MSL Power Rankings: Six Nations Chiefs rise to the top of tight rankings

Colin Doyle and the Chiefs are atop the MSL Power Rankings. (Photo: Tim Prothero, VintageLax)
Colin Doyle and the Chiefs are atop the MSL Power Rankings. (Photo: Tim Prothero, VintageLax)

Things were ticking along fairly smoothly Power Rankings-wise in Major Series Lacrosse until Tuesday night. Then the #1 Brooklin Redmen lost on back-to-back nights to #4 KW and #5Oakville. With Brampton already having beaten KW and given #3 Peterborough a scare, it looked like the Rock may have to slide into last in the Rankings even though they pushed the Lakers to the limit in a one-goal loss. The pair of upsets over Brooklin just make things even more complicated. Here’s the kind of dilemma we run into: Brampton beat KW; KW beat Peterborough; Peterborough beat Brampton. There’s no way to order those teams based on those results, so we have to look more at the overall zeitgeist of the league. But hey, that’s what makes it fun, right? Just like MSL itself, which is becoming more and more competitive top to bottom. Make the jump to see how the rankings play out this week.

1 (2) Six Nations Chiefs 5-1-1
Last week: T9-9 (OT) Brooklin
This week: @ Brampton, vs Brampton
The Chiefs ascend to fill the throne vacated by Brooklin. They’re tough to score against, they’re tough to stop in the set offence and they can push the ball in transition. They’re also pretty good on the power play and killing penalties. There’s not much not to like about the squad that GM Duane Jacobs has put together. Yet, with the increasingly competitive nature of the league, they can’t go into any game this summer expecting an easy win.

2 (3) Peterborough Lakers 6-3
Last week: W13-12 Oakville, W8-5 Brampton
This week: vs KW, @ Brooklin
With eight defensive players from last summer either not returning or not available regularly and some changes on offence as well, it was obvious going into the season that the Lakers were going to take some time to gel. It’s been most evident on the road, where Peterborough is 2-3, but they certainly seem to enjoy playing in front of their large and adoring crowds, where they sport the league’s only perfect home record at 4-0.

3 (1) Brooklin Redmen 5-3-1
Last week: T9-9 (OT) Six Nations, L8-7 KW, L7-6 Oakville
This week: @ Oakville, vs Peterborough
The Redmen’s pair of losses this week are further evidence of just how much talent there is in MSL this year. Both KW and Oakville are full value for their wins over what had been the top team in the Power Rankings. The Redmen knew it wouldn’t be easy, though, and they certainly didn’t expect to go through the season without some ups and downs. Head Coach and GM Wayne Colley remains focused on the big prize at the end of the season. And sometimes, adversity along the way only helps in the long run.

4 (4) Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks 3-5
Last week: L12-10 Brampton, W8-7 Brooklin
This week: @ Peterborough, @ Oakville, vs Brampton
Interesting week for the Kodiaks. How often do you lose to the last-place team then beat the first-place team? KW still needs to squeeze more out of its offence. Imagine how good they could be, though, if Ryan Benesch is able to get in six regular-season games and be around for the playoffs, and they can call up Dhane Smith and Chris Cloutier from the Jr A Braves for a post-season run. Of course, before all that can happen, they have to make sure they make it to the playoffs, and Oakville and Brampton will have something to say about that.

5 (5) Oakville Rock 2-5
Last week: L13-12 @ Peterborough, W7-6 (OT) Brooklin
This week: vs KW, vs Brooklin
After the Rock lost to Peterborough, Phil Sanderson looked like anything but a head coach who was just happy that his young team had been able to hold the defending champions close. He showed exactly the kind of fire and desire to be better that is rubbing off on his club. That’s a big part of why GM Terry Sanderson brought him in to coach and a big part of why Oakville was able to beat Brooklin. They’ll still make the mistakes young teams make, but don’t expect them to get outworked often or to give up easily on their hopes of securing a playoff spot.

6 (6) Brampton Excelsiors 2-6
Last week: W12-10 KW, L8-5 Peterborough
This week: vs Six Nations, @ Six Nations, @ KW
I was all set to bump the Excelsiors up ahead of Oakville if the Rock, as expected, had lost to Brooklin. Instead, Brampton’s going to have to earn a boost in the Rankings by performing well against the new #1 in their home-and-home series with the Chiefs this week. Another win over the Kodiaks would certainly help their case, as well. Like the Rock, the Excels will continue to make the mistakes that teams with lots of youth make. But Head Coach Clem D’Orazio has made it clear that the players who learn from their mistakes are the ones who’ll keep getting floor time. And there are enough hard-working veterans who set a great example if any of the youngsters need an example of how to earn their minutes.

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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