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New England Black Wolves vs Rochester Knighthawks NLL 2017 Photo Jeff Melnik LaxAllStars.com pro lacrosse

NLL Media Poll: Shape Up or Ship Out

On a calendar, we’re that much closer to playoffs. Because of records, some teams aren’t! The NLL Media explains…

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.

Just like college lacrosse, the NLL has been all over the place. While there is still quite a bit of parity, the teams are starting to separate. If those at the bottom **cough Calgary, Rochester, Buffalo cough** don’t push full steam ahead, they’ll be dead in the water. Vancouver and New England are teetering dangerously on the edge of falling into the same pool.

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Anyway, we are mostly disagreeing about how things are shaking out. The top of the poll barely flexed because it’s a game of averages. Either way, it get interesting!

9. Rochester Knighthawks (0)

Dan Dawson
Photo: Jeff Melnik / LaxAllStars.com

Record: 4-8
Weekend Result: Loss to New England, 11-12
Next Game: vs. Buffalo – Saturday, March 25th 7:30pm ET
Goals: Josh Currier – 16 (T-20th)
Assists: Dan Dawson – 25 (17th)
Points: Joe Resetarits – 37 (T-22nd)

Ryan Conwell

Rochester really needed this win over New England, and losing both Dan Dawson and Andrew Suitor at half hurt quite a bit. Also, right at the end of the game, Currier went down hard after a nasty late hit needing to be carried off the field by teammates. That is just something to keep an eye on going forward. Rochester is still not out, but they need to find some consistency on offense soon.

Mark Donahue

Ryan already said it best, and he was at the game to see it with his own eyes! Dawson has been on a hot streak so pulling him out of contention was too tough to deal with. Losing to another bottom rung team is discouraging. For whatever reason they haven’t made any big moves to deal with the struggles. This weekend with Buffalo should be calmer after what went down last weekend, but the Bandits could take advantage of the situation. The rookies are still doing their thing, but now that Currier is on the IR, the goal production will slow down even more. They aren’t out yet, but Playoffs are getting further and further away.

8. Calgary Roughnecks (-1)

Georgia Swam Calgary Roughnecks St. Patrick's Day 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Paul Sasso
Photo: Paul Sasso

Record: 4-8
Weekend Result: Loss to Georgia, 8-17
Next Game: @ Saskatchewan – Saturday, March 24th 9:30pm ET
Goals: Curtis Dickson – 36 (1st)
Assists: Jeff Shattler – 35 (T-8th)
Points: Curtis Dickson – 68 (5th)

Ryan Conwell

The Roughnecks just continue to baffle me because they should be better than this. A nine point loss to the Swarm after beating them by seven just two weeks ago is a drastic swing. The defense really needs to come together, though. The Rush are up next and the Riggers have put up 11 on them in both of their games so far this year. I doubt we see them going much higher than that, so the name of the game will be limiting Saskatchewan’s offense as much as possible.

Mark Donahue

They aren’t rebuilding. They aren’t hurt. What’s the deal? After 17 goals, you want to start pointing fingers at the goaltending. They stuck with Scigliano for the game and he was still .768 on the night. Obviously Georgia can shoot the ball, but they let 70 go on goal against Sciggs, with another 30 off. The Riggers allowed their opponents to shoot 100 times and meanwhile the Bees picked up 105 loose balls… 31 more than Calgary! Holy heck. They’ll probably come out of nowhere and spank the Rush this weekend, because nothing makes sense any more.

7. Buffalo Bandits (0)

Buffalo bandits vs Vancouver Stealth NLL 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Jack Dempsey
Photo: Jack Dempsey

Record: 5-6
Weekend Result: Win over Vancouver, 15-11
Next Game: @ Vancouver – Friday, March 17th 10:00pm ET
Goals: Mitch Jones – 20 (T-15th)
Assists: Dhane Smith – 31 (11th)
Points: Dhane Smith – 49 (T-15th)

Ryan Conwell

Buffalo continues to surge by beating a similarly surging Vancouver team.

