Bandits Beat Seals, Steal Top Spot in NLL Power Rankings


Matt Vinc made 49 saves in a win over San Diego.

Week 17 in the National Lacrosse League saw a battle of No. 1 and 2 in the power rankings — and resulted in the squads flipping from last week’s order.

It also brought a second playoff clinching, a sign that the regular season is beginning to wind down. Yet, there’s still plenty more to discover in the remaining five weeks of the campaign.


Steve Priolo put the team on his back like any good captain does, though perhaps not in the way you’d expect from the stellar defenseman. He scored just his third goal of the season at a critical point, notching an overtime winner in a 7-6 slugfest with San Diego. Matt Vinc made 49 saves in a battle of the conference leaders, as the Bandits moved to 3-0 in overtime games this season. Last week: 1


San Diego opened the weekend with a dominant 17-9 showing against Panther City, led by 10 points from Wes Berg. The Seals were only behind the Bandits twice on Saturday — at 1-0 and after Priolo’s OT tally. A three-goal run in the second quarter put San Diego ahead a pair at the break, and Austin Staats’ second goal made it a 6-5 advantage heading into the fourth. But Vinc closed the door on the West favorites, shutting the Seals out for the final 17 minutes of game action. Last week: 2


Tanner Cook had seven points and Jesse King added six as the Riggers bested Saskatchewan 14-6 to secure a season sweep. None of the matchups were particularly close either, with Calgary previously defeating their prairie rivals 13-6 and 11-6. Calgary has won three straight and has narrowed San Diego’s lead in the standings to a half a game. Last week: 3

4. TORONTO ROCK (11-4)

Toronto took care of business and bounced back from a loss with an 11-9 victory against Albany. The situation got dicey in a fourth quarter that saw the FireWolves narrow an 8-4 Rock advantage to one, but Latrell Harris gave his team cushion with a final goal with 37 seconds left. With the result, Toronto joined Buffalo by clinching a playoff spot. Last week: 4


Cody Jamieson had six points as the T-Birds fended off the Wings 14-10, a crucial head-to-head matchup when it comes to the fourth East playoff spot. Philadelphia got within one four times in the second half after Halifax previously led by as much as five, but the Thunderbirds always had an answer. Ryan Benesch hit another milestone, becoming the seventh NLL player to reach 1,200 points. Last week: 8


The San Diego defeat was tied for PCLC’s most lopsided of the season and its high for goals allowed. Jonathan Donville notched three power play points as part of a five-point night. He leads the league in points and assists with an extra man with 26 and 24, respectively. Last week: 5


It’s been a troubling two weeks for the K-Hawks, who were perfect against teams under .500 until their last two defeats. The latest against a struggling side came in the team’s first meeting with Las Vegas, a 12-7 final in favor of the Desert Dogs. A four-goal Vegas run in the second gave the hosts a lead they would not relinquish, even as Rochester got within a tally twice. Last week: 6


Colorado orchestrated a late push consisting of five goals in just over four minutes — three of which came off the stick of Zed Williams — but couldn’t come back in a 14-12 loss to Vancouver. Williams and Ryan Lee each had seven points, with all of Lee’s on assists, as the Mammoth were unable to ride the momentum created by a win against Buffalo. Last week: 7


Ben McIntosh, Blaze Riorden and Mitch Jones led the comeback effort in the second half, helping fuel a 5-1 run that got the team back in it with Halifax. McIntosh made it a one-goal game for the final time at 11-10 halfway through the fourth quarter, but the Thunderbirds closed with three straight to pull away. Halifax sits a game up on the Wings for the fourth East playoff spot. Last week: 9


The Swarm continue to show new life, winning for a fourth time in five attempts with a 13-8 triumph against New York. Georgia put its stamp on the game early, taking 9-1 and 10-2 leads early in the second quarter on goals by Andrew Kew. He finished with nine points, while Lyle Thompson added seven. Is a playoff push feasible? With upcoming games against New York, Halifax, Saskatchewan and Albany, it is possible. Last week: 12


Saskatchewan has tumbled down the West standings with five straight losses, setting a new low for goals scored during this stretch this weekend. Mark Matthews, the team’s second-leading scorer, has gone cold in the last three weeks. He notched a goal and an assist against Calgary, pushing his point total in the last three games to six. Last week: 11


Jack Hannah continued to bolster his candidacy as a Rookie of the Year finalist, recording six points as his Desert Dogs snapped a three-game losing streak. Captain Rob Hellyer had two goals and seven assists on an emotional night for the franchise. Las Vegas celebrated Tucker Out Cancer night for the first time in honor of head coach Shawn Williams’ late son. Last week: 14


The Riptide scored just once in the first 22 minutes of play, a recipe for disaster against a Georgia team that has found an offensive touch. Jeff Teat was his usual self with seven points, but no other Riptide player had more than three. Last week: 10


Chase Scanlan scored the eventual winner and the final insurance tally as part of a three-goal night in Vancouver’s upset of Colorado. The Warriors built a 10-5 lead midway through the second quarter before the Mammoth’s counterstrike. Scanlan’s closing goals sandwiched five for Colorado but were just enough. Last week: 14


Four FireWolves beat Toronto’s Nick Rose in the team’s promising 5-3 run in the fourth quarter; however, moral victories are hard to take considering Albany’s nine-game losing streak. Zac Tucci won 10 of his 24 draws, and the Rock were able to secure the final two to help ice away the game. Last week: 15


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