National Lacrosse League Power Rankings: Week 9

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Even though we are all lacrosse lovers here, for those of us North of the Border we have a similar love for Canada’s favourite winter sport. I don’t mean to gloat but we Canadians are basking in the glow of our men’s and women’s team taking the Olympic gold medals in the showcase sport of the Winter Olympics. Yes I’m talking about curling. OK, OK. I’m messing with you, it’s hockey. Hockey is religion here and it’s a compliment to U.S. hockey that our biggest hockey rival is now the USA and no longer the Russians. But honestly, we do get excited about curling up here, too. On the weekend that the 2014 Winter Olympics come to a close, there were only three NLL games. The Toronto Rock got a little revenge against the Minnesota Swarm, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year, by defeating them by a final score of 14-12. Calgary took a step toward the elite three of the NLL by defeating the Rochester Knighthawks 11-10. And finally, Minnesota just barely avoided going 1-8 for the first half of the season by defeating the Philadelphia Wings 15-14. That victory keeps Minnesota within distance of the final playoff spot in the East. Let’s check out the Power Rankings.

1(1)

Edmonton Rush
7-0
The Rush had the weekend off but will host the Toronto Rock on February 28th as they attempt tie the Buffalo Bandits record of 8 straight wins to start a season. Fittingly, the game will be televised nationally in Canada on TSN2 and will be available in the U.S. on ESPN3.

2(2)

Buffalo Bandits
6-2
The Bandits had the weekend off and will also be off next weekend. Their next game will be in Buffalo on March 8th when they host the Minnesota Swarm on March 8th.

3(3)

Rochester Knighthawks
5-3
The Rochester Knighthawks took a 9-6 lead into the 4th quarter in Calgary on Saturday and it looked like they were going to win their 6th game of the season in typical shut down Rochester fashion. But in very untypical Rochester fashion, the Knighthawks allowed Calgary to score the next five goals on route to a 11-10 Calgary win. Rochester will host John Grant and the Colorado Mammoth next Saturday.

4(4)

Calgary Roughnecks
5-3
In what could be a season defining game, the Calgary Roughnecks defeated the Rochester Knighthawks 11-10 in Calgary. We all know that Calgary can put the ball in the net but what Coach Malawsky must be happiest about is that his team has allowed 10 or fewer goals in their last two games, both victories. Next Saturday the Calgary Roughnecks will host the Toronto Rock. This all Canadian matchup will also be televised on TSN2.

5(5)

Toronto Rock
4-4
The Toronto Rock won’t be happy that they let the Minnesota Swarm score 6 goals in the last 5 minutes of the game but they have to be happy that they were able to dominate the Swarm enough to build a 13-4 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The final score was 14-12 for the Rock in a game that the fans witnessed Colin Doyle become the fourth player in NLL history to score 500 career goals. Next weekend the Toronto Rock will attempt to get their first road win of the 2014 when they travel to Alberta for games against the Rush and Roughnecks.

6(6)

Colorado Mammoth
4-7
The Colorado Mammoth had the weekend off and will meet Rochester on March 1st in Denver. This will be John Grant’s third game against Rochester since he was traded to the Mammoth before the 2011 season. He’s 2-1 against his old team with an impressive 25 points (8 goals, 17 assists) in those 3 games.

7(7)

Philadelphia Wings
3-7
The Philadelphia Wings lost their fourth game in a row as they were defeated by the visiting Minnesota Swarm 15-14 in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. Philly controlled the play early and for three quarters of the game they were ahead by 3 or 4 goals but allowed the Swarm’s Logan Schuss to score 3 goals within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter. The Wings have next weekend off but will travel to Rochester to meet the Knighthawks on March 8th.

8(8)

Vancouver Stealth
3-7
The Vancouver Stealth had the weekend off and will also be off next weekend. The Stealth’s next game is in Edmonton on March 8th.

9(9)

Minnesota Swarm
2-6
The Swarm were looking for a couple of wins in Toronto and Philadelphia this weekend but considering that it was looking very much like they were going to be swept they must be happy they that they were able to get a split by pulling out a come from behind 15-14 win in Philadelphia. In fact it looked like Minnesota saved their best for last in both games as they nearly came back from a 13-4 deficit against the Toronto Rock. Minnesota got 5 goals from Jordan Macintosh in Toronto and 5 from rookie Logan Schuss in Philadelphia but in both games the offence was stagnant for long stretches and the goaltending was suspect. The Swarm have next week off but travel to Buffalo on March 8th.

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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