National Lacrosse League Power Rankings: Week 4

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The NLL had its busiest weekend thus far as seven games were on the docket. We saw a couple of close battles with Vancouver beating Colorado in overtime and Minnesota edging the Wings by a goal in Philadelphia. We also saw a few blowouts including Edmonton’s 15-8 thrashing of the Calgary Roughnecks, Buffalo’s 16-9 victory over Colorado and Philly’s 15-8 revenge over Minnesota. It’s usually about this time of the season where we see dramatic swings in the Power Rankings. You won’t see major changes this week. The top 3 teams should be obvious. So are the bottom 3 teams. In the middle of the pack you could probably make an argument for any order you like. Let’s check it out.

1(1)

Rochester Knighthawks
3-0
It was business as usual for the Knighthawks as they methodically built a 10-4 lead over the Toronto Rock before settling for a 12-8 victory. The defending champs played smothering defence, got 4 goals from Cody Jamison and 7 assists from Dan Dawson. On Saturday the Knighthawks travel to Buffalo to face the Bandits.

2(2)

Edmonton Rush
3-0
For the second week in a row the Edmonton Rush were dominant as they stomped on their Alberta rival Calgary Roughnecks by a score of 15-8. Sophomore stars Mark Mathews and Curtis Knight each scored 4 for the Rush who have already equalled last year’s win total at the Rexall Place. The Rush wont be looking ahead of next week’s game in Vancouver but I’m already circling February 1st on the calendar for when they host Rochester.

3(3)

Buffalo Bandits
3-1
It looks like last week was no fluke as Buffalo Bandits went into Colorado on Saturday night, without John Tavares, and manhandled the Mammoth by defeating them 16-9. Dhane Smith led the offence with 4 goals and 2 assists and defender Steve Priolo, popped in 3 goals. Priolo, who had 4 goals in his first 50 games of his career, now has 5 goals in 4 games this season. Next week we’ll get to see how the Bandits stack up against the Rochester Knighthawks as the welcome their state rivals to the First Niagara Center on Saturday.

4(4)

Toronto Rock
1-2
The Toronto Rock lost their second game in a row as they never had a lead against Rochester in a game in which they lost 12-8. Are the Rock struggling or are the Knighthawks just that good? The Rock have next weekend off but we’ll get a better idea of where they stack up in two weeks when they host Vancouver on Friday and travel to Buffalo on Saturday.

5(6)

Calgary Roughnecks
2-2
Calgary were soundly defeated by the Edmonton Rush 15-8 on Friday and then beat the visiting Vancouver Stealth 15-12 on Saturday. Even though the weekend ended on a positive note for the Roughnecks there have to be some concerns in Calgary. Only Colorado has a worse goals against average than Calgary. On the offensive side of the floor, what is wrong with Curtis Dickson, who only has 3 goals in 4 games?Last season we often saw him score 3 in a quarter. Next week Calgary will host the Colorado Mammoth and if the trend continues, we’ll see about 30 goals.

6(5)

Vancouver Stealth
2-2
In one of the most exciting games so far this season, Lewis Ratcliff scored on a long distance buzzer beater to give the Vancouver Stealth a 14-13 overtime victory over Colorado on Friday. On Saturday the Stealth came out on the wrong end of the 15-12 score in Calgary. Next week Vancouver will host Mark Matthews and the red hot Rush. You BC fans that missed out on Friday’s nail biter better get your butts out for this one.

7(7)

Philadelphia Wings
2-3
Just as you were beginning to wonder if the Philadelphia Wings was the hard working team that always fell a little short, they came up with a dominant victory in Minnesota. The Wings fell to the Swarm 11-10 on Saturday but soundly defeated them in the rematch by a score of 15-8 on Sunday. Jordan Hall led the way for the Wings with 4 goals and 4 assists and Tracy Kelusky continues to be the comeback player of the year. He scored 3 goals to give him 10 on the season so far. The Wings have next weekend off but will host Vancouver on February 1st.

8(8)

Minnesota Swarm
1-3
The Swarm got their first win of the season this weekend but that positive feeling was negated by the bomb they dropped on Sunday. Starting goaltender Tyler Carlson was chased in both games. On Saturday Minnesota pulled Carlson after the Wings scored 3 goals on their first 4 shots and Zach Higgins was able to earn his first NLL win. On Sunday Carlson was pulled after Philadelphia went up 7-3 but this time the move made no difference as Minnesota never really threatened the Wings. Minnesota will have next weekend off and will return to action February 1st in Colorado.

9(9)

Colorado Mammoth
1-5
The Mammoth came up short in a 14-13 overtime loss in Vancouver on Friday but were embarrassed by the Buffalo Bandits by a score of 16-9 at the Pepsi Center on Saturday. Goaltender Tye Belanger was pulled for the 5th time this season on Saturday while rookie goalie Dillon Ward played the whole game on Friday. Colorado plays in Calgary on Saturday where they have an all time regular season record of 8 and 8.
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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