Preview the newest NLL Power Rankings after Week 11 by Brian Shanahan on IL Indoor below following another exciting weekend in the National Lacrosse League and get ready for three games in Week 12 starting on Friday night with the Georgia Swarm hosting the Rochester Knighthawks.
“There were 5 games in the National Lacrosse League this past weekend,” Shanahan writes. “On Friday in Buffalo, 18,751 fans came out to honour the great John Tavares and had the bonus of seeing their Bandits defeat the Rochester Knighthawks by a score of 13-10. Also on Friday, the Calgary Roughnecks got 6 goals from Curtis Dickson to end their 4-game losing streak when they defeated the Toronto Rock 15-10.”
On Saturday in Rochester, the New England Black Wolves came out flying and built an early 6-1 lead over the Knighthawks. However, Rochester was able to come back for a 17-13 victory. Meanwhile in Saskatchewan, the Rush’s efforts to bring the excitement of box lacrosse to the Canadian Prairies is gaining momentum. They defeated the Georgia Swarm 13-8 in front of the largest crowd at the SaskTel Centre since the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships.
Finally on Sunday, two desperate teams, the Vancouver Stealth and the Toronto Rock met at the ACC. In a battle of the goaltenders, Nick Rose and the Rock came out ahead of Tyler Richards and the Stealth by a 9-6 final.
There are some changes to the Power Rankings. Let’s check it out.
2) Buffalo Bandits (7-4): It was a great night in Buffalo as the Bandit faithful came out to say thank you to legendary John Tavares and watch his number go up to the rafters. That was just the start of a great night that featured your typical Bandits-Knighthawks battle. When the dust settled, it was the Bandits who were victorious by a final score of 13-10. The Bandits will have next weekend off but will welcome the Vancouver Stealth on Friday March 25.
3) Saskatchewan Rush (6-3) (+1): The Saskatchewan Rush got 4 goals and 4 assists from Mark Matthews and played the kind of game that would please any coach, especially the defensive minded Derek Keenan, as they defeated the Georgia Swarm 14-8. After building a 7-1 second quarter lead, the Rush never allowed Georgia to get any closer than 5 goals. Next week the Rush go to Vancouver to meet the Stealth.
4) Rochester Knighthawks (5-5) (+1): The Knighthawks went 1-1 over the weekend. They lost to the Buffalo Bandits by a score of 13-10 on Friday but rebounded against the New England Black Wolves on Saturday with a very important 17-13 victory. These two teams will meet two more times in a couple of weeks but first the Knighthawks will play in Georgia on Friday, March 18.
7) Calgary Roughnecks (4-7) (+1): Sooner or later they were going to catch a break and the Roughnecks finally got the result they were looking for when they defeated the Toronto Rock 15-10 on Friday. Dane Dobbie returned to Calgary’s lineup and scored 2 goals and three assists. Goaltender Mike Poulin’s performance was reminiscent of 2012, when he was the goaltender of the year. But the real hero for Calgary was Curtis Dickson, who was unstoppable. Among Dickson’s 6 goals was one of the prettiest one-handed goals you’ll ever see. The weekend got even better for Calgary when Toronto defeated Vancouver on Sunday, allowing the Roughnecks to take sole possession of third place in the west. Next weekend the Roughnecks will host the first place Colorado Mammoth.
8) Toronto Rock (3-7) (+1): For the first time since Week 2, the Toronto Rock are not at the bottom of the Power Rankings. The Toronto Rock did not get the sweep they wanted this weekend but the split (15-10 loss to Calgary and 9-6 win against Vancouver on Sunday) means that Toronto has won 3 of its last 4 games after starting the season at 0-6. Nick Rose was solid for the Rock and the victory gives him a 3-2 record and the third best save percentage of all NLL goaltenders. Ironically, the only two goaltenders with better save percentages are Tyler Richards and Mike Poulin, his two opponents from the weekend. Toronto has next weekend off but will face the defending champion Rush at home and away on the weekend of March 25.