NLL Media Poll Five – Mixing It Up

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Buffalo Bandits at New England Black Wolves NLL 2017 Photo: Ryan Conwell
Photo: Ryan Conwell / LaxAllStars.com

Authors’ Notes: Welcome back to another NLL Media Poll. We got fed up with lacrosse’s lack of polls that tie together multiple media sources, so we made one ourselves. This poll features votes from Inside Lacrosse and Tyson Geick of the NLL, along with our own Mark Donahue and Ryan Conwell. This week’s analysis is all from Ryan.

Our NLL media poll just keeps changing! It looks like the crew over at Lax Power is giving a facelift to the website and along with it come some other changes. No longer will their magical algorithm be applied to the NLL, instead they are just featuring the rankings as listed on NLL.com along with news and updates. One less voter? No problem! We don’t obey computers…yet!

Voter’s Opinion

The best part of this week’s NLL Media Poll is that none of the voters could agree on the way things are shaking out! After the slow start for the Rush, they’re still struggling to buy back respect until they get some wins over the East Division powerhouses. With a head-to-head win, the Swarm box out the Rock for top spot in on the right coast. The bottom of each division is a constant fight to climb out of last place and this time the Knighthawks fall helplessly to the bottom rung.

IL Indoor kept things as-is up top, but like everyone else they gave the bottom a shaking. Conwell still isn’t convinced by Buffalo to give them a nod over Rochester. It’s hard to compare the Bandits’ 1-1 weekend, needing OT to win, to Rochester’s 0-2 stent, dropping to the powers of Toronto and Georgia. Those top teams just keep climbing while everyone else rides the rollercoaster.

Speaking of Conwell, he’s going to do all of the talking this week. Let him be your guide to breakdown the boogey.

9. Rochester Knighthawks (-2)

Rochester Knighthawks vs Georgia Swarm NLL 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Paul Sasso / Georgia Swarm
Photo: Paul Sasso / Georgia Swarm

Record: 2-6
Next Game: @ Vancouver – Saturday, February 25th 10:00pm ET
Goals: Josh Currier – 12 (T-17th)
Assists: Joe Resetarits – 19 (T-76th)
Points: Joe Resetarits – 28 (T-20th)

Ryan Conwell: As much as I wanted to move Rochester to the bottom of my rankings after a two loss weekend, I really had to consider that it was Toronto and Georgia that they lost to. It will probably take me a long time to really come to terms with the Knighthawks trading away Stephen Keogh, but it is what it is. He does the work you need inside better than nearly anyone in the league. He creates space, occupies defenders, screens goalies, and make opportunities on the crease. That is a big loss for Rochester.

8. Buffalo Bandits (+1)

Buffalo Bandits at New England Black Wolves NLL 2017 Photo- Ryan Conwell (3 of 28)
Photo: Ryan Conwell / LaxAllStars.com

Record: 2-5
Next Game: vs. Toronto – Saturday, February 25th 7:30pm ET
Goals: Ryan Benesch – 13 (T-15th)
Assists: Ryan Benesch – 23 (10th)
Points: Ryan Benesch – 36 (13th)

RC: I overheard someone with Buffalo say after their overtime with in New England “We needed that.” Losing to the Black Wolves to start the weekend raised the frustration levels a little bit for for Sunday’s matchup. It looked like the Bandits were going off the rails for a bit as the penalties started mounting, but they pulled it together at the end. And despite Dhane Smith starting to look like his old self, it turned out to be Big Game Blaze Riorden who scored Buffalo’s last two goals in regulation. Not bad timing for your first two NLL goals.

7. Calgary Roughnecks (-3)

Curtis Dickson Calgary Roughnecks vs Vancouver Stealth NLL 2017 Photo: Candace Ward / Calgary Roughnecks NLL Media Poll
Photo: Candace Ward / Calgary Roughnecks

Record: 3-4
Next Game: @ Saskatchewan – Saturday, February 25th 8:30pm ET
Goals: Curtis Dickson – 25 (T-1st)
Assists: Jeff Shattler – 24 (9th)
Points: Curtis Dickson – 43 (7th)

RC: I had originally only dropped Calgary only one spot, but that left them ahead of Vancouver who they are 1-2 against. Calgary is playing everyone close, but they are just not able to close the deal enough. Coach Malawsky is a big believer in defense, so they are not looking to go out and just blow every team out of the water. They have the forwards to score the goals they need, but it just hasn’t been happening with the consistency this league requires. That April 15th game against the Stealth might have dire playoff implications if this continues.

6. Vancouver Stealth (+2)

Logan Schuss Calgary Roughnecks vs Vancouver Stealth NLL 2017 Photo: Candace Ward / Calgary Roughnecks NLL Media Poll
Photo: Candace Ward / Calgary Roughnecks

Record: 3-5
Next Game: vs. Rochester – Saturday, February 25th 10:00pm ET
Goals: Logan Schuss – 22 (T-3rd)
Assists: Corey Small – 35 (T-1st)
Points: Corey Small – 56 (2nd)

RC: The Stealth came out on fire in the road trip to Calgary, scoring the five goals and never looking back. Corey Small continues to be a massive part of this team’s success. He is just four points away from owning the league points title by himself, squeezed between Georgia’s Lyle Thompson and New England’s Shawn Evans. Oddly enough, Vancouver is the only team with three scorers in the top 10 in the league. That puts them in a good spot for long term success, but they need a defense who can play like the did against Calgary. When they hold opponents to 10 or less, they’re in good shape. That’s been their recipe in three wins and one overtime game this season.

