IL Indoor’s Brian Shanahan has released his NLL Power Rankings after five National Lacrosse League games in Week 5. The Toronto Rock reclaimed the top spot in Shanny’s poll while the Edmonton Rush and Rochester Knighthawks were the biggest movers after weekend wins.
“Before the 2015 National Lacrosse League season started, most ‘experts’ predicted that Rochester, Edmonton and Calgary would be the cream of crop,” Shanahan writes. “After a terrible start for those three teams (combined record of 0-6 to start the season), it now appears that the cream is rising for 2 of those teams. Both Rochester and Edmonton got their second straight wins and in the case of Edmonton, it look every bit as dominant as it did for most of last season.”
1) Toronto Rock (4-1) (+1): For the second week in a row, the Toronto Rock got great and timely goaltending as well as superior work from their specialty teams as they hung on for 12-11 victory over the Calgary Roughnecks. Brandon Miller stopped 46 of 57 shots including a few big saves in the last minute but the big difference in this game was that Toronto scored 4 short-handed goals on Calgary’s 6 power play chances. Toronto got balanced scoring from its lineup but Josh Sanderson continues to lead as he picked up 5 first-half assists before scoring the late winning goal to spoil Calgary’s comeback. The Rock have next week off but will play a home and home series with Minnesota on St. Valentine’s weekend.
2) Colorado Mammoth (3-1) (-1): After laying a 20-9 beating on the Vancouver Stealth last weekend in Denver, the Mammoth met a much more determined Vancouver Stealth at the Langley Events Centre this weekend. While the Mammoth did their best to mount a comeback, the Vancouver Stealth were able to hang on for a 16-13 victory. The Mammoth have next weekend off but will have a huge two games coming up against the Edmonton Rush in two weeks.
3) Edmonton Rush (2-2) (+3): For the second week in a row, the Edmonton Rush easily handled their opposition. This week, the New England Black Wolves were the victims as the Rush scored 18 goals. Mark Matthews scored 6 goals and 4 assists. Ben McIntosh and Zack Greer each scored 4 goals for the Rush, who will have next weekend off before meeting the Colorado Mammoth in a home and home encounter.
4) Rochester Knighthawks (2-2) (+3): Rochester got its second win in a row as it defeated the Buffalo Bandits 17-11 in a game of strange runs. Rochester took a 10-3 lead late in the first half before Buffalo scored 8 straight goals to get an 11-10 lead. After that, the Knighthawks scored 7 in row to finish the game. Joe Walters, the most underrated player in the NLL, scored 5 goals and 2 assists while Dan Dawson had 11 assists. Angus Goodleaf got the victory for Rochester after relieving Matt Vinc late in the 3rd quarter. Rochester plays in Minnesota next Friday.
Click here to find Shanny’s full NLL Power Rankings and expert analyis on Inside Lacrosse via IL Indoor.