National Lacrosse League Power Rankings: Week 15

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With 6 games on the schedule for week 15 the biggest story of the weekend was disappointing news that Toronto Rock superstar Garrett Billings suffered a season ending ACL tear. Playing in his hometown of Langley against the Stealth, Billing’s knee appeared to buckle on an innocent play as he was driving towards the net. He had scored 7 points on Toronto’s first 9 goals and will end the season with 102 points. That in itself is a new NLL record as he became the first player to break the century mark in points for three straight seasons but it looks like no one will break John Grant’s record of 116 points this year. Toronto went on to win that game by a 17-9 score. In other games, the Edmonton Rush were given a scare but extended their record winning streak to 14 games with a 12-11 win over the Colorado Mammoth. The Rochester Knighthawks needed overtime to defeat the Minnesota Swarm 15-14 on Friday and then finished the sweep by defeating them 12-9 in Rochester on Saturday. The Calgary Roughnecks also picked up two wins on the weekend – both on the road. On Friday they defeated the Philadelphia Wings 13-9 and on Saturday they rallied in the fourth quarter for a 16-13 win over the Buffalo Bandits in front of 16000 fans.
Let’s check out the Power Rankings.

1(1)

Edmonton Rush
14-0
The Edmonton Rush won their 5th one goal game of the season by defeating the Colorado Mammoth by a final score of 12-11. Edmonton’s record breaking winning streak is now at 14 games but hitting 15 or 16 won’t be easy. Next week the Rush play the Mammoth in Colorado on Friday and return to Calgary to face the Roughnecks on Saturday.

2(2)

Rochester Knighthawks
11-4
If it wasn’t for the Edmonton Rush the Rochester Knighthawks would be the story of the year. They seem to have an on/off switch and on Friday night, trailing by three goals with less than three minutes to go in Minnesota, they pushed the ON button. Rochester scored four straight goals to take a 15-14 overtime victory. On Saturday they completed the sweep with a 12-9 victory playing in front of their backup goaltender Angus Goodleaf. Next week the Knighthawks will host the Vancouver Stealth.

3(3)

Calgary Roughnecks
10-5
The Calgary Roughnecks also seem to have the ability to turn up the offence when they really need it. Playing in Philadelphia on Friday and Buffalo Saturday, the Roughnecks trailed in both games heading into the fourth quarter. On Friday Calgary outscored Philly 6-1 in the final frame to win 13-9 and on Saturday the Roughnecks outscored the Bandits 7-1 in the 4th quarter for a 16-13 victory. The two victories extend Calgary’s winning streak to 4 games. The NLL’s top goal scorer Dane Dobbie scored 4 goals in each of those two games and is on pace to break the 50 goal mark this season. Next week Calgary will get their third crack at the Edmonton Rush when they host them on Saturday.

4(4)

Buffalo Bandits
8-6
For three quarters it looked like home sweet home for the Buffalo Bandits as they controlled their game against the Calgary Roughnecks but the Bandits did not show up in the fourth quarter. On a night that Buffalo should be celebrating John Tavares 800th career goal the Bandits ran their losing streak to four games as they fell to Calgary by a final score of 16-13. Next week Buffalo travels to Minnesota to meet the Swarm.

5(6)

Toronto Rock
6-9

The Toronto Rock played one of their most complete games of the season as they beat the Vancouver Stealth 17-9 although the night was overshadowed by the loss of superstar Garrett Billings. Garrett Billings is irreplaceable but Rob Hellyer did his best impression after the injury. The 4th year 21 year old righty scored 7 points on Toronto’s next 8 goals and finished the night with 3 goals and 8 assists. Brandon Miller got his first win with the Rock with 36 saves on 43 shots. Toronto’s most important game of the regular season will be next Saturday at the ACC as they get a chance to punch their playoff ticket.

6(5)

Philadelphia Wings
5-10
It looked like the Philadelphia Wings might get their third straight victory as they kept pace with the Calgary Roughnecks for three quarters on Friday. However Philly could not match Calgary’s fourth quarter explosion and fell by a final score of 13-9. Next week the Wings meet Toronto at the ACC in a game that will likely determine who gets the final playoff spot in the East.

7(7)

Colorado Mammoth
5-10
Colorado gave the Edmonton Rush their biggest scare in almost a month as the Mammoth clawed their way to within 1 goal after falling behind 11-5. The Mammoth will get another chance to give the Rush their first loss when they host Edmonton next Friday at the Pepsi Center.

8(8)

Vancouver Stealth
4-10
The Vancouver Stealth were outclassed by the Toronto Rock as they fell by a score of 17-9 on Saturday. Toronto chased starting goaltender Tyler Richards early, scoring on 6 of their first 10 shots. Matt Roik was an improvement but he also had difficulty with Toronto’s sharpshooters. The Stealth need to find a way to gain some ground on the Colorado Mammoth but it won’t be easy next week as Vancouver heads to Rochester to meet the dangerous Knighthawks.

9(9)

Minnesota Swarm
3-12
Minnesota continues to be the hard luck team of the 2014 season. Friday’s 15-14 OT loss to the Rochester Knighthawks was the Swarm’s 6th loss by 2 or fewer goals. Minnesota followed that effort with a 12-9 loss in Rochester on Saturday. While they may not be mathematically eliminated yet, there is not going to be a miracle for the Swarm. Next week Minnesota hosts the Buffalo Bandits.

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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