National Lacrosse League Power Rankings: Week 15

national-lacrosse-league-power-rankings-week-15

There were five games on the NLL schedule on the second last weekend of the regular season and after the dust had settled everyone but Colorado, Rochester and Buffalo had secured playoff spots. However saying that “the dust has settled might” be getting ahead of ourselves. Heading into week 16, we could still have 5 teams finish with 7-9 records. Or we can have 5 teams that finish at 8-8. Edmonton could finish as top seed in the NLL or they could finish 3rd in the West and fourth in the league. You might as well say that the playoffs start next weekend because in each of the last four games played, there will either be a team fighting for a home playoff game or at least an invite to the playoff party.

Let’s check out the Power Rankings.

1 (2)

Edmonton Rush
9-6
The Edmonton Rush rebounded from an early 4-0 deficit to defeat the Rochester Knighthawks 14-10. Backup goaltender Brodie MacDonald got his first victory of the season as he relieved starter Aaron Bold. Edmonton still has to work for their playoff position. A win against Calgary next week would give them top seed in the NLL and home floor throughout the playoffs. A loss could very likely drop them down to third place in the division.

2 (1)

Toronto Rock
10-6
In their last regular season game the Toronto Rock were unable to clinch first overall as they lost 10-9 to a determined Philadelphia Wings team on Saturday. Although the Rock have not clinched first overall it is guaranteed that the rest of their games will either be at the ACC or the Rexall Place in Edmonton. Toronto will have to wait until next weekend to see who their playoff opponent will be.

3(3)

Washington Stealth
8-7
A week after their inspired effort in Calgary, the Washington Stealth looked very uninspired as the desperate Buffalo Bandits came to Everett Washington and defeated them 15-10. Last week Washington outscored Calgary 8-4 in the second half. This week the Stealth were outscored 8-4 in the last quarter. Washington will host Philadelphia next weekend and a victory will guarantee 2nd place in the West.

4 (4)

Calgary Roughnecks
8-7
Calgary lost another close game at home on Saturday as the Rochester Knighthawks defeated them 15-14 in one of the most entertaining games I’ve seen this season. From start to finish no team was ever able to stretch a lead greater than two goals. A win in Edmonton next Saturday will give the Roughnecks first place in the West. A loss could drop them to third.

5 (5)

Rochester Knighthawks
7-8
For the second weekend in a row the Knighthawks split their two games and looked pretty strong doing so. Rochester got a great win over the Calgary Roughnecks by a score of 15-14. On Sunday they got off to a great start but could not hold off the Edmonton Rush as they ended up losing 14-10. Rochester has been playing great lacrosse lately but ironically their playoff hopes might come down to next weekend’s game in Buffalo. Unless Rochester gets help from Minnesota over Colorado, the Knighthawks will need to defeat the Bandits in Buffalo to get in the playoffs.

6 (7)

Minnesota Swarm
7-8
Minnesota defeated the Colorado Mammoth 17-12 to earn a spot in the 2013 playoffs. In the last half of this season the Swarm has been the most explosive team in the NLL and on Saturday the Swarm jumped to a 9-2 first half lead and then cruised the rest of the way. Even though Minnesota has secured their own playoff spot I’m sure they would love the chance to knock Colorado out of the playoffs with a home win next week. A Minnesota victory (along with a Buffalo win over Rochester) will end Colorado’s season.

7 (8)

Philadelphia Wings
7-8
The Philadelphia Wings earned a playoff spot with a gutsy 11-10 overtime win over the Toronto Rock. While it was a total team victory for the Wings, Brandon Miller has earned the right to be included as potential MVP candidate. Six of Philly’s seven victories have been by a margin of two goals or less and Miller is a big reason Philadelphia hung around for so many of those games. Next week the Wings travel to Washington and a victory there (along with a Buffalo win over Rochester) would put the Wings in 2nd place.

8(6)

Colorado Mammoth
6-9
For the first time since going to Tye Belanger as a starter the Mammoth were dominated by their opponent. Colorado were down 9-2 after the half and although they played much better in the second half it was too little and much too late. Although destiny is still in their own hands, Colorado could now face playoff elimination with a loss in Minnesota next week. It will be difficult not to be keeping one eye on the out of town scoreboard (Colorado wants Rochester to defeat Buffalo) when Colorado plays Minnesota next week.

9(9)

Buffalo Bandits
6-9
The Buffalo Bandits played their most complete game since February and were rewarded with a 15-10 victory over the Washington Stealth to keep their playoff hopes alive. If the Bandits can defeat the Rochester Knighthawks next weekend they will make the playoffs, an achievement that looked almost impossible a week ago. If Buffalo gets that victory and Philadelphia loses in Washington, Buffalo would actually take second place in the East and host a playoff game. How would that be for a dramatic turn of events?
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.

Rate This Story:

Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+7 rating, 13 votes)
Loading ... Loading ...