Preview the NLL Power Rankings after Week 10 by Brian Shanahan on IL Indoor below to see which teams are trending upward or downward after the second half of the 2016 National Lacrosse League regular season got underway with three Saturday night thrillers. Stay tuned as the playoff race begins to heat up starting with five games in Week 11.
“There were only three games in the National Lacrosse League this weekend and all three games featured West Division teams at home against East Division opponents with the showcase game between the league’s best Colorado Mammoth against the leaders of the East, the New England Black Wolves,” Shanahan writes.
That game did not disappoint as it was back and forth all night and ended with the Mammoth winning by a final score of 14-13. In Calgary, the Roughnecks lost their fourth straight game, the last three all in overtime, by a score of 9-8 against the Rochester Knighthawks.
Finally, in Vancouver, the visiting Buffalo Bandits chased starter Eric Penney by building a quick 4-0 lead on 7 shots and then stretched that lead to a 10-4 by the end of the half. Although Vancouver played better in the second half, the final score was 13-8 for the Buffalo Bandits.
Let’s see how these games affected this week’s Power Rankings.
1) Colorado Mammoth (8-2): After a week where he scored 6 goals in one quarter, it seems almost ordinary when Adam Jones scores 7 in his team’s 14-13 victory over the New England Black Wolves. However, there is nothing ordinary about Jones’s rise to superstardom in the NLL. His first goal of the game gave him an NLL record 56 straight regular season games with at least one goal, breaking the record held by his teammate John Grant Jr. Flying slightly under the radar for Colorado is Callum Crawford, who had another big game with 2 goals and 8 assists. The Mammoth have next week off but will play in Calgary in two weeks.
2) Buffalo Bandits (6-4) (+1): Buffalo’s two-loss weekend seems to be ancient history as it has now spent the last two weekends collecting Air Miles and wins. Last week the Bandits won in Saskatchewan and this week they traveled a few thousand miles to get a 13-8 victory in Vancouver. Much like we are getting used to Adam Jones scoring 5 or 6 goals a game, Dhane’s Smith’s 8-point night now seems average. Goaltender Anthony Cosmo was stellar for the Bandits as he stopped 42 of 50 shots for his third victory of the season. Next Friday the Bandits play their first of three games against the Rochester Knighthawks.
5) Rochester Knighthawks (4-4) (+2): The Knighthawks rebounded from their ugly 17-6 loss in Toronto last week with a hard fought 9-8 overtime victory in Calgary on Saturday. After Rochester finished killing the remains of a penalty early in overtime, was there anyone who didn’t think Dan Dawson was going to score the winning goal after he directed his teammates to clear out of his way on Rochester’s next possession? Dawson made it look too easy when he drove to the net for the winner. It’s hard to believe that the Knighthawks have not yet played the Buffalo Bandits. Next week they will play in Buffalo on Friday and then will host the New England Black Wolves on Saturday.
7) Vancouver Stealth (3-6) (-2): The Stealth got off to a poor start at home against the Buffalo Bandits and despite playing better in the second half, they were unable to put a dent into Buffalo’s 6-goal first half lead. Vancouver’s No. 1-ranked power play was no match for Buffalo’s No. 1-ranked penalty killing as the Stealth’s PP was 2-for-6, allowed 2 short-handed goals and came up empty on a Buffalo 5-minute major early in the second half. Luckily for the Stealth, they managed to stay ahead of the Calgary Roughnecks, who also lost this weekend. Next week the Stealth travel to Toronto to play the Rock on the TSN game of the week.
8) Calgary Roughnecks (3-7): Sooner or later the tide has to turn for the Calgary Roughnecks, who have lost three straight in overtime, this time by a 9-8 score to the Rochester Knighthawks. The Roughnecks play their next game in Toronto on Friday at the ACC.