MSL Power Rankings: Yet another top dog, but fallen #1 is nipping at its heels

Kyle Sorensen (left) is back and Scott Evans is leading the league in goals for the Peterborough Lakers. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Kyle Sorensen (left) is back and Scott Evans is leading the league in goals for the Peterborough Lakers. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

The Major Series Lacrosse season is now one game past the exact mid point. As was expected, Six Nations, Brooklin and Peterborough have distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, KW is knocking on the door of the big boys club and Oakville and Brampton are struggling to find the groove that could land them a playoff spot. But things haven’t gone nearly as to form at the micro level as that alignment at the macro level would suggest. Just take a look at the two games played this past week between the #1 Chiefs and the #6 Excelsiors. In Six Nations 7-5 win, Brampton had a penalty shot to try to tie it up in the third period; in the Chiefs 10-6 win, the game was after two periods. Anyone can beat anyone, at any time. That’s what is making it so much fun. After the jump, see how the Power Rankings unfold this week.

2 (1) Peterborough Lakers 8-3
Last week: W14-13 KW, W8-6 Brooklin
This week: vs Six Nations
The Lakers have been getting better and better as the season runs, but they were still a little shy of the defensive depth that a Mann Cup run demands. Then in one fell swoop they added a whole lot of depth, skill and experience when they signed up Chris White and Kyle Sorensen, both of whom had been intending to take the summer off. Add in the return of John Grant, Jr., the continued dominance of Shawn Evans and stellar goaltending from Kurtis Wagar in a relief role, and you have a team whose demise may have been greatly exaggerated.

1 (2) Six Nations Chiefs 7-1-1
Last week: W7-5 Brampton, W10-6 Brampton
This week: @ Peterborough, vs Oakville
The Chiefs’ demotion will be a shortlived one if they beat the Lakers tonight, but for the time being they can look at it as extra motivation. A pair of closer-than-expected wins over the cellar dwellars may make for an exciting roller-coaster ride of a season, but it’s not a good way to inspire confidence that you’re the best team in the league. Still, two Ws are two Ws and the margin between Six Nations and Peterborough is very slim. Tonight’s game should definitely be an exciting one.

3 (3) Brooklin Redmen 6-4-1
Last week: W10-7 Oakville, L8-6 Peterborough
This week: vs KW
The Redmen haven’t looked bad, but they’ve gone 1-3-1 in their last five games. Every night they seem to come up just a little short. A tough stretch in the middle of the season isn’t that big a deal in the long term, except that finishing first would come with the considerable advantage of not having to go into either Six Nations or Peterborough for Game 7 of a playoff series. Both are inhospitable places where the home teams have yet to lose this season.

4 (4) Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks 4-6-1
Last week: L14-13 Peterborough, T6-6 Oakville, W11-4 Brampton
This week: vs Oakville, @ Brooklin
Teams are working hard to mitigate the damage done by KW’s transition game. It still breaks out for some big goals, as it did in Peterborough, but it was definitely limited in Oakville. The Kodiaks continue to play solid defence, so they can be competitive without having to score buckets of goals, but the pair of 10+ goal outings are a sign of what they need to come if they want to get over the hump and hope to do more than just get into the playoffs.

5 (5) Oakville Rock 2-6-1
Last week: T6-6 KW, L10-7 Brooklin
This week: @ Six Nations, @ KW
So close to breaking the goose egg at home, but still not a win at the TRAC yet. So maybe it’s a good thing that both their games this week are on the road, where they have two wins and a heartbreaking one-goal loss to the Lakers. The challenge for a young team like the Rock is that the margin for error is so slim—if they play their best in every facet of the game, they can compete with any team in the league, but a lapse can cost them a game when a more veteran teams takes advantage to go on a run. Any team had better be prepared to work hard if they want to beat Oakville, though.

6 (6) Brampton Excelsiors 2-9
Last week: L7-5 Six Nations, L10-6 Six Nations, L11-4 KW
This week: Off
The Excelsiors don’t generally look like a 2-9 team, but the competition is just so tough in MSL that that’s where they’ve wound up. You know they’re chomping at the bit to get back on the floor after a three-loss week, so not playing at all this week will be a tough one for a bunch of competitive athletes to handle. But maybe it’s a chance to figure out a way to squeeze more goals out of an offence that is floundering at less than 7 goals a game.

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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