Preview the NLL Power Rankings after Week 12 by Brian Shanahan on IL Indoor below as the 2016 NLL regular season enters the final one-third of the schedule. See which teams are primed for a playoff push down the stretch starting with seven games in Week 13 including four on Friday night.
“There were only 3 games in the National Lacrosse League this past weekend,” Shanahan writes. “On Friday, the Rochester Knighthawks were looking like the team that won 3 straight championships as they stifled the Georgia offence for an 11-4 victory.”
On Saturday, the Calgary Roughnecks hosted the first-place Colorado Mammoth. The last time they met the Mammoth won 13-8 and then the Roughnecks went on to lose 3 straight games, all in overtime. On Saturday the Roughnecks avenged that loss by defeating the Mammoth 13-9. In doing so they also shut out Adam Jones, something that no one could do in his last 57 games.
In Vancouver, coach Jamie Batley was making his debut with the Stealth without Garret Billings (lower body) and Logan Schuss (upper body) and if you thought the game plan would be all defense you’d be wrong. In the highest scoring game since 2007, the Stealth were trailing 16-15 heading into the 4th quarter. After that the wheels fell off as Saskatchewan outscored Vancouver 8-1 the rest of the way for 24-16 victory.
Was that victory enough to move the Stealth into first in the Power Rankings? Let’s check it out.
1) Colorado Mammoth (8-3): The Mammoth are still on top but their hold is getting precarious. Not only was Adam Jones shut out with regard to goals but he failed to get a point for the Mammoth. Will that become the blue print for defeating the Mammoth? Shut down Adam Jones? It’s easier said than done and don’t be surprised if he bounces back with 5 or 6 next week when the Mammoth get their chance at revenge as they host the Roughnecks on Saturday.
3) Saskatchewan Rush (7-3): The Saskatchewan Rush defeated the Vancouver Stealth 24-16 on Saturday. It’s probably not the type victory that Coach Keenan would like to see, but it’s a little scary that the defensive minded Rush can put up 24 goals. Zach Greer and Curtis Knight each scored 5 goals for the Rush. Next week the Rush will play the Toronto Rock twice; Friday at the ACC on the TSN game of the week and then again on Saturday at the Sasktel Centre.
4) Rochester Knighthawks (6-5): The Knighthawks defeated the Georgia Swarm 11-4 on Saturday, avenging a 13-9 loss on Jan. 30. Joe Walters continues to have a hot hand for the Knighthawks as he scored 6 points and now has 14 points in his last two games. Next week the Knighthawks will play the New England Knighthawks on Friday and Saturday.
6) Calgary Roughnecks (5-7) (+1): The Calgary Roughnecks are on a roll. They won their second game in a row after defeating the first-place Colorado Mammoth 13-9. Jeff Shattler and Curtis Dickson each scored 3 goals for the Roughnecks and Mike Poulin was spectacular at times, making 48 saves for Calgary. The Roughnecks will travel to Georgia and Colorado next weekend.
9) Vancouver Stealth (3-8): Coach Jamie Batley has a lot of work ahead of him if he hopes to get the Vancouver Stealth into the playoffs. The good news was that the Stealth were able to score 16 goals after being held to 6 against the Toronto Rock – and Batley was without stars Garret Billings and Logon Schuss. The bad news is that the Stealth allowed 24 goals and if Billings and Schuss’s injuries keep them out any longer the Stealth will have an almost impossible task ahead of them. Vancouver travels to Buffalo to play the Bandits next Friday.
Click here for the full NLL Power Rankings after Week 12 by Brian Shanahan on IL Indoor.