The Edmonton Rush (4-0) used a second-half comeback in Week 5 to move atop the NLL Power Rankings. (Photo: Dale MacMillan)
After three thrilling one-goal games in Week 5 of the 2014 National Lacrosse League season, IL Indoor's Brian Shanahan has released his NLL Power Rankings with a new team atop the poll for the first time this year. And to make things even more interesting, the top four teams in the ranks will play against one of the others this weekend. Week 6 features matchups between the first & third and second & fourth-ranked teams.
With an impressive 9-8 comeback road win over the Vancouver Stealth, the Edmonton Rush (4-0) are now the only unbeaten team in the league. The Buffalo Bandits (4-1), on a four-game win streak of their own, helped make that happen by holding on for an 11-10 home win over the two-time defending champion Rochester Knighthawks (3-1) to snap their win streak and four-week reign of the top spot of the rankings.
"There were only three games in Week 5 of the NLL but each game was an exciting one goal decision," Shanahan writes. "In Calgary, John Grant’s overtime winner was the type of goal that only he can score. After making a one handed catch with a defender draped all over him, Grant scored on a no-look over the shoulder shot. That victory gave Colorado a much needed second victory this season. In Vancouver the Stealth built up a 7-2 lead but were outshot 32-16 in the second half and more importantly outscored 7-1 to give the Edmonton Rush a 8-7 win and their fourth straight victory to start the season. The Buffalo Bandits also got their fourth straight victory by a final score of 11-10 and handed Rochester their first loss. If you want an example of why lacrosse is such an exciting game check out the last few minutes of that game. Buffalo was leading 11-5 with less than five minutes remaining when Rochester silenced the Buffalo crowd with 5 straight goals. Jay Thorimbert’s faceoff win with 19 seconds remaining allowed Buffalo to hang on for the victory and let the fans go home happy. There are some changes to the Power Rankings. Let’s check it out."
1) Edmonton Rush (4-0) (+1)
The Rush showed resilience on Saturday in their come from behind 8-7 victory over the Vancouver Stealth. They are the highest scoring team. They have the best goals against average and even though it’s still early in the NLL season they have shown they are capable of beating teams in different ways. Next week the Rochester Knighthawks are in Edmonton. Even though the defending champs are no longer undefeated, that won’t dampen the anticipation surrounding next week’s battle.
2) Buffalo Bandits (4-1) (+1)
A huge 11-10 victory over the Rochester Knighthawks confirms what we thought we were seeing. The Buffalo Bandits are back. After taking last weekend off John Tavares scored 4 goals for the Bandits and veteran goaltender Anthony Cosmo looks like he may have regained the form that made him one of the world’s best box goaltenders a few years ago. Next weekend the Bandits will host another rival, the hated Toronto Rock in their second battle of the year.