results from the first pair of polls produced decided victories for the players moving on to the quarterfinals. The 8th seed vs 9th seed saw a mild upset but probably not a stunning one. Scotty Komer is a bit more of a known commodity. The veteran goalie will be leaving for Philadelphia Wings camp in a few days boosted by the news that he has beaten Mitch Barnard 1,860-728. Barnard probably won’t be all that upset; he loves being the underdog anyway. It didn’t stop him from making it through the Buffalo Bandits free agent tryouts and on to the main camp, where he’ll once again be fighting an uphill battle for a spot…just the way he likes it. In our first defender vs. forward battle it was a decisive win for the back door man. Ian Poole downed Travis Bland 2,089-446. Now we have another O/D matchup as Brampton Inferno teammates Dylan Llord and Ben McCullough face off. The fourth and final preliminary round tilt matches a pair of transition burners named Ryan: Ryan Campbell vs. Ryan Hotaling. Make the jump to make your choice.
Dylan Llord (7) vs Ben McCullough (10)
This one is offence vs defence. Llord is a talented and turbulent presence in the Canadian Lacrosse League. He was an IL Indoor CLax First Team All-Star after tying for third in league scoring with 20 goals and 36 assists for 56 points. Llord is an excellent shooter but what really sets him apart on the floor is his vision. His awareness of where his teammates are combined with his ability to find them with the ball at just the right moment makes him one of the best setup men around.
McCullough looks bigger than his 5′11″ and 195 pounds, and he plays bigger than it, too. He’s a solid defender with a mean streak who made his way through the first round of Washington’s camp and is on his way to their main camp hoping to earn a spot with the Stealth and a ticket out of this group. If he doesn’t make it through the wealth of defenders in Everett, McCullough will be welcomed with open arms back to CLax, where he was a second team all-star last year for his shutdown defence and 15 points in 11 games.
Choose the first round winner.
- Dylan Llord (57%, 5,375 Votes)
- Ben McCullough (43%, 4,118 Votes)
Total Voters: 9,493
Ryan Campbell (6) vs Ryan Hotaling (11)
Ryan Campbell was a first-round NLL pick back in 2008. He had an excellent 2009 in the WLA, scoring 52 points for the Nanaimo Timbermen. Things have just never really happened for him in MSL or the NLL, but last year he found a home in CLax and ripped it up. As we said in naming him IL Indoor’s CLax transition player of the year, “Campbell did it all for Peel. He was their second-leading scorer, assumed a key role on the power play and penalty kill, got the ball up the floor and played solid defense. On a team that suffered from inconsistency, he brought effort and performance every night.” Not much more you can ask for from a player.
Ryan Hotaling isn’t look to make it to the NLL; he’s looking to make it back to the NLL. He provided some solid transition work in his two years with the Boston Blazers; he was just one of those guys who couldn’t quite find a spot on a roster when the league shrank to nine teams. He certainly hasn’t disappeared from the game, though. Hotaling has suited up in NALL, the Quebec Sr B league and the PLL. He was a 54.9% faceoff man in the NLL. If anyone is going to rise from the new American leagues and crack the top pro circuit, Hotaling’s a good bet.
Choose the first round winner.
- Ryan Hotaling (53%, 333 Votes)
- Ryan Campbell (47%, 293 Votes)
Total Voters: 626
1. Jesse Guerin
2. Colin Boucher
3. Jerome Thompson
4. Brad Favero
5. Ian Poole
6. Ryan Campbell
7. Dylan Llord
8. Mitch Barnard
9. Scotty Komer
10. Ben McCullough
11. Ryan Hotaling
12. Travis Bland
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