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Jeff Teat of the New York Riptide.

NLL Power Rankings: Riptide Surging During Franchise-Best Stretch

February 12, 2024
Jack Goods
Jenn Pierce / NLL

Do we have a new National Lacrosse League contender in the New York Riptide?

After yet another victory, New York is above .500 for the first time in franchise history, and Jeff Teat is well on his way to his first MVP honor. — at least as things stand now. The recent success makes next week’s matchup with Toronto in Montreal a can’t-miss event.

1. Toronto Rock (6-2)

The Rock nearly came back from a 10-5 deficit to start the fourth quarter against Calgary, with Mark Matthews getting Toronto within a goal with 5:35 on the clock. Unfortunately for Toronto, the 5-1 run ended there in a 11-10 defeat. The Rock remain atop the power rankings, but two losses in three games show signs of weakness. Last week: 1

2. Buffalo Bandits (5-3)

The Bandits had the week off and return Friday when they travel to Halifax. Last week: 3

3. New York Riptide (5-4)

No team in the league is hotter than the Riptide, who have now won a franchise-record four straight. An impressive comeback effort was required to keep the streak going, with San Diego entering the second half up 7-2 and the fourth quarter up 8-5. Cam Dunkerley shut out the Seals for the final 22 minutes, helping New York close on a 6-0 run to win 10-8. Jeff Teat was involved in every goal during the closing spurt, finishing with seven points. Last week: 7

4. Halifax Thunderbirds (5-3)

Undrafted 28-year-old Aaron Woods has been a revelation for the Thunderbirds. He recorded his second straight six-point performance to start his career in a 12-10 win against Las Vegas, matching Clarke Petterson for the team high. The T-Birds have won three straight with a chance to jump the Bandits in the standings next week. Last week: 4

5. San Diego Seals (6-3)

Austin Staats continued his strong year with five points, but the Seals matched their season low for goals in the loss to New York. That total looked like it might be enough when Staats put San Diego up 8-4 with 7:52 remaining in the third quarter, but the offense went cold from there. Last week: 2

6. Albany FireWolves (6-2)

The FireWolves had the weekend off, allowing time to regroup heading into a Saturday meeting with Colorado. Albany is looking to get back on track after dropping two straight. Last week: 5

7. Georgia Swarm (6-4)

A week after serving as the overtime hero against Vancouver, Andrew Kew again notched the game-winning tally in a 14-12 triumph against the Knighthawks. This time, he beat Rochester’s Riley Hutchcraft with 25 seconds remaining, collecting a pass from Brendan Bomberry right on the doorstep and burying it. Bryan Cole added an insurance tally in the closing seconds, helping him match Kew with a team-high seven points. Last week: 6

8. Panther City Lacrosse Club (4-4) 

Jonathan Donville scored on the first possession of overtime, sealing Panther City’s 14-13 come-from-behind victory against struggling Colorado. Will Malcom got them to the extra frame by scoring on what was likely their final opportunity, capitalizing on a give-and-go with Donville with 34 seconds remaining, then Donville weaved through traffic for the winner. Last week: 9

9. Saskatchewan Rush (3-5)

The Rush pulled away in the fourth quarter, orchestrating a game-closing 4-1 run to defeat Vancouver 13-9. Ryan Keenan had six points for Saskatchewan, winners of two straight. Last week: 11

10. Rochester Knighthawks (3-5)

The K-Hawks scored three straight in the fourth quarter to tie Georgia at 12 but then allowed the final two goals of the game to extend their losing slide to five games. Their big names came to play — Connor Fields had nine points, Ryan Lanchbury had seven and Ryan Smith six — but for a second straight week, a valiant comeback effort was for naught. Last week: 8

11. Las Vegas Desert Dogs (3-5)

Dylan Watson’s recent production is promising for the Desert Dogs despite the defeat. He recorded his second five-point night in his last three games after combining for just six points in the previous five games. Las Vegas scored the final three goals of the game to get close to Halifax but were never particularly threatening after the T-Birds went up 9-3 in the second quarter. Last week: 10

12. Calgary Roughnecks (3-5)

The Roughnecks upended Toronto for a much-needed victory, snapping a three-game skid in the process. The Riggers pulled ahead with a 5-0 run in the second and third quarters, with a shutout third giving them just enough cushion. Jesse King led the way with five goals, while Robert Hudson scored twice out the back door. Last week: 14

13. Philadelphia Wings (2-5)

The Wings had the weekend off and return Friday when they travel to Las Vegas. Last week: 12

14. Colorado Mammoth (3-6)

The Mammoth pulled ahead by a goal when Connor Kelly beat Nick Damude with 2:15 remaining in regulation, but a troubling season for the reigning West champions continued. With upcoming games against Albany and New York, Colorado’s playoff hopes could be on life support before March. Last week: 13

15. Vancouver Warriors (2-7)

The Warriors seem poised to extend their streak of seasons at or below .500, especially considering upcoming contests with Toronto, Buffalo and Albany. It may be time to start looking to the draft and daydreaming about the four 2023 first-round picks that are set to join the squad next season. Last week: 15