Week 13 in the National Lacrosse League featured four games with two matchups on both Saturday and Sunday, capped off by Gavin Prout’s emotional #9 jersey retirement ceremony with the Colorado Mammoth, who were the only home team to earn a win this past weekend. Where do the teams stand heading into the busiest weekend of the year with eight games in Week 14? Preview Brian Shanahan’s NLL Power Rankings on IL Indoor below and click the link for the full list.
“There were 4 games in the National Lacrosse League this weekend and the biggest news is what happened in Rochester,” Shanahan writes. “One week after the Edmonton Rush defeated the Toronto Rock 11-9 in a playoff type battle, we were expecting a similar game in Rochester as the defending champs were hosting the Rush. What happened instead could not have been predicted by anyone. The Rush crushed the Knighthawks by a score of 16-3, equalling the NLL’s worst offensive effort ever. Needless to say, Edmonton is starting to look like the power house it was for most of last season.”
“In Calgary, we did get the game we were expecting. Most of us believed that the desperate Calgary Roughnecks would throw everything at the Toronto Rock, who were without their leading scorer Rob Hellyer. They did, but like so many games this season, the Roughnecks found a way to lose a close one (and the Rock found a way to win a close one). Toronto scored 3 goals in the last minute to defeat the Calgary Roughnecks 11-9.
“In the battle for fourth place in the East, the Minnesota Swarm got their first win in 7 games by defeating the New England Black Wolves by a score of 13-9. Finally in the late game of the weekend, Colorado rookie goaltender Alex Buque made 49 saves in his first start, earning a 12-6 win over the Vancouver Stealth on Gavin Prout retirement night.
“The other big news of the weekend is that the Rochester Knighthawks signed Toronto’s Garrett Billings to an offer sheet on Saturday morning. Since Billings is a restricted free agent, Toronto has until Monday night to match the offer. I can’t see any possibility of Toronto not matching the offer.”
1) Toronto Rock (11-3): Despite going 1-for-7 on the power play and allowing 4 power play goals against, the Toronto Rock found a way to win their game against the Calgary Roughnecks in Calgary. Nick Rose was solid in net and Toronto got late goals from big Brock Sorensen and Brett Hickey that turned a late 10-9 deficit into a 12-10 victory. The win clinches a playoff spot for the Rock but they are more concerned about taking first place in the division and if they can win against the Rochester Knighthawks next week, it will virtually lock that up.
2) Edmonton Rush (7-4) (+1): Over the last two weeks, the Edmonton Rush tested themselves against the top two teams in the East. Last week they passed the test, this week they aced it. The Rush displayed a dominance that the Knighthawks have not experienced in 5 years as they throttled the Knighthawks by a score of 16-3. Up next for the Rush are the Vancouver Stealth, whom they play twice next weekend.
3) Rochester Knighthawks (7-4) (-1): Maybe they were flat after a bye week. Maybe they underestimated how good the Edmonton Rush really are. Whatever the reason for the Rochester losing by a score of 16-3 to Edmonton, it better regroup fast because next week’s game in Toronto will likely be Rochester’s last chance to stay in the first-place race with the Toronto Rock.
5) Colorado Mammoth (7-5): The Colorado Mammoth won their third game in a row by defeating the Vancouver Stealth 12-6. The win allows the Mammoth to keep pace with the Edmonton Rush for first place in the West Division and at the very least gives them a little more breathing room over Vancouver and Calgary. Speaking of Calgary, the Mammoth will play a home and home series against the Roughnecks next weekend.
8) Minnesota Swarm (4-8) (+1): After losing 6 straight, the Minnesota Swarm finally got a win by defeating the New England Black Wolves 13-9. Next weekend they will get a second crack at the Black Wolves on Friday before heading to Rochester on Saturday.