Surprise! Rochester the NLL's Last Unbeaten, Holds Firm at No. 1

PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCHESTER KNIGHTHAWKS / NLL

Rylan Hartley made 33 saves in an 11-8 win over New York to remain perfect on the season.


Only one team remains unbeaten after seven weeks of the National Lacrosse League season — and it’s a surprising last squad standing. Meanwhile, 11 of the league’s 15 teams sit at .500 or better, and three are still looking for that first victory.

1. ROCHESTER KNIGHTHAWKS (5-0)

The second iteration of the K-Hawks have now set a new franchise record for wins in a season, surpassing last season’s total of four before ever losing a game. With an 11-8 win against New York on Sunday, the group has shocked just about everyone and is no longer overlooked. Connor Fields returned with a four-goal performance, while Ryan Smith and Holden Cattoni each had four points in a game Rochester never trailed. Last week: 1

2. BUFFALO BANDITS (4-1)

Could the Bandits secure MVP honors for different players in back-to-back seasons? Josh Byrne now leads the NLL in goals (20) and points (37) after recording his second sock trick of the season in an 11-9 win against Georgia. He added three assists to push his point total to nine on the night, while last year’s MVP Dhane Smith added six points to stay one behind him on the league leaderboard. Last week: 3

3. SAN DIEGO SEALS (4-1)

Perhaps no one knows the Seals better than the Roughnecks given the amount of players that have left Calgary for California, so perhaps it’s no surprise that it was the Roughnecks that handed them their first defeat. Three weeks after San Diego won the matchup 17-14, Calgary flipped the script thanks to a hot start and a strong end of the first half in a 14-10 final. Last week: 2

4. CALGARY ROUGHNECKS (3-2)

The Riggers earned an early season split with the Seals, getting out to a 5-0 advantage and enduring when their rivals to the south cut the deficit to one. Backed by six points from Tyler Pace and five each from Jesse King and Shane Simpson, Calgary became the first to topple San Diego on the season, bounced back from its loss to Colorado and continued to prove it can hang with the best in the West. Josh Currier, acquired earlier in the week, had four points. Last week: 9

5. COLORADO MAMMOTH (3-1)

Speaking of avenging previous defeats, the defending champions had something to prove after a demoralizing 18-6 loss to Saskatchewan to open the season. They feel much better leaving this week, with veteran Rhys Duch scoring the overtime game winner in a 11-10 rematch. That ended a back-and-forth affair which saw the teams tied at 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. Last week: 6

6. TORONTO ROCK (3-2)

The Rock displayed an impressive level of dominance against another East hopeful, sending Halifax to an 0-2 weekend with a 17-8 victory on Saturday. After a close first quarter which saw each team score twice, Toronto heavily outproduced their opponents in the final three quarters, truly pulling away with a 7-3 fourth. Ten Rock players notched multiple points, led by Tom Schreiber with seven. Last week: 7

7. SASKATCHEWAN RUSH (2-2)

The Rush went ahead four times as the team traded goals with Colorado, then got one final equalizer from Dan Lintner with about five and a half minutes left in regulation. Robert Church and Lintner each recorded six points for the Rush, who have a strong opportunity to string together wins with upcoming games against Las Vegas and Vancouver. Last week: 5







8. ALBANY FIREWOLVES (2-2)

Kieran McArdle scored the game winner less than two minutes into overtime to give Albany an 11-10 victory against Halifax, adding another nice win to the resume alongside the season-opening triumph against Buffalo. Albany ended the game on a three-goal run, including two tallies from McArdle, to help overcome the Thunderbirds flipping a 6-3 deficit into an 8-6 lead earlier in the contest. Last week: 10

9. PANTHER CITY LACROSSE CLUB (3-3)

PCLC dug out of a 6-2 halftime hole, earning a tie at 7 thanks to five different goal scorers in the third before going on to a 12-10 victory. Will Malcom orchestrated an ankle-breaking move to break a tie at 10 with 47 seconds remaining before Josh Medeiros added an insurance tally. Last week: 11

10. HALIFAX THUNDERBIRDS (3-3)

It was a disastrous week for the Thunderbirds, who lost serious ground in the East race with the Bandits and Rock. They’ll have time to think about it and rest up with next week off, but the No. 1 Rochester Knighthawks await on the other side. Last week: 4

11. PHILADELPHIA WINGS (2-2)

Philadelphia got fourth quarter goals from Blaze Riorden and Sam LeClair to earn a tie at 10 but weren’t able to fully fend off the Panther City comeback. The result was discouraging for the Wings, especially considering their only victories have come against winless squads in Georgia and Las Vegas. Last week: 8

12. NEW YORK RIPTIDE (0-4)

The Riptide shook up the front office by parting ways with general manager Jim Veltman last Monday, with executive vice president Rich Lisk taking the reins. He made his first move by adding needed defensive help, acquiring former Panther City captain Chad Cummings in exchange for Jake Fox, but it wasn’t enough to immediately end a winless streak. Last week: 12

13. GEORGIA SWARM (0-4)

The Swarm played the Bandits much closer than last week — when they fell 18-9 at home — but couldn’t build on a four-goal run that gave the team a 7-6 lead in the early stages of the third quarter. Georgia scored just once in the final 21 minutes of play, allowing a Buffalo comeback. Last week: 14

14. VANCOUVER WARRIORS (1-4)

The Warriors’ nine-game losing streak dating back to last season finally came to an end with the expansion Desert Dogs helping Vancouver’s offense come to life. The Warriors scored 14 times in the first half — more than they’ve scored in an entire game all season — in a 19-16 win. Shawn Evans, Mitch Jones and Keegan Bal all had eight points in Troy Cordingley’s first triumph as Vancouver’s head coach and the team’s first game since the departure of general manager Dan Richardson. Last week: 15

15. LAS VEGAS DESERT DOGS (0-4)

Rob Hellyer became the first player in franchise history to record double-digit points, notching a goal and 10 assists, but it wasn’t enough for that elusive first win against Vancouver. A four-goal run got the Desert Dogs within two with three minutes remaining, but the comeback effort ended there. Last week: 15

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