#1 – Buffalo Bandits (3-1)
Week 6 Result: 18-9 win at Georgia
Week 7 Opponent: vs Georgia (0-3)
Previous Ranking: 2nd
As each week passes, the Buffalo Bandits are looking more and more like their 2021-22 NLL Season selves. Following their surprising Week 1 11-10 loss to the Albany FireWolves, the Bandits have strung together three straight wins and the win margin is increasing every game. In Week 3 they won by three goals, in Week 5 they won by five goals and in Week 6 they won by nine goals. There aren’t any obvious holes in their game – they are strong and reliable in net and on offense and defense. Even with the injury to Chris Cloutier, they didn’t miss a beat in Week 6 as they cruised to a 18-9 win vs. the Georgia Swarm.
#2 – Rochester Knighthawks (4-0)
Week 6 Result: 17-9 win vs Panther City
Week 7 Opponent: at New York (0-3)
Previous Ranking: 5th
The Rochester Knighthawks have been trying to show us that this isn’t the same team from last year, or the year before or the year before that. At 4-0, they are now one of two undefeated teams left in the NLL. Rylan Hartley is playing out of his mind and the team is operating like a finely oiled machine. They were missing their top scorer in Connor Fields in Week 7, yet their offense has so much depth that they still scored 17 goals and had four multi-goal scorers. They have already tied their franchise record for wins in a single season and they still have 14 games left to play.
#3 – San Diego Seals (4-0)
Week 6 Result: 16-11 win at Vancouver
Week 7 Opponent: at Calgary (2-2)
Previous Ranking: 1st
The Seals drop two spots in the rankings despite their 16-11 win in Week 6 and remaining one of the only teams to still be undefeated. While a win is a win, San Diego made their game against the then 0-3 Vancouver Warriors too close for too long. And, even though it was Christopher Origlieri in net and not their everyday starter, Frank Scigliano, the Seals allowed the Warriors to score a season-high 11 goals. Statistically, the Warriors have one of the worst defenses in the league and yet they only scored 13 goals against them in 57 minutes, before adding three late goals. They are also the only team in the NLL with a winning record to allow their opponents to score 10+ goals in each game they’ve played. Don’t get me wrong, or cherry pick my comments, this team is still elite and is still one of, if not the favourite to win the NLL Cup this season. The teams ahead of them this week have just been more consistent for a full 60 minutes and have had more dominant, decisive wins against their opponents. These are, after all, power rankings, not standings.
#4 – Halifax Thunderbirds (3-1)
Week 6 Result: 14-11 win at Albany
Week 7 Opponent: vs Albany (1-2), at Toronto (2-2)
Previous Ranking: 4th
The Thunderbirds stay put at fourth despite their Week 6 14-11 win on the road against the Albany FireWolves. The FireWolves were missing both Joe Nardella and their starting goaltender Doug Jamieson, but still couldn’t find the back of the net at the same rate as they were in their first two games this season. This is also a case of rewarding the teams that are still undefeated and giving the Bandits the credit that they deserve. The Thunderbirds are another one of those teams that could make a deep run in the NLL Playoffs come May, but their latest performance keeps them steady in the rankings. However, this weekend they play two tough games and can move to 5-1. If they can win both of those games, I would expect that this team will not be fourth in the power rankings next week.
#5 – Saskatchewan Rush (2-1)
Week 6 Result: Bye
Week 7 Opponent: at Colorado (2-1)
Previous Ranking: 3rd
When you’re at this point of the season bye weeks will hurt your standing in the power rankings if other teams around the league are able to capitalize on their chances to win. That’s what’s happened with the Rush this week. Every one of the teams ahead of the Rush has more wins and a better record (based on winning percentage). This week off is actually very beneficial to the Rush in the long run because they are dealing with some key injuries that are not allowing them to perform to the best of their ability. This weekend they have a huge chance to move up the rankings going up against the surging Colorado Mammoth – remember the Rush beat the Mammoth 18-6 in Week 1 at home – this week they are on the road in the Loud House.
Next 3 In (in alphabetical order)
Colorado Mammoth (1-1)
Week 6 Result: 9-8 win vs Calgary
Week 7 Opponent: vs Saskatchewan (2-1)
Previous Ranking: Next 3 In
The Colorado Mammoth won a key, true-to-form, gritty, defensive battle against their fierce West Conference rivals in Week 6. This team just has a knack for winning low-scoring battles, and, I recently just wrote, a win is a win – credit must be given. Offensively, the Mammoth are still missing the dynamic Ryan Lee, and Chris Wardle was still getting his sea legs under him returning to the lineup to make his season debut, so the team is still trying to figure out where the goals are going to come from on a consistent basis. Having said that, Dillon Ward is playing like one of the world’s best goaltenders right now and the defense does look reliably solid. They are a team on the come up and a win against the Saskatchewan Rush will likely help them move up the rankings and possibly out of the Next 3 In.
Philadelphia Wings (2-1)
Week 6 Result: 14-9 win at Las Vegas
Week 7 Opponent: vs Panther City (2-2)
Previous Ranking: N/A
The Philadelphia Wings have flown in to the Next 3 In to cause some controversy. Similarly to the Bandits and Mammoth, the Wings have redeemed themselves after an underwhelming Week 1 outing. I guess some teams just needed another week to shake off the rust from last season. However, unlike those two other clubs, the Wings underwent far more drastic changes over the offseason. Now it seems like Joe Resetarits is fitting in very nicely. He and Ben McIntosh look like one of the top offensive duos in the league right now and they are backed up by great early starts from Blaze Riorden and Matt Rambo. Defensively, they are also decreased their goals allowed week over week from 18 to 13 to nine. Zach Higgins had a lot to do with that in Week 6 as he made 42 saves against the Las Vegas Desert Dogs.
Toronto Rock (2-2)
Week 6 Result: 15-7 win at New York
Week 7 Opponent: vs Halifax (3-1)
Previous Ranking: Next 3 In
Through Week 6, the Toronto Rock are the NLL’s most Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde team. After a convincing win in Week 1 against the Vancouver Warriors in which this team looked like they could be one of the top teams to keep an eye on this season, the wheels didn’t stay on the offensive bus for very long – they lost their next two games. Now it appears that the Rock of Week 1 and the Rock that we expected is back following their 15-7 Week 6 win on the road against the New York Riptide. Whether you were judging by the eye test or looking at the final numbers, the Rock dominated in every facet on the floor, and that’s versus a Riptide team that is far more capable than their record suggests.