Let’s just start with a wonderful quote from Matthew McConaughey in Wolf of Wall Street.
“Number one rule of Wall Street. Nobody - and I don't care if you're Warren Buffet or if you're Jimmy Buffet - nobody knows if a stock is going to go up, down, sideways or in circles.”
Now instead of Wall Street, make it the NLL, and instead of a stock, make it literally any team. This week, there were five games. The underdog on DraftKings won outright in four of them. Last weeks’ 13th ranked team (New York) beat a top five team (Buffalo). The number two team lost. The bottom ranked team won. I’ll continue to take my best shot at this but, and this is the best thing about the NLL season so far to me, is that I really don’t know who the best team is. After number one that is.
15 Saskatchewan Rush (1-4)
The Rush couldn’t hold onto a lead against Vancouver, and so they slide back into the 15 spot as the league’s only one win team. If you lose to the 15th ranked team, you become the 15th ranked team. That’s the case here. I don’t expect it too last long, I still really like Zach Manns are some of the things the Rush do in transition and on offense. They’ll notch some quality wins. Up next for them, after a week off, is Panther city on February 3rd.
14 Las Vegas Desert Dogs (2-3)
Idle this week, Vegas will play Panther City this week.
13 Vancouver Warriors (2-4)
Vancouver looked like they were on their way to dropping another one as the third quarter wound down. They trailed 9-5 entering the 4th. But a 6-0 run, including three goals from Adam Charalambides, delivered an 11-9 win over Saskatchewan on the road. Charalambides looks better every week for me, he finished with seven points. Keegan Bal had five, Kevin Crowley had four. The Warriors welcome Colorado this weekend.
12 Colorado Mammoth (2-4)
As always, write off Colorado at your own risk. The win this week wasn’t exactly earth shattering, but Colorado needed a win and got one. Eli McLaughlin scored twice in under a minute in the 1st quarter to set the tone, and Colorado had the answers from there. McLaughlin finished with six points, Connor Robinson had six assists, and Connor Kelly scored four goals for the Mammoth. Dillon Ward made 37 saves, and Colorado may be righting the ship. They travel to Vancouver this weekend to keep things on the up and up.
11 New York Riptide (2-4)
That’s a statement. Jeff Teat had 10 points, the most of any player in the league this weekend, as New York went into Buffalo and knocked off the Bandits. New York has won two of their last three and the offense has really clicked the last two weeks. They may have the best power play in the league. They are starting a brutal stretch of schedule in the best possible way, with a confidence building win on the road against a heavyweight opponent. They welcome Georgia to town this weekend.
10 Philadelphia Wings (2-3)
Idle this week, the Wings take on San Diego in week nine.
9 Panther City Lacrosse Club (2-3)
Idle this week off a win over NY, Panther City plays Vegas this week.
8 Calgary Roughnecks (2-3)
Another of the we didn’t see that coming variety. Calgary beat up on weaker teams the last two weekends, and the game against Mammoth felt like it should be more of the same. Shows what we know. Calgary was playing catchup the whole game, closing to within a goal or even tying it, and Colorado always had the answer. Jesse King remains masterful and had seven more assists for the Roughnecks. They are off this weekend before hosting New York on February 2nd.
7 Halifax Thunderbirds (2-3)
Idle this week, Halifax battles Rochester this week.
6 Buffalo Bandits (3-3)
Well we didn’t see that one coming. Buffalo lost at home to the Riptide after they won two in a row against Colorado and Rochester. Buffalo was the weekend’s heaviest favorite and lost outright. They fell behind big early, allowing an eight goal 2nd quarter that briefly chased Matt Vinc. The Bandits offense got what it usually gets, big games from Byrne, Smith, Fraser, and Nanticoke, while Mackay did damage in transition. But New York buried power play opportunities and high quality looks, and it got too many of those chances for Buffalo to overcome. The Bandits visit Toronto this weekend.
5 Rochester Knighthawks (3-2)
Idle this week, they’ll take on Halifax in week nine.
4 Georgia Swarm (4-3)
Georgia took a lead into the 4th against Toronto, but couldn’t complete the job. The Swarm got what they needed for the most part. Lyle Thompson had six points, Dobson with 35 saves in goal, Jeremy Thompson handling faceoffs well against an Ierlan-less Rock. Shayne Jackson was held goalless, though he did have three assists, which is a testament to the Rock defense. Georgia’s last two opponents have been Albany and Toronto. This weekend they travel to New York to face the Riptide.
3 Albany Firewolves (6-1)
They had to lose sooner or late. Albany made a valiant effort to come back against San Diego, but were squashed. Just two points from Alex Simmons and three from Tye Kurtz, two thirds of the dynamic Albany trio didn’t quite have the production they’ve had most weeks. Doug Jamieson got chased at halftime. Albany gets to regroup this weekend, then on February 3rd we see how they play coming off a loss when they host Vegas.
2 San Diego Seals (4-2)
The Seals won in convincing fashion over the darlings of the NLL, the Albany Firewolves. 14-7 says a lot. San Diego scored less than a minute in via Curtis Dickson, and didn’t trail or get tied again for the entire game. Up 7-2 at half, Albany threatened in the 3rd, but the Seals found their rhythm again in the 4hth and scored the game’s final five goals. Chris Origlieri with 44 saves. Austin Staats and Wes Berg both had seven points. San Diego travels to Philly this weekend.
1 Toronto Rock (5-0)
The Rock got a bit of a scare this week. Georgia had a one goal lead heading into the 4th quarter. But Toronto buckled down as they have all year, and put the clamps on. The Swarm didn’t have an even strength goal in the final frame and Toronto outscored them 5-0 over the last 15 minutes. 38 saves for Nick Rose who looks unbeatable in goal, plus big games from Dan Craig and Corey Small, delivered the win. TD Ierlan headed to IR this week, a blow to possession time for the Rock, but they overcame it this week. Next up, the Bandits come to town.