Mark Donahue

Back from the bye, the Bandits aren’t looking too shabby. Capitalizing on powerplays (4 for 4) were huge for Buffalo. Yet, all three of Pat Saunders’ goals came on the 5 on 5, so maybe they are starting to round out the offense. Having Kedoh Hill back in the lineup adds great lungs to both sides of the floor but they still got outworked 60-75 looseballs. Big Fish (.788) stood strong for his boys in the crease, at nearly 80% over the weekend’s road game.

6. Vancouver Stealth (-2)

Buffalo bandits vs Vancouver Stealth NLL 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Jack Dempsey
Photo: Jack Dempsey

Record: 5-7
Weekend Result: Loss to Buffalo, 11-15
Next Game: @ Toronto – Saturday, March 25th 7:00pm ET
Goals: Corey Small – 32 (2nd)
Assists: Corey Small – 46 (2nd)
Points: Corey Small – 78 (1st)

Ryan Conwell

I really thought the Stealth had turned a corner, but that only seems to be in their division. They had won three of their last four, the lone loss being to Rochester, before this loss to Buffalo. The still hold a slim lead over Calgary, but with two straight games against the Rock, it is a very slim lead.

Mark Donahue

It’s like the Stealth hate to play at home. Just when things were going great with Belanger between the irons, Small racking up the numbers, they let a sputtering Buffalo team rack up 15 goals in their own barn. They got annihilated in the the third quarter, losing it 0-6. After Duch scored on the powerplay to close the half, they didn’t net another for around 24 minutes. Talk about a breakdown. Everything else was acceptable, probably more than enough to win. They pulled it back together in the final frame. This team loses it for stretches of time, or blows the game at the end. If they don’t lock it down, Calgary is going to bump them back out of playoff contention AGAIN.

5. New England Black Wolves (+1)

New England Black Wolves vs Rochester Knighthawks NLL 2017 Photo Jeff Melnik LaxAllStars.com
Photo: Jeff Melnik / LaxAllStars.com

Record: 6-6
Weekend Result: Win over Rochester, 12-11
Next Game: @ Calgary – Saturday, March 25th 9:00pm ET
Goals: Kevin Crowley – 30 (3rd)
Assists: Shawn Evans – 45 (3rd)
Points: Shawn Evans – 70 (T-3rd)

Ryan Conwell

This is a game that I won’t knock the Black Wolves too hard about. It was yet another one goal win at home, but they were hardly at full strength for the second half after the mini-brawl that took place right before half. The result was the Black Wolves defense being significantly lighter. Yes, Rochester lost two players as well, but this is not a good league to run with a short bench in. What does encourage me is that Shawn Evans is looking better and Kevin Buchanan has really found his shot again. He started the season slow, but has really been picking it up lately.

Mark Donahue

I guess I have to play bad cop here. Only beating the Knighthawks by a goal after knocking out Dawson and Suitor for the rest of the game at the half? You gotta do better than that! They only lost Searle and O’Brien, something they should’ve been able to deal with. The wheels were turning on the offense, although Culp posted double zeros, so the defense needs to lock things down. It wasn’t Kirk’s best night, but he still turned away 75% of what they let him see. They outworked Rochester by over 20 on looseballs and shots on goal, but chances are still getting by. Smarter, not harder. That has to be the motto.

4. Colorado Mammoth (+1)

Toronto Rock Colorado Mammoth St. Patrick's Day 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Graig Abel
Photo: Graig Abel

Record: 7-6
Weekend Result: Win over Toronto, 14-11
Next Game: vs. Saskatchewan – Saturday, March 26th 9:00pm ET
Goals: Callum Crawford – 25 (T-6th)
Assists: Callum Crawford – 47 (1st)
Points:  Callum Crawford – 72(2nd)

Ryan Conwell

Like I said with Toronto, the Mammoth actually put up some good numbers against the Rock Defense, which was their second highest goals allowed this season. What’s hard to believe is that the Mammoth have only five more games this season. Next up is a rematch with Saskatchewan, whom they have lost to twice by a single goal each time.

