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Week 5 Power Rankings

#1 – Halifax Thunderbirds (2-0)

Week 3 Result: 20-11 win at New York

Week 5 Opponent: at Buffalo (1-1)

Previous Ranking: 2nd

There’s a new #1 team for the second week in a row. Following a bye week in Week 2, the Thunderbirds picked up right where they left off in Week 1. Batting on the road on Long Island against a worthy competitor in the New York Riptide, the Thunderbirds continued to score at unprecedented rate. They also continued to play suffocating and relenting defence, which inhibited the Riptide from ever getting on a roll. Oh, and they didn’t have their everyday starting goaltender Warren Hill in between the pipes. There is no team that is playing as dominantly and consistently as the Thunderbirds are right now.

#2 – San Diego Seals (2-0)

Week 3 Result: Bye

Week 5 Opponent: at Calgary (2-0)

Previous Ranking: 1st

The Seals had the weekend off in Week 3, so they couldn’t build any momentum off of their massively impressive comeback win against the Saskatchewan Rush in Week 2. Nevertheless, the Seals are looking like a formidable title contender. Their 2-0 start is their best start to a season in franchise history. They will be looking to continue that win streak against Curtis Dickson, Dane Dobbie, Wes Berg’s old team, the Calgary Roughnecks after the Christmas holiday.

#3 – Rochester Knighthawks (3-0)

Week 3 Result: 14-13 win at Albany

Week 5 Opponent: Bye

Previous Ranking: 5th

The Knighthawks refuse to lose this season. Propelled by their electric offense and resolute defense, including the brick wall in net named Rylan Hartley, the Knighthawks have fought their way to their best start in their franchises young history and their longest win streak in team history. Their gritty comeback against the Albany FireWolves – they were down 8-4 in the 2nd quarter – showed this team’s competitive spirit and desire to win. Moving to 3-0 makes a statement to the NLL-world that elite-level lacrosse is back in the city of Rochester.

#4 – Saskatchewan Rush (1-1)

Week 3 Result: Bye

Week 5 Opponent: vs. Panther City (2-1)

Previous Ranking: 3rd

The Rush have every intention of redeeming themselves following their surprising defeat to the Seals in Week 2. Their blend of savvy veterans and exuberant youth have thrust this year’s team into way too early conversations regarding early season title contenders. This team’s defensive identity is shining bright, but their offensive capabilities look equally threatening. The extra time off should do wonders for the Rush hoping that injuries to likes of Ryan Dilks and Kyle Rubisch  will heal up before their New Year’s Eve matchup against Panther City Lacrosse Club.

#5 – Buffalo Bandits (1-1)

Week 3 Result: 11-8 win at Toronto

Week 5 Opponent: vs. Halifax (2-0)

Previous Ranking: Next 3 In

The 2022-23 Week 3 Bandits looked much more like their NLL Cup-chasing selves from last season, than they did in Week 1 against the Firewolves. The way that the Bandits were able to hold their fierce rivals, the Toronto Rock, to eight goals while on the road made you feel like you were watching the 2021-22 Bandits again. The offense isn’t firing on all cylinders yet, but Tehoka Nanticoke is quickly emerging as one the league’s most exciting and talented players to watch this season. The ageless Matt Vinc provided a huge spark for his teammates last weekend making 52 saves while allowing only eight goals.

Next 3 In (in alphabetical order)

Calgary Roughnecks (2-0)

Week 3 Result: 14-5 win at Vancouver

Week 5 Opponent: vs San Diego (2-0)

Previous Ranking: N/A

The Roughnecks are undefeated through their first two games of the season. They haven’t done that since the 2012 season when they finished 12-4. No matter how you look at their game against the Vancouver Warriors this past weekend, the Roughnecks looked very good. They are getting contributions up and down the roster both offensively and defensively. Having this season’s version of Christian Del Bianco in net is giving confidence to every one of the Roughnecks to go out on the floor and play with easy and wonder. Their matchup in Week 5 against the Seals and many of their former players will be a true test to see where this teams stands in the early part of this season.

Colorado Mammoth (1-1)

Week 3 Result: 12-9 win at Panther City

Week 5 Opponent: Bye

Previous Ranking: Next 3 In

Much like the Bandits, the Mammoth looked much more like their former selves in their Week 3 win. Having an offense that is battling significant injuries doesn’t make it any easier to win games, but the addition of Rhys Duch proved to be a wise choice. In their win, Dillon Ward looked like the unstoppable force we’ve learned to expect over the years and the signature defensive styles of Head Coach Pat Coyle and Defense Coach Andrew McBride really shined bright this past weekend.

Toronto Rock (1-2)

Week 3 Result: 11-8 loss vs. Buffalo

Week 5 Opponent: Bye

Previous Ranking: 4th

Back-to-back losses will always hurt your standing in the power rankings, but the losses are anything but indicative of what to expect from this season’s Toronto Rock. The Rock have an explosive offense that has cooled off since their 19-goal tally in Week 1. But, the potent attack is still very much a threat. Having come up short against two very capable teams in their last two games, the Rock will eager to get back on track in the new year when they head to New York in Week 6 to face the Riptide.