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NLL Power Rankings: Week 11

Plenty of upsets and nailbiters over the weekend in the NLL. It was an eight game slate, and whenever the calendar is that packed, you’re going to see some movement. It also means you’ll see lots of different rankings out there, and that’s what makes them fun. Let’s just get right to it. 

15 Vancouver Warriors (2-6)

I like watching Vancouver play. I really do. They have enough young talent that you can see will be successful in the NLL that they are worth the price of a ticket and tuning in to see take the floor. And the fans in Vancouver have noticed; the crowds for their home games have been some of their largest ever. They responded to a challenge from their coach last week, and played hard, passionate lacrosse, but came up just short in OT against Georgia. I’ve said it before, I struggle to move teams up in the rankings just for losing close, because at the end of the day, it’s still a loss. The Warriors host the Rush this week. 

14 Calgary Roughnecks (2-5)

Roughnecks dropped both games of their weekend double dip, both against tough opponents in New York and Toronto. Calgary’s two wins are against Vegas and Vancouver, which aren’t doing a lot for their ranking right now. Calgary hasn’t scored more than 10 goals in a game since January 13. Jesse King and Tanner Cook have been great, but more scoring needs to emerge for the Riggers. They travel to Toronto for the second half of a home and home this weekend. 

13 Philadelphia Wings (2-5)

The Wings haven’t won a game since December (caveat, there’s a postponement in there). They’re hanging tough; their lost two games are one goal lossees to Halifax and San Diego. The Halifax game went to OT. The Wings offense can do some damage. They’re talented, creative, and can make opportunities happen out of seemingly nowhere. But the defense has been pretty poor, and while Zach Higgins is making a ton of saves, he’s seen entirely too many high quality shots. Philly is idle this weekend, then travels to Vegas. 

12 Colorado Mammoth (3-5)

After showing some positive signs against Calgary and Vancouver, the Mammoth got rocked by San Diego. The Mammoth seem to go as Eli McLaughlin goes. He was piling up goals and looked dominant in their two wins, but San Diego was able to hold Liger to zero goals. He still had three assists, but if he isn’t finding the back of the net, Colorado loses some steam. Connor Robinson also went 0-10, if that duo doesnt score, Colorado will struggle. The Mammoth visit Panther City this weekend.

11 Saskatchewan Rush (2-4)

A quality win for the Rush against a good Panther City team this weekend vaults them up a few spots. The Rush have played just two games since New Year’s Eve thanks to a postponement, but they remain a difficult out. The loss to Vancouver two weeks ago wasn’t pretty as they very much had control of that game, but the response with a one goal win is impressive. Nobody had a lead in that game of more than three goals at any point. When the trio of Robert Church, Zach Manns, and Ryan Keenan is cooking well together, the Rush can play with anyone. Frank Scigliano made 42 saves and was at 82%, he was another key to victory.  The Rush visit Vancouver this weekend. 

10 Las Vegas Desert Dogs (3-4)

Who is Las Vegas? Sincerely, who are these guys. Three weeks ago, beat San Diego. Two weeks ago, end up on the wrong end of some scoring records and get blown out by Panther City. Last week, beat Albany and hold them to just six goals? Your guess is as good as mine. Landon Kells was dialed in this one, making 46 saves on 52 shots, and if your goalies is that hot things will go well for  you. Vegas took a 4-3 lead in the third quarter and never trailed again. Vegas visits Halifax for the TSN Game of the Week this Friday, and I can’t wait to see which Desert Dogs team takes the floor. 

9 Georgia Swarm (5-4)

Georgia snapped a three game losing streak, which is good. But they had to do it in overtime, fighting off a comeback from the Vancouver Warriors, which is not so good. The Swarm of late have a knack for taking a lead, but struggling to hold it. They had a lead in each of their games they lost during the streak, and obviously nearly lost a lead against Vancouver. Closing games out and playing with a lead is an important trait for top level teams, and right now that’s the thing that Georgia is struggling to do well. The Swarm travel to Rochester this weekend.

