National Lacrosse League Power Rankings: Week 14

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It was a busy weekend in the NLL with four Saturday games and two Sunday matinees. Four of the six games were close while we had a couple of beat downs. Lets start with the beat downs. In the CBS game of the week, the Philadelphia Wings showed little offence against the Rochester Knighthawks in a 14-7 Rochester victory. However that game was not nearly as one sided as the game between the Buffalo Bandit and the Minnesota Swarm. The Swarm handed the Bandits their worst loss in team history as they whipped Buffalo 21-7. Both Alberta teams lost close games at home Saturday night. The Washington Stealth made up for last week’s loss to the Calgary Roughnecks by beating them 12-11. Meanwhile the Edmonton Rush are now 1-5 at home after losing to the Colorado Mammoth by a score of 9-7. On Saturday the Toronto Rock clinched first in the East by squeaking by the Rochester Knighthawks 10-9 while the Philadelphia Wings ended their losing streak by defeating the Minnesota Swarm 15-13.

Let’s check it out.

1 (2)

Toronto Rock
10-5
There was a playoff atmosphere at the ACC as the Toronto Rock defeated Matt Vinc and the Rochester Knighthawks by a score of 10-9 in front of the largest crowd of the season. Playing without Captain Colin Doyle (he was with his wife and new born child), the Rock got balanced scoring as they outshot Rochester 54-42 and never relinquished their early lead. Toronto can clinch top seed in the NLL if they defeat Philadelphia next week.

2 (1)

Edmonton Rush
8-6
Edmonton looked nothing like the juggernaut we saw over the last 5 games as the Rush lost their 5th home game of the season by a score of 9-7 to the Colorado Mammoth. An optimist would point out that the Rush ran into a hot goaltender (rookie Tye Belanger) as they outshot the Mammoth 55-35. However I’d be concerned that the Rush were only able to score 3 goals playing five on five. Edmonton will meet the top defensive team in the NLL when Rochester comes to town next Sunday.

3(4)

Washington Stealth
8-6
The Washington Stealth showed great resilience as they outscored the Calgary Roughnecks 8-4 in the second half to get a slim 12-11 victory. Had it not been for Tyler Richard’s five minute major last week the Stealth would likely be sitting alone in first place now with a 3-0 record against Calgary. As it is now Washington is in a three way tie for first with their Alberta opponents. Washington will host a desperate Buffalo Bandits next weekend.

4 (3)

Calgary Roughnecks
8-6
Last week Calgary got a win they probably didn’t deserve against the Washington Stealth. This week, the lacrosse gods evened the score as Calgary Roughnecks lost a game they deserved to win. Washington scored the last two goals of the game to turn a 11-10 Calgary lead into a 12-11 loss. Next week Calgary will host the Rochester Knighthawks.

5 (5)

Rochester Knighthawks
6-7
The Knighthawks split their games this weekend crushing the Philadelphia Wings 14-7 on Saturday and losing a 10-9 decision to the Toronto Rock on Sunday. I don’t think Rochester can catch lightning in a bottle two years in a row but they will be a tough team for anyone to beat in the playoffs. Rochester will want to win at least one of their games in Alberta next weekend to avoid a potential do or die game against the Bandits on week 16.

6(7)

Colorado Mammoth
6-8
The Colorado Mammoth defeated the hottest team in the NLL (Edmonton Rush) by a score of 9-7 and can now lay claim to be one of the hottest teams themselves. The Mammoth is 4-1 with Tye Belanger as their starting goaltender. I don’t want to figure out all the possible scenario’s but it is very likely that one more win will secure Colorado a playoff spot. Colorado plays in Minnesota next week and then hosts the Swarm the last weekend of the regular season.

7 (6)

Minnesota Swarm
6-8
After three straight dominant performances (including a 21-7 victory over the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday), the Minnesota Swarm appeared to run out of steam as they lost 15-13 to the Philadelphia Wings, allowing the Wings to stop their losing streak at 5. Minnesota will play the Mammoth the last two games of the season and like the Mammoth, a split will probably give them a playoff spot.

8 (8)

Philadelphia Wings
6-8
I will give the Wings credit. There have been a few times this season when I would have bet the farm against them and they came up with gutsy wins. They did it in Toronto. They did it in Buffalo (back when the Bandits were battling for first place) and they did it again on Sunday against a team that beat them 20-11 a week ago. Yes the Wings defeated the Minnesota Swarm 15-13 on Sunday. On Saturday they lost to the Rochester Knighthawks by a score of 14-7. The Wings will host the Toronto Rock next weekend and then travel to Washington the last weekend of the season.

9(9)

Buffalo Bandits
5-9
I hate to beat on a team when they are down but Buffalo Bandits have the worst record in the NLL. They are the lowest scoring team in the NLL. They have the worst goals against average in the NLL and the 21-7 loss in Minnesota is their worst defeat in team history. It’s amazing that they still have a (slim) chance to make the playoffs. Buffalo travels to Washington next weekend and then hosts Rochester the last weekend of the regular season.
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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