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Week 3 Power Rankings

#8Calgary Roughnecks (0-2)

Week 2 Result: 12-9 loss at San Diego Seals
Week 3 Opponent: Bye Week
Previous Ranking: 6th

It is quite shocking to see the Calgary Roughnecks sitting at 0-2 through two weeks of the NLL season, especially considering how they’ve lost both games. In back-to-back weekends, the Roughnecks have blown halftime leads and lost both games. No 4-3 lead in the NLL would ever be deemed as safe, particularly if you’re playing the San Diego Seals in San Diego (like the Roughnecks were in Week 2), but a blown lead and a loss is always going to be a blown lead and a loss on the scoresheet. This is rare for the Roughnecks to be struggling to find wins this early on in a season. In fact, it is the first time since 2016 that the Roughnecks have lost their first two games of the regular season. To give you some perspective on how long ago that was, reigning NLL MVP, Goaltender of the Year, and star Roughnecks goalie, Christian Del Bianco, was a rookie in 2016. It is still very early in the season, and with a complete overhaul of the coaching staff having taken place over the offseason, the Roughnecks season is far from over. Unfortunately, now they have to dig themselves out of the hole they’re in.

 

#7 – Colorado Mammoth (0-1)

Week 2 Result: 16-10 loss at Georgia Swarm
Week 3 Opponent: Bye Week
Previous Ranking: 5th

Once again, the Mammoth had a rough start to their season. Losing to the Swarm by six goals in their season opener in Week 2 was one of their more lopsided regular season losses over the last few seasons. Now, to be fair, the Mammoth were missing the likes of Dillon Ward, Joey Cupido, Ryan Lee, Josh Sullivan, Jalen Chaster, Noah Lebar, *deep breath*, Owen Down, Nate Wade and Evan Downey in their first game of the season. That is significant. Not only were they missing a few of the best players, but they were also missing plenty of depth up and down the floor. We did get to see the Mammoth show some heart (others might call it frustration) at the end the Swarm game, when they initiated or participated in several fights in the waning moments of the 4th quarter. If they can fight through this laundry list of injuries and overcome the many challenges they’ll face while all of those players remain on the sidelines, they will be able to start righting the ship.

 

#6Georgia Swarm (1-0)

Week 2 Result: 16-10 win vs. Colorado Mammoth
Week 3 Opponent: at Vancouver Warriors (0-1)
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

The Swarm are back in the Top 8 after an emphatic win against the banged-up Mammoth in Week 2. Their +6 margin of victory is the largest in the NLL so far this season, and they did it against the team that nearly won the NLL Cup last season. The usual suspects of Lyle Thompson, Shayne Jackson, Andrew Kew, Brett Dobson and others, all looked fairly locked in for their first game of the season. The added contributions from lesser-known guys such as Seth Oakes, and rookie Brady Kearnan provided the Swarm some solid depth on the offensive side of the ball. It was also nice to see that seasoned-veterans Jeremy Thompson and Jordan MacIntosh were able to make their marks in more ways than one. Dating back to last season, the Swarm have now won nine of their last 13 games. They look like a completely different team than the one that started the 2022-23 NLL Season with an 0-7 record. If they continue this extended hot streak for the remainder of this NLL season, the rest of the league will have to be very worried about facing the Swarm.

 

#5Rochester Knighthawks (2-0)

Week 2 Result: 16-14 win at Saskatchewan Rush
Week 3 Opponent: Bye Week
Previous Ranking: 7th

Are the Knighthawks real contenders for the NLL Cup this season? Maybe, but I think it’s too early to tell. What we do know is that they are never out of a ball game. In Week 1 against the Roughnecks, the Knighthawks overcame a five-goal deficit at halftime, and then went on to win the contest. In Week 2, against the Saskatchewan Rush, the Knighthawks found themselves behind by multiple goals on a few occasions, including once in 3rd quarter, and they were trailing the Rush by one goal on two occasions in 4th quarter, yet still found a way to win. Their 2nd halves have been very dominant this season, averaging nine goals per 2nd half, while only giving up an average of five goals per 2nd half over their first two games. Of course, falling behind every game this season would likely not be the long-term recipe for success, however, these experiences now are building confidence and character, and that will be valuable as the season rolls along.

