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Albany FireWolves.

NLL Power Rankings: Albany Clinches Postseason Berth; Vegas Eliminated

April 1, 2024
Jack Goods
Jenn Pierce / NLL

Week 18 of the National Lacrosse League was on the quiet side, but that doesn’t mean it was without results impacting the playoff picture.

One more team is officially in, and another became the first to be officially out of the upcoming postseason.

1. San Diego Seals (11-4)

The Seals had the weekend off and return Friday when they host Panther City. Last week: 1

2. Toronto Rock (12-3)

The Rock had the weekend off to prepare for the top matchup of Week 19, a Saturday-night duel with the FireWolves in Albany. Last week: 2

3. Georgia Swarm (9-7)

The Swarm can bolster their spot in the standings with a win against struggling Las Vegas on Saturday. Last week: 3

4. Albany FireWolves (10-5)

Despite having the weekend off, Albany did clinch a spot in the postseason thanks to Rochester’s loss to Halifax. The FireWolves could set a new franchise record for wins in a season against Toronto on Saturday. Last week: 4

5. Halifax Thunderbirds (9-7)

Ryan Benesch enjoyed a milestone night, moving into fourth all time in goals and sixth all time in games played, as Halifax bested Rochester 12-9. Benesch finished with seven points, one ahead of Dawson Theede, Clarke Petterson and Cody Jamieson for the team lead. A 5-1 run for the T-Birds in the third quarter was the difference. Last week: 5

6. Buffalo Bandits (8-7)

Philadelphia inched as close as 12-11 in the fourth quarter, but a subsequent 6-0 Bandits run featuring a pair of empty netters allowed Buffalo to roll to an 18-12 victory. Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne both reached double digits – Smith with five goals and seven assists, Byrne with three goals and seven assists – to move into the top two positions on the league-wide scoring chart. Last week: 7

7. Panther City Lacrosse Club (7-7)

Panther City plays twice next week, on Friday at San Diego and on Sunday at home against Philadelphia. Last week: 6

8. New York Riptide (7-8)

The Riptide and Knighthawks play a critical matchup for both teams’ playoff hopes on Saturday in Rochester. Last week: 8

9. Saskatchewan Rush (6-8)

Robert Church had eight points and Ryan Keenan added seven, as the Rush won a rare Thursday matchup with the Wings 16-12. Saskatchewan never trailed, jumping out to a 6-1 lead early in the second quarter. The Rush have racked up miles in the past few weeks – traveling to New York, Georgia and now Philadelphia – and have one more trip Saturday to Calgary before ending the regular season with three games at SaskTel Centre. Last week: 11

10. Calgary Roughnecks (6-8)

The Roughnecks can jump Saskatchewan and re-enter the playoff conversation with a vengeance with a sweep of the Rush this weekend. The teams play in Calgary on Friday and Saskatoon a day later. Last week: 10

11. Rochester Knighthawks (6-8)

Are the streaky Knighthawks at the start of yet another slide? Here’s how the season has gone so far for Rochester: The K-Hawks won their first three, then lost six in a row, turned things around with three straight wins, and have now lost in back-to-back weeks. Last week: 9

12. Vancouver Warriors (6-9)

The Warriors pulled away from Las Vegas in the second quarter, shutting out the Desert Dogs for the final 10:54 of the half while orchestrating a 6-0 run. Vancouver never let Vegas closer than three goals the rest of the way in a 12-9 victory. Keegan Bal reached nine points for a third straight week as Vancouver won for a fourth time in five outings. Last week: 12

13. Colorado Mammoth (5-9)

The Mammoth host Buffalo Friday in the season’s second rematch of last year’s NLL Finals participants. The Bandits were victorious in the first matchup 12-8. Last week: 13

14. Philadelphia Wings (5-10)

Two more losses were added to the docket for Philadelphia despite some impressive point totals. Holden Cattoni and Mitch Jones each had seven points against Saskatchewan, while Cattoni and Joe Resetarits each had eight against Buffalo. Last week: 14

15. Las Vegas Desert Dogs (4-11)

The combination of a Desert Dogs loss and Philadelphia’s result against Buffalo gave Las Vegas the dubious distinction as the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention. The franchise does not own its first-round pick (it was sent to Toronto for Rob Hellyer) but does have a first thanks to the John Wagner deadline deal. Last week: 15