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Week 11 Power Rankings

#1 – Buffalo Bandits (7-2)

Week 10 Result: 13-10 win vs Rochester

Week 11 Opponent: Bye

Previous Ranking: 1st

It wasn’t the start that the Bandits coaching staff would have wanted, but, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Despite trailing by a scoreline of 5-1 to the Rochester Knighthawks at the midway point of the second quarter in Week 10, the Bandits responded with unstoppable flurry of goals. From the 5:12 mark in the second quarter until 2:11 left in the thirf, the Bandits outscored the Knighthawks 10-1. They would hold on for a 13-10 victory. This was the Bandits third straight win. They are now 6-1 since their Week 1 11-10 loss to the Albany FireWolves. With a Bye Week in Week 11, the Bandits will want to keep an eye on their fierce East Conference rivals, the Toronto Rock, who will be looking to steal the #1 spot in next week’s rankings and tie them with the same record.

#2 – Toronto Rock (6-2)

Week 10 Result: 22-14 win vs New York

Week 11 Opponent: at Georgia (0-5)

Previous Ranking: 2nd

Having the Bandits and Rock ranked #1 and #2 seems feels right. These two teams have been battling for East Conference bragging right for much of the last five seasons. The only time they’ve been separated by more than two games in that span was in 2019 when the Bandits finished that year 14-4, while the Rock were 12-6. In fact, if you look at each of these teams combined records over the last five seasons (including this season), they’re neck and neck: The Bandits have gone 50-24 in that time and the Rock have had a record of 46-27. In Week 10, the Rock looked to be in mid-season form. Their 22 goals scored were the most by any team since 2018. They have now won five games in a row and four of those five games have been won by eight goals or more. Another big win in Week 11 and the Rock could very well be #1 in the rankings – they’ve been more than good enough to deserve it.

#3 – San Diego Seals (6-1)

Week 10 Result: 12-10 win vs Panther City

Week 11 Opponent: Bye

Previous Ranking: 4th

At some point, it doesn’t matter how a team wins as long as they’re winning. That’s that the case with the Seals. They were tested for all of 60 minutes against a strong, young Panther City team, but still come out with a W. Unlike the Rock, the Seals have been a close-ish games for much of the year (although, in some instances, the final score is not indicative to how well the Seals played). Their 12-10 win over Panther City in Week 10 was their third win this season decided by two goals or less – they are 3-0 in those games. Over their last three games, Christopher Origlieri has been great in net allowing an average of 9.33 goals per game, while also making 37.3 saves per game – in Week 10 he made a career-high 42 stops against Panther City.

#4 – Rochester Knighthawks (6-2)

Week 10 Result: 13-10 loss at Buffalo

Week 11 Opponent: vs Halifax (4-4)

Previous Ranking: 3rd

The Knighthawks may be in a bit of a slump right now, but don’t give up on this team. And, should it even be called a slump when the losses both came on the road and were against the surging Halifax Thunderbirds and last year’s NLL Finals runners up, the Buffalo Bandits? Nevertheless, the Knighthawks have now lost two games in a row, which is the opposite trend of the three teams ahead of them in the rankings. Defenses seems to finally be figuring out the Knighthawks offense. In their first six games this season, the Knighthawks averaged 14 goals per game. During their losing streak the offense have mustered only 8.5 goals per game.

#5 – Calgary Roughnecks (4-3)

Week 10 Result: 12-11 OT win at Halifax

Week 11 Opponents: vs Saskatchewan (4-2), vs Colorado (4-3)

Previous Ranking: Next 3 In

The Calgary Roughnecks are this year’s ‘Cardiac Kids’. In Week 10, the Roughnecks played in their second overtime game this season – they lost 11-10 to the Toronto Rock in Week 9. Thankfully for them, this time they came out on top. It was their third game that has been decided by one goal and their fifth game decided by three goals or less. Since the Roughnecks started this season 2-0, they have yet to string together back-to-back wins. However, with two competitive games to be played in Week 11, the Roughnecks can make a significant statement by winning them both – they play the Rush and the Mammoth. Wins against two conference rivals that have a better record than them would definitely make the case that they should be higher up in the rankings next week.

Next 3 In (in alphabetical order)

Colorado Mammoth (4-3)

Week 10 Results: 13-10 win vs Georgia, 13-8 loss at Las Vegas

Week 11 Opponent: at Calgary (4-3*)

Previous Ranking: Next 3 In

The Mammoth were in the ‘Next 3 In’ section last week and losing to the expansion Las Vegas Deserts Dogs, who were 1-5 coming into Week 10, definitely did’t help their case to move up (even if it was their second game in as many nights). Dillon Ward has been recovering from injury and was listed as ‘Questionable’ ahead of their two-game weekend, the team is still missing Ryan Lee, and Joey Cupido went down with an injury on Friday night, but this team needs to start another winning streak with the pieces they do have if they want to move up the rankings. Since their three-game win streak early this season, the Mammoth are 1-2 with their win coming against the winless Georgia Swarm. The panic button isn’t anywhere near Ball Arena, or even Denver for that matter, right now because there is so much time for them to start winning a bunch more games. Their next four games are against the Roughnecks and Panther City (2 games against each). We should have a better sense of where the Mammoth might end up in the West Conference by mid-March.

Halifax Thunderbirds (4-4)

Week 10 Result: 12-11 OT loss vs Calgary

Week 11 Opponent: at Rochester (6-2)

Previous Ranking: 5th

As the third quarter of their Week 10 matchup against the Roughnecks was winding down, it was looking like the Halifax Thunderbirds were going to be ranked higher up in the Top-5. With less than three minutes remaining in the third, the Thunderbirds were up 11-7. Then the Roughnecks stormed back. As we now all know, the Roughnecks would pull off an impressive comeback OT road victory. Finding consistency has been one of the keys for this team this season and Week 10 shows that maybe some work still needs to be done. Top-to-bottom, this roster is one of the most dangerous in the league. When this team does finally find its groove, watch out.

Saskatchewan Rush (4-2)

Week 10 Result: 14-8 win at Vancouver

Week 11 Opponent: at Calgary (4-3)

Previous Ranking: N/A

The Rush blitzed the Vancouver Warriors in the fourth quarter of their Week 10 battle and it has helped them secure a spot bar in the ‘Next 3 In’. I gave the Rush a dose of tough love last week by awarding Panther City a sport in the ‘Next 3 In’ instead of them and their dominating final 15 minutes proved why they deserve to be here – so too does their 4-2 record (the second-best in the West Conference). Their next two games are against the Seals and the Roughnecks. If they can win each of those games, it’s more than fair to say that the Rush are one of the Top-5 teams in the NLL.

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