The Rochester Knighthawks (12-4) held the second spot on IL Indoor's NLL Power Rankings for Week 16. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
After five thrilling games in the National Lacrosse League this past weekend, IL Indoor's Brian Shanahan has released his NLL Power Rankings after Week 16. With just two weekends left on the schedule before playoffs, teams are making their push to get ready for the postseason in their quest for the Champion's Cup.
"It took 16 weeks but the Edmonton Rush are no longer undefeated," Shanahan writes. "The fact that the streak came to an end this weekend should not be a huge surprise. Edmonton was playing in tough back-to-back road games at Colorado and Calgary. Four of the eight ILIndoor writers had the Edmonton Rush losing this weekend (I refused to pick against them after being wrong the last 3 times I doubted them). However, everyone thought the loss would come in Game 2 in Calgary. Instead the Rush’s winning streak ends at 14 as the Colorado Mammoth defeated Edmonton 10-8 in front of 17,109 appreciative fans.
"On Saturday, Edmonton got back to its winning ways, defeating the Calgary Roughnecks in front of another huge crowd of more than 15,000. In other games this weekend, the Toronto Rock clinched a playoff spot by defeating the Philadelphia Wings 10-9 at the ACC. The Buffalo Bandits lost their 5th straight game as the Minnesota Swarm held on for a 10-9 victory. In Rochester, the Vancouver Stealth played a defensive gem in holding the Knighthawks to 34 shots but as it often happens, when push came to shove, the Knighthawks turned it on and scored the last three goals of the game for a 10-7 victory."
1) Edmonton Rush (15-1)
Take a bow Edmonton. That 14 game winning streak is a huge accomplishment and a record that won’t be broken for a long time. The streak included 5 one goal victories and two wins against the defending champ Rochester Knighthawks as well as two against the explosive Calgary Roughnecks. On Saturday the Rush started their new winning streak by defeating Calgary for the third time this season with a lot of help from sophomore Curtis Knight, who scored 6 goals and 3 assists. The Rush will finish their season with two games at home as they host Calgary next week and Vancouver the following week.
2) Rochester Knighthawks (12-4)
The Rochester Knighthawks didn’t look overly impressive in their 10-7 win over the Vancouver Stealth but does it really matter when Rochester consistently performs in crunch time.Cody Jamison, Dan Dawson, Cory Viterelli and Johnny Powless all look like they just can’t wait for the last five minutes of a close game. Next week the Knighthawks will get a chance to make the Buffalo Bandits more miserable as they face them in their first of a home and home series to end the regular season.
4) Toronto Rock (7-9) (+1)
The Toronto Rock played their first full game without Garrett Billings and got the victory they needed to secure a playoff spot in the East. Brandon Miller only allowed 2 goals on the final 34 shots to give Toronto the 10-9 win over the Philadelphia Wings. Rob Hellyer has continued to carry the load with Billings out as he scored three goals and 5 assists. He now has 20 points in the last two games. Rookie Nick Diachenko played in Billings spot and contributed with a goal and two assists. Next week the Toronto Rock will host the Buffalo Bandits in a first round playoff preview.
5) Buffalo Bandits (8-7) (-1)
The Buffalo Bandits lost their 5th game in a row and it was their second loss to the lowly Minnesota Swarm as the home team hung on for a 10-9 victory. Buffalo’s lock on second place is not looking as secure as it did a few weeks ago. Next week they will be playing their two greatest rivals as they travel to Toronto on Friday and then Rochester on Saturday.