8 Panther City Lacrosse Club (3-4)

PCLC should have saved some of the goals they had two weeks ago for this week. Saskatchewan held them to nine goals. Jonathan Donville went 0-9 shooting, and only two players had multiple goals for Panther City. Nike Damude played pretty well, but the PCLC offense sputtering a bit and having a hard time with Frank Scigliano was big. PCLC had a big edge in loose balls, but the possession that came from it just didn’t get turned into enough goals. They host the Mammoth this weekend. 

7 New York Riptide (4-4)

Wouldn’t be a stretch to call them the hottest team in the league. Winners of three straight, underdogs in all three, against Buffalo, Georgia, and Calgary. The offense is humming, and the power play looks like the best in the league. Cam Dunkerley has made big saves in big moments during the win streak, that has been critical. The schedule remains difficult for New York, they host San Diego on Marvel night this Saturday. 

6 Rochester Knighthawks (3-4)

If you want to tell me this is too high, I probably won’t argue much. The Hawks are in a hairy spot right now. They’ve dropped four straight, but those four are against Buffalo twice, Halifax, and San Diego, and only one was at home. The offense can still score like crazy. In that four game losing streak they still put up over 12 goals a game, even with an eight spot against Halifax bringing the average down. If you put them on the floor today against New York or PCLC, I probably lean Rochester’s way. The Hawks need to find a way to keep the ball out of their net though. It’s not sustainable to rely on winning games 15-13 all year. They’ve given up 83 goals in six games, there are teams who have played an entire extra game and given up fewer than that. If they can’t find a way to play consistent defense and get some better goaltending, they’ll continue to slide. Rochester is back home to play Georgia this weekend. 

5 Albany Firewolves (6-2)

The Cinderalla part of this story is over. Now Albany is just a good team. They have good players, they aren’t surprising anyone, they are going to take the floor with expectations that they beat most teams at this point. That, combined with the fact that there is now a scout for them, means they’ll need to execute and be sharp every week. They were an underdog in their first six games, won all six. As a favorite in their last two, they’ve lost outright. Managing just six goals against Vegas is surprising. That said, Alex Simmons won’t have too many more games where he goes 0-13 shooting. Justin Geddie was over 80% in net, while Dougie Jamieson is on injured reserve. Albany is idle this weekend and can get some mojo back before they host Colorado.

4 Halifax Thunderbirds (4-3)

That’s more like it. The Birds have won two in a row. First against Rochester, then avenged an OT loss to Philly earlier in the year with an OT win. Halifax putting up 16 goals without Randy Staats in the lineup is a testament to their offensive depth. I consider Halifax, on paper, to be good enough to beat anyone. And the defense, unless they’re playing the Wings for some reason, has been very good. Teams not named Philadelphia are averaging under 10 goals a game against the Birds, even with matchups against New York, Albany, Rochester, and Toronto in there. The Birds host Las Vegas this weekend. 

3 San Diego Seals (6-2)

San Diego put a hurting on Colorado this week and has now won four straight. Austin Staats recorded his first career sock trick, and it’s scary to think about how is game is actually still improving and developing. His the leading goal scorer for the Seals, and just a point behind Wes Berg for the team lead in points. Chris Origlieri looks every bit like a netminder you can point to and say “well we’re good at that spot for the next decade.” He was over 80% yet again this week. San Diego visits a red hot Riptide team this weekend. 

2 Toronto Rock (6-1)

Toronto got back to their winning ways against a Calgary team that was on the second day of a double dip. Toronto took a lead about a minute into the 2nd quarter and never trailed again, even though Calgary kept it pretty tight. Toronto is getting closer to full strength. TD Ierlan was back for this game and went 70% against a good opponent in Justin Inacio. Tom Schreiber is healthy and had seven points, he now has 13 in two games. And, of course, Nick Rose was saving everything. It took goals like a Jesse King one hander or a BTB change up from Tanner Cook to beat him. Toronto hosts Calgary for the second half of a home and home this weekend. 

1 Buffalo Bandits (5-3)

Seemed like maybe a controversial pick for the top spot last week? If you want to tell me any of the teams I have 1-3 deserve to be one, I you’re making a fair argument. Buffalo however is the only one that’s beaten the other two. And the way they are playing right now, particularly on offense, you could put them on the floor against anyone and I’d pick Buffalo. It’s a different star every week for the Bandits. Four different players had six or more points for the against Rochester. Three different players with hat tricks. They are idle this week and then visit Halifax.


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