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Dan Lintner of the Toronto Rock.

NLL Power Rankings: Rock Affirm Solid Position Atop the League

February 19, 2024
Jack Goods
Toronto Rock / National Lacrosse League

Week 12 of the National Lacrosse League season was highlighted by the triumphant return to Montréal, which hosted the first NLL UnBOXed Series matchup and the city’s first NLL game since 2002.

Toronto, despite dealing with some friendly jeers from its provincial rivals, pulled away from New York in the second half to further cement its spot atop the power rankings. Nearly 7,000 fans in Laval watched the display.

Meanwhile, both of last year’s NLL Finals participants are struggling, and Albany got back on track to tie the Rock atop the league table.

1. Toronto Rock (7-2)

The Rock controlled the second half after storming back from a three-goal deficit to tie the score at the break. A 5-0 run stretching from the start of the third quarter into the first four minutes of the fourth gave Toronto control, and an ensuing 4-0 run after New York responded with a pair put the game out of reach. Mark Matthews had 11 points, nearly doubling his previous high for production since his trade from Saskatchewan. Last week: 1

2. San Diego Seals (6-3)

The Seals had the weekend off and return Friday against Georgia. Last week: 5

3. Albany FireWolves (7-2)

Both the FireWolves and their star rookies returned to form on Saturday. After combining for just 10 points in two straight defeats, Tye Kurtz had seven points and Alex Simmons added five in Albany’s 13-11 win against Colorado. Marshall Powless saved the goal of the night for the game winner, weaving through traffic before firing off a one-handed shot. Last week: 6

4. Halifax Thunderbirds (6-4)

Halifax split the weekend, first jumping Buffalo in the standings and power rankings thanks to a 14-12 come-from-behind victory against their former East foes. The T-Birds scored the final two goals of the game, with the game-winner belonging to 28-year-old rookie Aaron Woods. Calgary perhaps took advantage of tired legs after the Thunderbirds’ cross-continental trip to Cowtown with a 17-11 result. After a wild first half featured 22 combined goals, Halifax lost steam down the stretch. Last week: 4

5. New York Riptide (5-5)

New York’s four-game win streak ended, but there’s no shame in losing to Toronto. Jeff Teat, who finished with eight points, was involved in all but one goal during the team’s opening 6-3 spurt. However, Toronto grabbed momentum as the contest moved along. Only two games remain on the Riptide’s schedule against teams currently in playoff position. Last week: 3

6. Buffalo Bandits (5-4)

The Bandits were unable to hold on to an 8-2 second-quarter advantage, falling back into a tie by the end of the third. Streakiness has marred Buffalo this season, with the offense going cold for stretches and the defense suffering from injury absences. Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne had nine and eight points, respectively, but the boys in orange and black have already matched their loss total from last season. Last week: 2

7. Georgia Swarm (6-4)

The Swarm, who had the week off, could put themselves in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot with wins against San Diego and Panther City next weekend. Last week: 7

8. Panther City Lacrosse Club (4-4)

PCLC faces a major test Sunday when it hosts Georgia. Last week: 8

9. Calgary Roughnecks (4-5)

The Riggers have rediscovered their transition game, and it’s helped the squad win back-to-back contests against teams near the top of the standings. Jesse King had nine points as Calgary tied its season high for goals, while the defense shut Halifax out for the final 20:36. Do the perennial contenders still have life? Last week: 12

10. Saskatchewan Rush (3-5)

The Rush are next in action when they host Halifax on Saturday. Last week: 9 11. Rochester Knighthawks (3-5) The K-Hawks look to snap a five-game slide when they host Las Vegas on Saturday. Last week: 10

11. Rochester Knighthawks (3-5)

The Knighthawks look to snap their five-game losing streak when they host Las Vegas on Saturday. Last week: 10

12. Philadelphia Wings (3-5)

The Wings ended on a 3-1 run to best Las Vegas 10-8 in a low-scoring, back-and-forth contest. Joe Resetarits scored five times and added a helper, while Taite Cattoni gave Philly a lead it did not relinquish with 5:52 remaining in the third quarter. The result snapped a three-game losing streak. Last week: 13

13. Las Vegas Desert Dogs (3-6)

The Desert Dogs held the lead twice in the first half, and Dylan Watson got the team within a goal of Philadelphia midway through the final quarter. Resetarits answered, handing Las Vegas a second straight defeat. Rob Hellyer led the way offensively with four points. Last week: 11

14. Colorado Mammoth (3-7)

The Mammoth took their first lead on the FireWolves in the third quarter and equalized three times in the fourth but suffered another frustrating defeat. Tyson Gibson scored Colorado’s final goal to tie it at 12 with 6:53 remaining, a tally that was answered by a pair from Albany. The squad’s chances of returning to the NLL Finals for a third straight year are looking bleak. Last week: 14

15. Vancouver Warriors (2-7)

The task doesn’t get easier for the struggling Warriors, who travel to Toronto Saturday after a bye week. Last week: 15