#4Halifax Thunderbirds (1-0)

Week 2 Result: Bye Week
Week 3 Opponent: at New York Riptide (0-1)
Previous Ranking: 4th

The Thunderbirds didn’t play in Week 2, and none of the teams behind them were good enough to leapfrog them in this week’s power rankings, so they stay put (for now). Their 17-12 season-opening victory against the Rush is still on the mind of many folks around the league because it was electrifying. Now, it’s up to them to keep bringing that same level of tenacity and athleticism that they showed up during Faceoff Weekend. Traveling down to Long Island in Week 3, the Thunderbirds offense will be looking to jump on a New York Riptide team that is notorious for giving up a few too many goals. Another dominating performance surely keeps them in the conversation of being called one of the top contenders for the NLL Cup this season.

 

#3 – Buffalo Bandits (0-1)

Week 2 Result: 17-13 loss at Albany FireWolves
Week 3 Opponent: vs. San Diego Seals (1-0)
Previous Ranking: 1st

The Bandits did not look like the 2023 NLL Cup defending champions in Week 2 against the FireWolves. The Bandits were disrupted by their young, wily and pesky opponents for much of the game in Albany and the result was not what anyone saw coming. Matt Vinc wasn’t even close to his best, but it was extremely rare for him to let in as many as he did. Furthermore, it’s rare to see the team give up as many goals as they did – the last time they gave up 17 or more goals in a season-opener was 10 years ago in 2013. By Bandits standards, this was an unacceptable loss. This team knows they can do better and they are determined to show the league that losses like this last one will not happen again.

 

#2 – San Diego Seals (1-0)

Week 2 Result: 12-9 win vs. Calgary Roughnecks
Week 3 Opponent: at Buffalo Bandits (0-1)
Previous Ranking: 2nd

The Seals are once again inching closer to the top of the power rankings. They will likely be near the top of this list for the entirety of this season. In Week 2, the Seals bested their opponents, the Roughnecks, all over the floor: face-off wins, loose balls, shots and shots on goal, and save percentage. Trevor Baptiste had a very respectable team debut; the youngster in between the pipes, Chris Origlieri, proved that he is up to the task of being a reliable goaltender this season; and the known-names of Curtis Dickson, Wes Berg and Austin Staats all did what they do best, which is intimidate opposing defenses with their scoring prowess. It was an all-around solid performance for this team, who will be in the NLL Cup conversation all season. In Week 3, they face one of their toughest challenges of the season going up against the Bandits. That game should be a good litmus test to figure out who is the top dog in the NLL in the early goings.

 

#1 Toronto Rock (1-0)

Week 2 Result: 11-7 win vs. Philadelphia Wings
Week 3 Opponent: Bye Week
Previous Ranking: 3rd

The Rock claim the top spot in the rankings this week. They jump over the Bandits and the Seals because of their very inspiring complete team effort against the Philadelphia Wings in their first game of the year. After falling behind 2-0 in the opening seven minutes of the game, the Rock turned up the pressure and never relented. For the final 52 minutes of the game, former NLL Goaltender of the Year candidate Nick Rose, and the defense, allowed only five goals, and that was without Chris Corbeil or Latrell Harris in the lineup. Brad Kri and Mitch de Snoo continued to show the world that they are arguably the best defensive duo in the NLL, and newcomer superstar Mark Matthews shined bright in his team debut with four goals. Guys like Josh Dawick, Chris Boushy (another new addition to the team) and Dan Lintner also helped put on a great show for the home fans. Oh, and by the way, the Rock were without a guy named Tom Schreiber – you may have heard of him. It gets said over and over again, but the Rock have great depth and are so talented at every position. The Rock are definitely going to be a problem again this season, and in Week 2, they were as advertised.

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