Week 8 of the 2015 National Lacrosse League season featured highlight-reel goals, beauty assists, good scraps, big hits, dramatic comebacks and two overtime games with the schedule running from Friday through Sunday. With the midpoint of the season coming up next week, where do NLL teams stand now that the dust has settled after a busy weekend? Check out the updated NLL Power Rankings by Brian Shanahan on IL Indoor.
“There were four games in the National Lacrosse League this weekend,” Shanahan writes. “On Friday, the Toronto Rock were hosting the New England Black Wolves in what many thought would be an easy win for the Rock. New England had a different idea and when the hard-working Black Wolves built a 10-5 lead in the fourth quarter it looked like they would be getting their first win since they defeated the Rochester Knighthawks 17-7 back in January. It was not to be as Toronto clawed its way back into the game and won 13-12 in overtime on a goal by 38-year-old veteran Josh Sanderson.
“On Saturday, the Rochester Knighthawks did the exact same thing to the Buffalo Bandits, who were leading Rochester by a score of 11-6 late in the third period. Rochester outscored Buffalo 6-1 the rest of the way, including the OT winner by Cody Jamieson. In Calgary, the Roughnecks finally got their first victory of the season as Curtis Dickson scored 7 goals for the victors. On Sunday, the Colorado Mammoth got back on the winning track. If not for Drew Westervelt scoring an insurance goal with 17 seconds remaining, we might have had our third 13-12 game of the weekend. Instead, it was a 14-12 victory for Colorado over the New England Black Wolves.”
1) Toronto Rock (7-1): It wasn’t easy but the Toronto Rock showed a lot of composure as they scored 8 goals in the last 20 minutes of the game to turn a potential upset into a 13-12 overtime victory. Josh Sanderson is continuing to have the type of season we would have expected from him 10 years ago. His 7 points has put him back on top of league scoring with 51 points in 8 games. Brett Hickey is also the biggest steal of the year. His four goals have given him 22 on the season, second best in the NLL. The 24-year-old Hickey had only played 9 games previous to this season (with the Stealth) and had a total of 5 career goals. Next week, we’ll have a battle between the East and the West division leaders as the Rock travel to Edmonton to take on the Rush.
3) Rochester Knighthawks (5-3): A week ago, the Rochester Knighthawks scored the last 6 goals of the game to defeat the Buffalo Bandits 15-10. This week was even more impressive as Rochester scored the last 5 of the game to defeat the Bandits 13-12 in OT. Cody Jamieson scored the last three goals of the game and finished the night with four. The win was the third victory over Buffalo for Rochester this season and gives them the series sweep. Next week, Rochester will host the Calgary Roughnecks.
4) Colorado Mammoth (4-3) (+1): Colorado ended its three game losing streak as it hung on for a 14-12 victory over the pesky New England Black Wolves.Adam Jones led all Colorado scorers with four goals. The Mammoth travel to Buffalo next weekend to meet the Buffalo Bandits.
9) Calgary Roughnecks (1-6): Curtis Dickson scored 7 goals in leading the Calgary Roughnecks to their long awaited first victory of the season. Calgary did not play much differently than it had for almost every game this season. They scored a lot, and allowed a lot of goals against. The only difference this week was that when the final buzzer went, Calgary had more goals than the opposition. Next week will not be easy as the Roughnecks travel to Rochester for the first time since losing to them in last season’s championship.
Click here for Shanny’s full NLL Power Rankings after Week 8 along with more expert analysis on IL Indoor.