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NLL Power Rankings, Week 5

We’re back with power rankings! Took a week off following the Christmas weekend since there were only three games, but with a loaded schedule last weekend, it’s time for an update. There’s a new number one that has a very firm hold on the spot, some risers, Albany’s hot start continues, and more. 


15 New York Riptide


New York has had a tough go to start the year. They dropped the opener against Philly, then two games with tough opponents in Halifax and Toronto. Jeff Teat got going in last weekend against the Rock, but it wasn’t enough. New York has scored 9+ goals just once in three games, while surrender 13 in the opener and 14 against each of their next two opponents. 0-3 overall, 0-3 against the spread, hit the under three times, that’s how you find yourself ranked 15th. 


14 Las Vegas Desert Dogs


Vegas got right steamrolled in Calgary last weekend, dropped them to 1-3. Their lone win was of the miraculous variety against PCLC, requiring both a buzzer beater and an OT game winner. Rob Hellyer leads the team in scoring, but he, Jack Hannah and Casey Jackson are the only players on the team in the top 60 in the NLL in points right now. They’ll need to find some more depth of scoring. They have promising rookies like Sean Westley and Dylan Watson


13 Panther City Lacrosse Club


Panther City was idle last weekend and hasn't played since before Christmas. They currently sit at 1-2, having beaten the Warriors and lost to Vegas in OT by a miracle. They've been in every game, and are a young team that looks better every week. Staying within three goals of Toronto, and putting up 10 on them, isn't an easy feat. They'll get the chance to make a statement this weekend when they visit Georgia.


12 Saskatchewan Rush


The Rush steamrolled Vegas and gave Albany a hell of a game on New Year’s Eve, but came up just short in OT. Holding Albany to 11 goals, their lowest total of the year so far, is an impressive feat. And Zach Manns in particular looks better every week. Saskatchewan is a team moving in the right direction. Two early season losses to top of the league level teams, and an OT loss to Albany. Their three losses came against teams ranked 8 or higher this week.  


11 Vancouver Warriors


The Warriors snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against Colorado. Up 11-5 at halftime, they couldn’t put anything by Tyler Carlson in the second half. Literally. They didn’t score in the entire second half. In fact, the first time they trailed was when Colorado won it in OT. Adam Charalambides is developing well into the top lefty for Vancouver, but it’s tough to rank them higher than this after that gut wrenching loss.


10 Colorado Mammoth


Easy enough to put Colorado above Vancouver, who they just beat. After starting the year getting blown out by Georgia twice, at halftime, it looked like another bad beating was coming for the Mammoth. To their credit, and very much on brand, they rallied when they needed it most, and pulled out a win in a game they had to have. Getting Joey Cupido back was huge, and Tyler Carlson was a hero in the second half. 


9 Calgary Roughnecks


Like Colorado, Calgary got right after a tough start to the year. Losing in each of the first two weeks, the Riggers had a long break to get themselves organized before their home opener. They had the chance to really build confidence against Vegas, and they did just that, putting up 17 goals. Jesse King has been unconscious through three games, he trails only Dhane Smith in assists right now and is sixth in the league in points. 


8 Halifax Thunderbirds


A decent sized drop for Halifax as they fall to Philly this week. It even feels a bit low to me, but I struggled to put them ahead of a team they just lost to, so the Birds land here. They got outscored 10-5 in the second half, something that just shouldn’t happen to a team with this good an offense against a defense like Philly’s. With their depth of weapons, it’s probably just a blip on the radar. Ryan Benesch had eight points, Randy Staats and Cody Jamieson six each. 


7 Philadelphia Wings


A massive win for Philly. Losing Blaze Riorden and Holden Cattoni clearly disrupted the offense a bit, but they found a groove in this one. Halifax defense is not to be taken lightly. Graeme Hossack, Ryan Terefenko, Jake Withers, those are some heavyweight defenders. Philly had games against New York and Saskatchewan coming up, so they have chance to get real positive momentum going before an end of the month showdown with San Diego.


6 Rochester Knighthawks


A tough loss to San Diego is the first of the year for Rochester. They’re still a scoring machine, putting up 14 goals in the loss. Connor Fields is tied for the league lead in points at 27. Rochester is in an important stretch now. Their next four games are the Bandits twice, Halifax, and Georgia. They’ll need to tighten up on defense, it won’t be easy to just try and out gun all year.


5 Buffalo Bandits


A home loss to Georgia drops the Bandits a few spots. Buffalo now sits at 1-2, with losses to Albany and Georgia and a win over San Diego. All those teams are currently ranked in front of them here, and Buffalo is 5th, so it’s been a very difficult first month of the year for them. Up next, a title rematch with Colorado at home. After that, it’s Rochester. The Bandits are good enough to stay in the mix at the top through the first half of the year, and their back half schedule is much easier. 


4 Georgia Swarm


Georgia now rolling, with a major statement win in Buffalo. The only goalies with a better GAA and save percentage then Brett Dobson, among regular starters, are Nick Rose and Nick Damude, and both have played one fewer game than Dobson. 40+ saves in each of the last two games, with just eight goals allowed. And that’s against Colorado and Buffalo. Georgia welcomes Panther City to the Peach State this weekend. 


3 Albany Firewolves


You can make a case to have them at two. You really can. After all, they now sit at 4-0. Their Bandits win is an impressive one. Alex Simmons is tied for the league lead in points. They still have yet to be a favorite in a game, getting goals every time out. This weekend they have one of the best games on the slate, as they’ll host Halifax. The young core of Albany’s offense against the veteran strength of the Halifax defense, plus a Joe Nardella vs Jake Withers faceoff battle, is must see.


2 San Diego Seals


A strong home win over Rochester has the Seals up to the two spot. They trailed at halftime in this game, but had a massive third quarter where Dane Dobbie, Tre Leclaire, and Austin Staats really took over. The 4-1 run was the difference, and the defense held it down late to secure the win. Chris Origlieri made 43 saves, a solid outing against a very dangerous offense for the youngster. San Diego is idle this weekend, and heads to Vegas next week.


1 Toronto Rock


Nobody looking better than Toronto. And we keep saying it, but it’s scary that they look this good without Tom Schreiber or Latrell Harris. If you want to knock their 3-0 record at all, you could say that their wins came against teams that are basically bottom half of the league in Philly, PCLC, and New York. But the fact is that right now Toronto has given up 25 goals in three games. Nobody else in the league is under 30 (with the caveat that many teams have played four games). But on a goals allowed per game basis, they blow everyone out of the water. Nick Rose has the best GAA in the league and best save percentage in the league among regular starters, and he absolutely robbed New York multiple times over the weekend. And that’s to say nothing of the impact Mark Matthews is having on the offense end. He leads the team with 14 points. Toronto is idle this weekend and then is the TSN Game of the Week against Halifax next weekend.


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