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San Diego Seals vs. Calgary Roughnecks

NLL Power Rankings: Seals, Rock Trade Positions at the Top

March 18, 2024
Jack Goods
Jenn Pierce / NLL

Three of the top four teams in last week’s National Lacrosse League power rankings suffered defeats this weekend, while the defending champion Buffalo Bandits secured a resume-boosting victory in front of over 18,000 fans.

Could we be sleeping on their chances at a repeat?

1. San Diego Seals (10-4)

The Seals scored just once in the second half — a Tre Leclaire tally with seven seconds remaining in the third quarter — but that was just enough to squeak out a 7-6 win against Calgary. The Roughnecks inched their way back after going into the locker room down 6-2 but couldn’t get the equalizer in the final three minutes. Perhaps the most newsworthy aspect of this week was the return of Brodie Merrill, who came out of retirement to record a pair of loose balls and a caused turnover. Last week: 2

2. Toronto Rock (11-3)

The Rock led archrival Buffalo 10-7 in the third quarter and 12-10 midway through the fourth but allowed the Bandits to end on a 4-0 run in a 14-12 defeat. Toronto was shut out for the final eight minutes but can take solace in clinching a playoff spot this week despite the result. Two of the team’s three losses this year have come to the Bandits, perhaps a bad sign come the playoffs. Last week: 1

3. Albany FireWolves (10-4)

The FireWolves fell victim to one of the hotter teams in the league, coming up just short in a 11-10 loss to Rochester. A 4-1 run to end the third quarter got Albany within two goals, and tallies from Alex Simmons and Marshall Powless less than 30 seconds apart cut the deficit to one with over two and a half minutes to work with. Riley Hutchcraft shut the door, handing Albany a second straight defeat. Last week: 3

4. Halifax Thunderbirds (8-6)

The T-Birds dominated the first half against Panther City, going up 10-2 before gliding to a 13-9 victory. Clarke Petterson had six points, scoring twice as part of a 3-0 run to start the fourth quarter that quashed any hopes of a PCLC comeback. With the result, Halifax slid up to fourth in the standings. Last week: 5

5. Buffalo Bandits (7-6)

Josh Byrne dove across the crease to score the game-winning goal with 3:32 remaining, giving Buffalo its first lead on Toronto since going ahead 6-5 in the final seconds of the first quarter. The Bandits have won two straight thrillers to bounce back from a three-game skid, with this showing against one of the league’s best providing major confidence. Dhane Smith stuffed the stat sheet with three goals, four assists, five loose balls and three caused turnovers. Last week: 7

6. Rochester Knighthawks (6-6)

Connor Fields added to his already impressive point total with five against Albany, including the eventual game winner with 13:12 remaining in the fourth quarter. The streaky K-Hawks are back, winners of three straight following a six-game skid. Rochester led by as much as six on Saturday, surviving an Albany comeback attempt that cut the deficit to one with 2:44 on the clock. Last week: 10

7. Georgia Swarm (8-7)

Shayne Jackson notched six points, one of only a few Georgia players who got into some rhythm in a 13-8 loss to Philadelphia. The Swarm were put into a 6-2 hole early and never got out, snapping a two-game win streak. Brett Dobson was chased after 22 minutes, allowing seven goals on 15 shots. Last week: 4

8. Panther City Lacrosse Club (6-7)

PCLC won the third quarter against Halifax 5-0 to cut the deficit to three, but an ensuing three-goal run by Halifax put the T-Birds out of reach. Three players had four points – Tony and Will Malcom and Jonathan Donville – but Panther City couldn’t make up for a quite slow start in Nova Scotia. Last week: 6

9. Saskatchewan Rush (5-6)

The Rush endured a fourth quarter which saw the teams combine for 10 goals, holding on in a 17-15 score-fest with New York. Saskatchewan led 14-8 entering the final frame, but a 7-3 spurt by the Riptide made the Rush sweat out the final minute. Eight Rush players notched at least three points, led by Ryan Keenan with seven. The team controls its own destiny, having played a game less than any other team in four less than some. Last week: 11

10. Calgary Roughnecks (5-8)

Christian del Bianco made 54 saves in a stellar goalie duel with Christopher Origlieri, but it wasn’t quite enough to lift the Riggers to victory. Tanner Cook got Calgary within a goal with 3:14 remaining in the fourth quarter, but San Diego was able to hold on in the closing minutes. A 3-1 third quarter helped the squad get back into it. Losers of three straight, Calgary has gone from playoff position to 12th place. Last week: 8

11. New York Riptide (6-8)

Kiel Matisz scored twice inside the final two minutes to get the Riptide within a pair on Saskatchewan, but it was too little, too late. Jeff Teat had eight points, while Larson Sundown followed up last week’s sock trick with four goals and two assists. New York has lost four of its last five. Last week: 9

12. Philadelphia Wings (5-7)

Mitch Jones totaled nine points as the Wings secured a wire-to-wire victory. Just as impressive was the defense, which held both Andrew Kew and Lyle Thompson without a goal. Neither previously went goalless in a game this year. A shutout third quarter from Zach Higgins helped Philadelphia pull away. Last week: 12

13. Vancouver Warriors (4-9)

Adam Charalambides scored the game winner with 27 seconds remaining, collecting a pass from Keegan Bal right on the doorstep to lift Vancouver to a 13-12 triumph against Las Vegas. The goal capped off a back-and-forth fourth quarter which saw the teams trade goals three times. Charalambides had four goals and four assists, only trailing Keegan Bal’s nine points for the game lead. Last week: 15

14. Colorado Mammoth (4-9)

The Mammoth, who had the weekend off, were understandably sellers at the trade deadline. Colorado shipped Chris Wardle to San Diego and Paul Dawson to Buffalo as it starts to look toward the future. Up next is a visit by Rochester on Saturday. Last week: 14

15. Las Vegas Desert Dogs (4-9)

Casey Jackson scored eight goals, matching PCLC’s Callum Crawford for the NLL high this season. He equalized twice for the Desert Dogs in the fourth quarter – forcing ties at 10 and 11 – but it wasn’t enough. Zack Greer and Jack Hannah added five points each for Las Vegas, losers of three straight and five of the last six. Last week: 13