The 2015 National Lacrosse League season has officially reached the midway point after four games in NLL Week 9. Entering the second half of the year, where do teams stand in the postseason race and quest for the Champion’s Cup? Check out updated NLL Power Rankings by Brian Shanahan on IL Indoor.
“There were four games in the NLL this weekend,” Shanahan writes. “The marquee event was between the first-place Toronto Rock and Edmonton Rush on Friday night in Edmonton. While it wasn’t the low scoring defensive battle we expected, it was a 1-goal barn burner that went to overtime. Rob Hellyer scored his 5th goal and 10th point of the night to give Toronto the 16-15 victory.
“On Saturday, there were three games. The Buffalo Bandits were hosting the Colorado Mammoth. Buffalo had Davide DiRuscio in net due to Anthony Cosmo’s injury. Buffalo scored the only 3 goals in the fourth quarter to turn a 11-11 tie into a 14-11 victory. Meanwhile, about an hour along the Interstate 90, the Rochester Knighthawks hung on for a 12-11 victory over the Calgary Roughnecks. Rochester had built a 7-1 first quarter lead before the Roughnecks woke up. They scored the next 6 goals to tie it up at 7 and then it turned into a game. The late game on Saturday was in Vancouver. The Swarm was without the injured Callum Crawford, their top scorer and backup goalie Brodie MacDonald, who was about to become a father.”
1) Toronto Rock (8-1): For the second straight week the Toronto Rock won in overtime, this time by a 16-15 score against the Edmonton Rush. Toronto got 10 points from both Josh Sanderson and Rob Hellyer. Brandon Miller was channelling his best Grant Fuhr. Although he was not at his best allowing 15 goals, he was tremendous after Edmonton got its 15th and is a big reason Toronto was able to get the win. Toronto travels to Colorado next weekend.
2) Rochester Knighthawks (6-3) (+1): Rochester had its hands full with the visiting Calgary Roughnecks but as it has so often done in the last few years, Rochester did what it needed to do during crunch time. After Curtis Dickson scored 3 goals in a minute in a half to tie the score at 11 early in the fourth quarter, the Knighthawks shut down Calgary the rest of the game. Cody Jamieson scored the winning goal for the second week in a row. Rochester has next weekend off but will play in Calgary in two weeks.
4) Buffalo Bandits (5-5) (+1): Backup goaltender Davide DiRuscio stopped 36 of 47 shots earning a 14-11 win over Colorado in his first NLL start with Anthony Cosmo on the PUP list. (Cosmo is expected back next weekend). The game also marked the return of the legend John Tavares who had missed the last 6 games with injury. Tavares scored 1 goal and 3 assists. The Bandits have next weekend off but will play a home and home against Toronto in two weeks.
6) Vancouver Stealth (4-4): The Vancouver Stealth dismantled the Minnesota Swarm by a score of 21-15. Vancouver’s offence is firing on all cylinders as even goaltender Tyler Richards got a goal. Vancouver now has the most potent offence in the NLL. Unfortunately they also have the league’s worst goals-against average. Vancouver has next weekend off but will travel to Edmonton in two weeks.
9) Calgary Roughnecks (1-7): Calgary played a good game but came up on the short end of a 12-11 score against the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday. Curtis Dickson continues to score clutch goals as he scored Calgary’s last four goals to give it a chance to win. It doesn’t get any easier for Calgary. Next Friday it plays in Edmonton and then hosts Rochester the following week.
Click here for Shanny’s full NLL Power Rankings after Week 9 with expert insight and analysis on IL Indoor.