National Lacrosse League Power Rankings: Week 9

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There were 5 games in the NLL on week nine and we are following the same theme as last week. In other words, for the second week in a row things just got even tighter in the NLL. Other than the Colorado Mammoth and possibly the Minnesota Swarm, every other team is still within range of first place in their divisions. A few weeks ago it looked like Calgary and Toronto were going to run away from their divisions. Toronto lost this weekend and Calgary has now lost two in a row and three out of four. Meanwhile Philly, Edmonton and Washington have all won at least two straight and are the two hot teams in the NLL right now.

Let’s check out the Power Rankings.

1 (1)

Toronto Rock
6-3
After losing to the Buffalo Bandits by a score of 15-13 on Thursday, the Toronto Rock have the Philly Wings to thank for allowing the Rock to stay in the number one spot in the Power Rankings. Had Philly not defeated the Bandits on Friday the Bandits would have been here. Instead The Rock still have the best record in the NLL but they have to be concerned that they have twice had 4th quarter collapses this season – both times at home against Eastern opponents (Buffalo and Philly). The Rock will get a rare visit from the last place Colorado Mammoth on Friday night at the ACC.

2(2)

Washington Stealth
6-4
After defeating the Minnesota Swarm 11-8 this weekend the Washington Stealth have moved into sole possession of first place in the West division. The Stealth have won three of their last four games and travel to Philadelphia next weekend.

3 (5)

Philadelphia Wings
5-3
The Wings have shown that they have no quit as they won their third game in a row. This one was in dramatic fashion as they scored three late goals against the Buffalo Bandits, including the tying goal with 3 seconds remaining, before Drew Westervelt gave them the 11-10 OT win. Despite the fact that the Wings have the fewest goals per game in the NLL, Brandon Miller has kept them close enough to allow them to pull off some dramatic victories. Next week the Wings will host the Washington Stealth.

4(4)

Buffalo Bandits
5-4
The Buffalo Bandits defeated the Toronto Rock 15-13 on Thursday and then lost to the Philadelphia Wings 11-10 in overtime the next night. If not for 3 seconds the Bandits would be tied with the Toronto Rock with the best record in the NLL. Buffalo has come a long way since their ugly loss to the Rochester Knighthawks in week 6 and it would be a mistake to discount this team. Next week the Bandits will host Colorado 24 hours after the Mammoth play Toronto.

5 (6)

Edmonton Rush
5-5

The Edmonton Rush got a huge monkey off their backs by finally defeating the Calgary Roughnecks in a regular season game after 12 straight losses. Like last week’s 14-9 win in Minnesota this week’s 18-13 score did not accurately reflect how badly Edmonton outplayed their opponents. For the first time in franchise history the Edmonton Rush have shown explosive offence and at 12.9 goals per game they are the second highest scoring team in the NLL. The Rush will get next weekend off and then will play their next three games against Eastern division opponents.

6 (3)

Calgary Roughnecks
5-5

The Calgary Roughnecks were soundly beaten by their Northern rival the Edmonton Rush by a score of 18-13. Calgary has lost three of their last four games and have allowed 16 or more goals in all four of those games. The Roughnecks are still the highest scoring team in the NLL and their 63% success rate on the power play is also tops in the league. The bad news is that they give up more power play opportunities than any other team and have the second worst goals against average in the league. Calgary will host Minnesota next week.

7 (8)

Rochester Knighthawks
4-5
The Knighthawks got a much needed victory by defeating the Colorado Mammoth 12-11 in Colorado on Saturday. The victory is doubly important because it will ensure that Rochester has the head to head tie breaker against the Mammoth should they end up tied for the last playoff spot.
Rochester has next weekend off before hosting Edmonton in 2 weeks.

8 (7)

Minnesota Swarm
3-6

The Swarm lost their second straight game (both without injured captain Andrew Suitor) when they were defeated 11-8 by the Washington Stealth this weekend. The Swarm have to improve their specialty team play as they are at the bottom of the NLL in PP and PK percentages. Minnesota will be at Calgary next week.

9(9)

Colorado Mammoth
2-6
Colorado lost a close game (12-11) to the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday. Goaltending was not an issue for Mammoth as Dan Lewis got the start in Colorado’s first game since releasing veteran Matt Roik. Next week could be the pivotal weekend for the Colorado Mammoth as they travel to Toronto and Buffalo.
A longtime TV analyst for lacrosse, Shanny calls games for TSN. Shanny won five Mann Cups as a player and is the voice of boxla in Canada. Email him at brian.shanahan@nllinsider.com or follow him at @sbdshanny.

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