There were four games in Week 11 of the National Lacrosse League, with only the Rochester Knighthawks and the Buffalo Bandits having the weekend off.
And for the other seven teams playing this weekend, only the Colorado Mammoth were playing twice. On Saturday, the Toronto Rock defeated the Calgary Roughnecks 16-10. The Rock stifled the Roughnecks in the first half by a score of 5-1 and when Calgary was finally able to get some offence going in the second half, it traded goals with the Rock. For Toronto, Tom Schrieber had another huge night with 4 goals and 3 assists while Brett Hickey also had the hot shooting hand with 5 goals and 1 assist.
In Saskatchewan, the Rush won their fifth straight home game by defeating the Colorado Mammoth, 12-11 in OT. Saskatchewan’s last two home games have been 12-11 OT wins and before that, they beat Colorado 8-7 at home. Obviously, the Rush are not dominating the competition but they usually find a way to win the close ones.
Ben McIntosh was the overtime hero for Saskatchewan as he scored his fourth goal of the game. For Colorado, Chris Wardle had his best game as a pro as he scored 5 goals for the Mammoth. Colorado was outshot 63-45, so obviously Dillon Ward had another good game for the Mammoth.
On Sunday, with backup Alex Buque in the pipes for the Mammoth, Colorado outshot the Vancouver Stealth 59-38 but was only able to score 6 goals against Vancouver goaltender Tye Belanger. The 10-6 Vancouver win was the third win in the last 4 games for the Stealth.
In the only other game of the weekend, the New England Black Wolves won their second straight game, giving the Georgia Swarm their second straight loss by a score of 13-8.
Lots of changes in the Power Rankings. Let’s check it out.
No. 1 (2) Saskatchewan (6-3). Like last week, the Saskatchewan Rush outshot their opponents by almost 20 shots and “out-loose-balled” them by 20. Unlike last week, the Saskatchewan Rush got the victory this week by defeating the Colorado Mammoth 12-11 in overtime. The Rush has beat the Mammoth by one goal in each of their two meetings this year and if the Mammoth can get by their first-round playoff opponent this year we may have a whale of a West division series. Next week, Saskatchewan hosts the Roughnecks on Friday and then travels to Colorado on Saturday.
No. 2. (1) Georgia (7-4). Georgia lost its second straight game as it was defeated 13-8 by the New England Black Wolves on Sunday. Georgia was a dismal 1-for-9 on the power play and Lyle Thompson was held to 1 assist. Georgia hosts Calgary next Friday.
No. 3. (4) Toronto Rock (6-4). The Toronto Rock got the rebound game it was looking for last week as it defeated the Calgary Roughnecks, 16-10. Toronto built a 5-1 first-half lead and was never threatened in this game. Of significance was that Calgary only scored 3 goals while playing 5 on 5 and only twice were the Roughnecks able to score two goals in a row. Next week, the Toronto Rock, second best team in the East, will meet the Colorado Mammoth, the second best team in the West for a fun St Patrick’s Day showdown.
No. 4. (3) Colorado (6-6). It was not a good weekend for the Colorado Mammoth. Although they took the Saskatchewan Rush to overtime on Saturday (losing 12-11), on Sunday they lost to the Vancouver Stealth 10-6. Next week the Mammoth make a rare visit to the ACC to play the Toronto Rock.
No. 5. (6) New England (5-6). The New England Black Wolves got Shawn Evans back and he scored 3 goals and 4 assists to help them defeat the Georgia Swarm (13-8) for the first time in their third of four battles. Kevin Crowley and Kyle Buchanan each had 3 goals as well. New England hosts the Rochester Knighthawks on Friday.
No. 6. (8) Vancouver (5-6). The Vancouver Stealth won their third game in the last 4 outings by defeating the Colorado Mammoth 10-6 in Denver on Sunday. Tye Belanger continues to play great lacrosse he stopped 53 of 59 shots (last week he stopped 55 of 64 shots). Next week the Stealth host the Buffalo Bandits.
No. 7. (5) Buffalo (4-6). The Buffalo Bandits had the week off. Next week they will play in Vancouver.
No. 8. (7) Calgary (4-7). Before Saturday’s contest in Toronto, Calgary’s assistant coach Bob McMahon told us that Calgary was 0-4 when trailing after the first quarter and 4-1 when leading after 1. So when Calgary was down 3-0 after one quarter, the writing was on the wall that they would be losing their seventh game of the season. Calgary needs to find some consistency in its game or it will soon find itself out of the 2017 playoff picture. On Friday, Calgary travels to Georgia and you can bet the Swarm, who are undefeated at home, will have revenge on their minds.
No. 9. (9) Rochester (4-7). Rochester had the weekend off but will host the New England Black Wolves on Friday.