Mark Donahue

Tyson believes the Mammoth are deep but I’m not quite convinced. They topped Toronto, but the Rock are still shakey to me. Keogh (3+2) is still rolling in his new duds and you can count on Crawford (3+3) for a big night. Greer (0+5) had an off night shooting, but was able to consistently help his teammates find twine. Two goals came through Gajic and one from Gilles and Cupido each, showing signs that the defense is going to step back up in the transition game. Another 80% night from Dillon Ward proves they have to have one of, if not the most consistent goalie in the NLL.

3. Toronto Rock (0)

Toronto Rock Colorado Mammoth St. Patrick's Day 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Graig Abel
Photo: Graig Abel

Record: 6-5
Weekend Result: Loss to Colorado, 11-14
Next Game: @ Georgia – Friday, March 24th 7:35pm ET
Goals: Brett Hickey – 25 (T-6th)
Assists: Tom Schreiber – 39 (6th)
Points: Tom Schreiber – 57 (9th)

Ryan Conwell

The Rock fell to the Mammoth which was a bit of a surprise to me. I still don’t know what to expect from Colorado each time they take the floor, whereas I feel like Toronto has been doing a good job with all the teams from the West, but they’re now sitting at 2-2 out of their division. It really came down to defensive lapses in this case. 14 goals allowed is not normal for the Rock this season, and it’s only happened twice.

Mark Donahue

I’m in the same boat as Ryan, but both of those teams are inconsistent. After the way things started, we want to give the Rock the benefit of the doubt but a stumbling Mammoth just pinned 14 on them. Although each score featured double digits, goaltending was still strong on both ends. Stephan Leblanc (3+3) and Kasey Beirnes (3+0) both registered hat tricks, but it would only be solo shots from the rest of the group. Schreiber (1+3) racked up another 4 points to keep things from rolling backwards. They didn’t take too much of a hit without Kri (IR) at the draw circle, Magnuson winning 14 of 30. It’s going to be hard to get on track this weekend with what the Swarm having going.

2. Georgia Swarm (0)

Georgia Swam Calgary Roughnecks St. Patrick's Day 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Paul Sasso
Photo: Paul Sasso

Record: 8-3
Weekend Result: Win over Calgary, 17-8
Next Game: vs. Toronto – Friday, March 24th 7:35pm ET
Goals: Lyle Thompson – 28 (4th)
Assists: Lyle Thompson – 42 (5th)
Points: Lyle Thompson – 70 (T-3rd)

Ryan Conwell

Georgia really need a bounce back from their game against New England in a big way. With Toronto losing, I gave the Swarm their top spot back by avenging their earlier loss to the Roughnecks in a big way. Getting guys like Randy Staats and Joel White back into their lineup is nothing but a fantastic development for this team. They are still in the driver’s seat for the East.

Mark Donahue

17 goals is something serious and a strong argument for bumping them back to #1, but I didn’t forget those losses when their were shorthanded. Also, the Rush not playing will never hurt them. The Thompsons had themselves a night, putting up 5 points each. Miles (4+1) did the scoring while Lyle (1+4) worked as the quarterback. Johnny Powless (3+4) had another leading night finishing with 7 points. Poulin was over 80%, but it was the defense locking it down in front of him that limited Calgary to only 41 SOG to their 70. Things are looking pretty heading into their final seven games.

1. Saskatchewan Rush (0)

Saskatchewan Rush vs Vancouver Stealth NLL 2017 NLL Media Poll Photo: Jack Dempsey
Photo: Jack Dempsey

Record: 7-3
Weekend Result: Did not compete.
Next Game: vs. Calgary – Saturday, March 24th 9:30pm ET
Goals: Robert Church – 24 (T-11th)
Assists: Mark Matthews – 44 (4th)
Points: Mark Matthews – 66 (6th)

Ryan Conwell

The Rush had a bye, so they just hovered in my book. No big losses directly above them, and no big wins directly behind.

Mark Donahue

Same thing as RC, but I’m still convinced they’re #1. Calgary will be a good litmus test for the last stretch of the season. Can they play their game, or stoop to opponents?

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NLL Media Poll #8

Rank/Team/Previous

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

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NLL Media Poll Votes

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

Inside Look: NEBW vs Knighthawks

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

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