5. New England Black Wolves (+1)

Buffalo Bandits at New England Black Wolves NLL 2017 Photo- Ryan Conwell (21 of 28)
Photo: Ryan Conwell / LaxAllStars.com

Record: 3-5
Next Game: vs. Colorado – Sunday, February 26th 1:00pm ET
Goals: Kevin Crowley – 22 (T-3rd)
Assists: Shawn Evans – 35 (T-1st)
Points: Shawn Evans – 54 (3rd)

RC: New England had a good win on the road against Buffalo, using a quick start and holding off a late rally to seal the win. This was also their first road win of the season, so that was a big monkey off their back. Home is not too much nicer for the Black Wolves, though. They have had two overtime games, and a one goal win over Buffalo so far at the Mohegan Sun. It’s great for the fans, but they really need to start separating themselves a little bit more. They are now one of three three win teams in the league and hold the edge over Rochester and Buffalo. Their gap from Georgia and Toronto is starting to grow, though. It’s much easier to fight for the top spot than is it to avoid being last.

4. Colorado Mammoth (+1)

Dan Coates Colorado Mammoth 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Josh Schaefer / Saskatchewan Rush
Photo: Josh Schaefer / Saskatchewan Rush

Record: 4-4
Next Game: @ New England – Sunday, February 26th 1:00pm ET
Goals: Eli McLaughlin – 14 (14th)
Assists: Callum Crawford – 32 (4th)
Points:  Callum Crawford – 44 (6th)

RC: Colorado is such an odd team right now. They have so many players with minor injuries, that it is making it difficult to know what you can really expect from team each week. Picking up Stephen Keogh from Rochester is a great add, and he made an impact in his first game. Losing by a single goal on the road in Saskatchewan is not a bad thing right now. The West is much closer from top to bottom, so a win would have had them in a better spot, but they’re poised to take over the top spot if they can string some more wins together.

3. Toronto Rock (-2)

Brad Kri Georgia Swarm vs Toronto Rock NLL 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Graig Abel / Toronto Rock
Photo: Graig Abel / Toronto Rock

Record: 5-2
Next Game: @ Buffalo – Saturday, February 25th 7:30pm ET
Goals: Brett Hickey – 15 (T-11th)
Assists: Tom Schreiber – 27 (8th)
Points: Tom Schreiber – 39 (11th)

RC: I dropped the Rock from first to third for a few reasons. Mainly, I didn’t want to keep them in the top spot after a loss. Dropping them a single spot still had them above Georgia in my list, and that didn’t feel right either. They only lost in overtime, and were really 4 seconds away from winning it outright in regulation. 4 seconds is the difference between first and third place apparently.

2. Saskatchewan Rush (0)

Saskatchewan Rush NLL 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Josh Schaefer / Saskatchewan Rush
Photo: Josh Schaefer / Saskatchewan Rush

Record: 5-2
Next Game: vs. Calgary – Saturday, February 25th 8:30pm ET
Goals: Mark Matthews & Robert Church – 18 (8th)
Assists: Mark Matthews – 31 (5th)
Points: Mark Matthews – 49 (4th)

RC: I probably shouldn’t have the Rush as my number one team right now, but it’s hard to argue against as well. They have two losses (Toronto and Georgia) which they opened the season with. Since then, they have reeled of five straight wins and have a slate of games against all of their Western opponents lined up through the end of March. When April rolls around, the Rush will either have complete ownership of their division, or it will be a fight to the end of the season. History suggests the former.

1. Georgia Swarm (+2)

Georgia Swarm vs Toronto Rock NLL 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Graig Abel / Toronto Rock
Photo: Graig Abel / Toronto Rock

Record: 7-1
Next Game: @ Toronto – Friday, February 17th 7:30pm ET
Goals: Lyle Thompson – 25 (T-1st)
Assists: Lyle Thompson – 34 (2nd)
Points: Lyle Thompson – 59 (1st)

RC: Georgia should have beaten Rochester handily, which they did. Their overtime win against Toronto was one that was outright robbery. It goes to show how much poise experienced box players have under the 3 second shot clock. 10 seconds can feel like an eternity, so even when they missed their first shot and had to setup another attempt, nothing was unnecessarily forced. It played right into the hands of a team that prides itself on quick ball movement.

NLL Media Poll #5

Rank/Team/Previous

1. Georgia (1)
2. Saskatchewan (2)
3. Toronto (1)
4. Colorado (5)
5. New England (6)
6. Vancouver (8)
7. Calgary (4)
8. Buffalo (9)
9. Rochester (7)

NLL Media Poll Votes

Voters Ryan Conwell (LAS) Mark Donahue (LAS) Tyson Geick (NLL) Inside Lacrosse
1 Saskatchewan Georgia Saskatchewan Georgia
2 Georgia Saskatchewan Georgia Toronto
3 Toronto Toronto Toronto Saskatchewan
4 Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado
5 New England New England Calgary New England
6 Vancouver Vancouver New England Vancouver
7 Calgary Calgary Vancouver Calgary
8 Rochester Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo
9 Buffalo Rochester Rochester Rochester

Agree? Disagree? Feel impartial to our media poll rankings and opinions? Let you voice be heard and sound off in the comments down below!