#1 – Buffalo Bandits (6-2)
Week 9 Result: 13-9 win at Philadelphia, 16-10 win at New York
Week 10 Opponent: at Rochester (6-1)
Previous Ranking: 3rd
The Bandits are back on top after coasting to fairly comfortable victories against a couple of their East Conference rivals. Sure, the Philadelphia Wings and New York Riptide are struggling right now, but it’s never easy to win back-to-back games on the road, particularly when you have to play those games on back-to-back nights. A better first half against the Wings would have made a more assertive case for the #1 spot in the rankings, but the Bandits are are playing consistent, on-brand impressive lacrosse right now.
#2 – Toronto Rock (5-2)
Week 9 Result: 11-10 OT win at Calgary
Week 10 Opponent: vs New York (1-5)
Previous Ranking: 2nd
The Rock pulled out a very difficult road victory against the feisty Calgary Roughnecks in Week 9, but I’m sure they would like to redo the final three minutes of the 4th quarter. Despite a mini-collapse, which allowed the Roughnecks to force OT, for 57 minutes the Rock held the talented Roughnecks offense to only seven goals. Allowing only 10 goals is still very impressive – only the Colorado Mammoth have held the Roughnecks to fewer goals this season. The Rock are now on a 4-game winning streak and will be looking to bring that win streak to five games in Week 10 against the Riptide. If they can win five straight, that will tie their longest win streak over the last three seasons.
#3 – Rochester Knighthawks (6-1)
Week 9 Result: 17-7 loss at Halifax
Week 10 Opponent: at Buffalo (6-2)
Previous Ranking: 1st
It was bound to happen sooner or later. The only team to go undefeated in NLL history was the 1993 Buffalo Bandits, and they only played an 8-game season. However, this was more than just a loss. Losing by 10 goals is uncommon and it’s even more unheard of to have an undefeated team (at this point of the season) to lose by that many goals. Nevertheless, this team has still shown that they can play with the big boys this season. In Week 10 the Knighthawks will get a chance to steal the season series against the Bandits, who they beat 15-12 in Week 8. A road victory against the #1 ranked team could catapult this team back to #1 next week.
#4 – San Diego Seals (5-1)
Week 9 Result: 13-9 win at Colorado
Week 10 Opponent: vs Panther City (4-3)
Previous Ranking: 5th
The Seals are moving up after their significant road victory versus the Colorado Mammoth in Week 9. They stormed out to 5-0 lead and a 7-2 lead at halftime and that silenced the hometown faithful. The Seals benefitted from facing Tyler Carlson instead of Dillon Ward who was out due to injury, but that should not take much away from their scorching start. Christopher Origlieri performed very well in net and the Seals defense allowed their fewest goals all season long. This one was of the team’s most complete games so far this season, although matching that first half energy in the final 30 minutes could be the key in future weeks to showing the lacrosse world they should be the #1 team in the rankings. With a big game coming up against the surging Panther City Lacrosse Club in Week 10, the Seals will need to be prepared for a team who is hungry to prove they are one the West Conference’s toughest competitors.
#5 – Halifax Thunderbirds (4-3)
Week 9 Result: 17-7 win vs Rochester
Week 10 Opponent: vs Calgary (3-3)
Previous Ranking: Next 3 In
This was the Thunderbirds signature win of the 2022-23 season (so far). The Knighthawks came into hostile territory undefeated and left with clipped wings. After falling behind 2-1 in the early goings, the Thunderbirds used a seven-goal run to head into half time with an 8-4 lead. But, they weren’t comfortable with just a four-goal lead against a very capable team. Heading into the 4th quarter with a score of 9-6, the Thunderbirds saved the best for last, piling on eight goals in the 4th quarter and capped off the big evening with a 17-7 victory. If the Thunderbirds can play like this every game for the rest of the season, not only could they see themselves at the top of a future weekly power rankings, but they could be in the conversations for who is the most dangerous team in the NLL.
Next 3 In (in alphabetical order)
Calgary Roughnecks (3-3)
Week 9 Result: 11-10 OT loss vs Toronto
Week 10 Opponent: at Halifax (4-3)
Previous Ranking: Next 3 In
There’s no way around it, that was a tough loss for the Roughnecks. The Rock defense stifled the Roughnecks offense for the vast majority of the game, yet, somehow the Roughnecks mustered enough of an effort to claw their way back in the dying moments of the contest. Their resilient performance in the final moments of the 4th quarter showed the gritty, never-quit attitude of this young team. It’s been difficult for any to solve the Toronto Rock over the last month, so to come that close to stealing a victory in dramatic fashion needs to be applauded. This doesn’t feel like a 3-3 team, even if that’s what their record says they are. With a huge non-conference game coming up in Week 10 against the confident Thunderbirds, the Roughnecks will be hoping to get their record back above .500 and maybe even crack the Top-5 in the rankings.
Colorado Mammoth (3-2)
Week 9 Results: 13-9 loss vs San Diego
Week 10 Opponents: vs Georgia (0-4), at Las Vegas (1-5)
Previous Ranking: 4th
Injuries continue to riddle the Mammoth this season. They’ve already been playing without Ryan Lee (as well as other key players who have missed some games), but now they were playing without Dillon Ward in net too. That’s tough. The Seals definitely had the Mammoth’s number in the first half, but a much improved second half made this game drastically more interesting. Heading into Week 10, the Mammoth are facing two opponents that they should beat. It would be a big confidence boost for this team to move to 5-2 and insert them back into contention for being the West Conference’s best team.
Panther City Lacrosse Club (4-3)
Week 9 Result: 20-7 win at Vancouver
Week 10 Opponent: at San Diego (5-1)
Previous Ranking: N/A
This is definitely going to be stirring the pot a little bit (sorry Saskatchewan Rush fans), but over their last six quarters, Panther City have looked like a very dangerous team. In Week 7 they came back from a 6-2 deficit against the Wings and went on to win that game 12-10. In Week 9, after falling behind to the Vancouver Warriors 3-0, they ended up winning 20-7. Their 20 goals scored tied for the most by any team this season and the 13-goal victory was the largest by any team this season. What makes them even more dangerous now is the fact that they’ve added future hall of famer Callum Crawford to the already deep lineup that saw Will Malcom and Jonathan Donville combine for 25 points. Crawford’s veteran presence and ability to lead by example could take this already fiercely competitive team to the next level. Keep an eye on PCLC because they might just be the most menacing dark horse in the NLL right now.