NLL playoffs: Knighthawks and Mammoth are in, Bandits are out, Swarm head east

Johnny Powless and the Knighthawks squeaked into the playoffs to defend their NLL championship, edging Buffalo 10-9. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Johnny Powless and the Knighthawks squeaked into the playoffs to defend their NLL championship, edging Buffalo 10-9. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

The Rochester Knighthawks won their do-or-die showdown with the Buffalo Bandits to reach the National Lacrosse League playoffs, edging Buffalo 10-9. The Colorado Mammoth downed the Minnesota Swarm 16-14 to earn the fourth seed in the West. They’ll face the Calgary Roughnecks in the first round of the playoffs after Calgary beat Edmonton 12-11 in overtime to win yet another West Division regular season title. And Washington clinched home playoff dates for themselves and Rochester by beating Philadelphia 15-11. And with all that, perhaps the biggest winners were the Swarm, who–thanks to Buffalo missing the playoffs and Minny owning the Bandits pick that will now be first overall in the 2013 entry draft–won the Logan Schuss sweepstakes.

The other big story last night was Shawn Evans capping off what developed into a season for the ages. The Roughnecks’ forward had a 10-point night (1g, 9a) to give him 112 for the year, just 4 points off the all-time record set last year by John Grant, Jr. Evans also clearly established himself as one of the best set-up men in league history. His 80 assists are just 2 shy of the single-season record established last year by Garrett Billings

The west playoffs get underway with both division semi-finals going next Saturday. Colorado will be at Calgary and third-place Edmonton will visit Washington, who wind up second. Minnesota, fifth in the west, cross over to the East Division playoffs to face the overall regular-season champion Toronto Rock next Sunday. The date for Philadelphia’s trip to Rochester next weekend is expected to be set by this evening.

Rochester 10, Buffalo 9
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Colorado 16, Minnesota 14
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Calgary 12, Edmonton 11 (overtime)
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Washington 15, Philadelphia 11
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Game sheet

Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at stamplax@hotmail.com.

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