Halifax Overtakes San Diego for Top Spot in NLL Power Rankings


Drew Hutchison made 28 saves in his first career NLL start.

There’s a new team at the top of the National Lacrosse League power rankings for the first time this season after a second straight one-sided victory for the Halifax Thunderbirds.

Of course, there’s still a lot to learn as the league heads into the holiday break.


The T-Birds followed up a dominant showing in the NLL’s season opener by setting a new franchise record for goals in a 20-11 victory against New York. Ryan Benesch, Randy Staats and Cody Jamieson were firing on all cylinders, responsible for nine, eight and seven points, respectively. Meanwhile, Drew Hutchison made 28 saves in his first career NLL start. Halifax will get their best test yet against Buffalo. Last week: 3


The Seals had the weekend off and return to play on Friday, Jan. 6, for what should be a spirited contest at Calgary. It will mark Curtis Dickson’s first game back in Cowtown since he left via free agency this offseason, while also featuring the return of Dane Dobbie and Wes Berg. Last week: 1


Connor Fields continued his tremendous start to the season, and Rochester won its third game in a row to continue to prove it is not a fluke in a 15-14 triumph against division rival Albany. The former Albany Great Dane scored the winning goal with just over four minutes remaining to break a tie at 14, capping an eight-point performance. Last week: 2


The Rush had the weekend off and return Saturday, Jan. 7, when they host Panther City. Last week: 5


The Bandits bounced back from a disappointing Week 1 defeat to Albany by claiming a rematch of last year’s East Final. Matt Vinc was stellar, making 51 saves, while Dhane Smith notched six points in an 11-8 victory against Toronto. Vinc allowed the Rock to score just once throughout the second and third quarters, helping Buffalo build a lead it would not squander. Last week: 7


The Mammoth secured their first win since clinching the NLL Cup and rebounded from an 18-6 shellacking by Saskatchewan with a positive 12-9 showing against Panther City. Zed Williams had eight points and Eli McLaughlin was right behind him with seven in a contest in which Colorado never trailed. Veteran Rhys Duch made his debut, scoring twice while adding a helper. Last week: 8


The FireWolves suffered two losses this week, falling to the Knighthawks while also losing defenseman and faceoff specialist Joe Nardella for the season. He’ll also miss the upcoming Premier Lacrosse League season after suffering a torn ACL at U.S. national team tryouts. On the floor, Albany weathered a 19-minute scoring drought that allowed the K-Hawks to turn an 8-4 deficit into a 10-8 lead. Last week: 5


The Roughnecks have taken care of business thus far, besting the Warriors twice in back-to-back weekends. The latest chapter was more convincing than the first, a 14-5 win backed by seven points from Tyler Pace and 49 saves from Christian del Bianco. Pace’s performance helped set up his must-watch postgame interview. Last week: 10


The Rock have now dropped two straight, one to the ascending Knighthawks and the other to championship hopeful Buffalo. They’ve been held to single-digit goals in both outings. Rock forward Tom Schreiber put things quite simply postgame: “We’ve got to score more goals,” he said. The Rock won 19 of 23 faceoffs and snagged 99 loose balls to the Bandits’ 65, but it wasn’t enough. Last week: 6


The Wings and Swarm have now played six straight one-goal games against one another. And for the fifth time in that stretch, Philadelphia was the victor thanks to a seven-point performance from Ben McIntosh and five each from Joe Resetarits and Blaze Riorden. Resetarits’ showing was a positive sign after he went without a goal in his Wings debut. Last week: 13


PCLC split the weekend, defeating Las Vegas 9-3 on Friday before falling to the Mammoth a night later. Will Malcom and Patrick Dodds each had four points against the Desert Dogs, while Jonathan Donville totaled six points against Colorado and Mathieu Gautier added five in his NLL debut. Last week: 9


The Riptide’s biggest question mark heading into the season was the backend, skepticism that wasn’t alleviated by giving up the league’s first 20-goal game of the season. With their latest outing, the Riptide have allowed the most goals in the East Division and the second-most goals in the league. Jeff Teat is tied for the league lead in assists and is second in points, but it hasn’t translated to a win. Last week: 11


The Swarm were in position to secure their first win when Lyle Thompson scored for a 10-7 lead after three quarters. Instead, Philadelphia responded with five straight while Georgia failed to beat Philadelphia’s Zach Higgins for nearly the first 12 minutes of the final frame. The group has now dropped a pair of games after leading by four in both. Last week: 12


The Desert Dogs scored a victory at the gates in their first ever home game, with a spirited crowd of over 7,000 packed into Michelob Ultra Arena. A key to the city was presented to co-owners Wayne Gretzky, Joe Tsai and Steve Nash, and Raiders star wide receiver Davante Adams even received his own Desert Dogs jersey. Unfortunately, the home faithful had little to cheer for on the floor. Last week: 14


The Warriors are averaging just seven goals per game and have yet to crack double digits in three tries. This week’s five-goal performance marked a new low. That’s the third time Vancouver has scored five times or less dating back to the start of last season and extends a losing streak dating back to last year to eight. How long until the franchise hits the reset button? Last week: 15


Most Recent

11 Reasons to Watch the National Lacrosse League in 2023-24

A new season begins this weekend. Here are 11 reasons to watch all year long.

2023-24 NLL Preview: Warriors Reshaped Under New Head Coach Curt Malawsky

The 2023 NLL Coach of the Year, Malawsky reshaped Vancouver in his image.

2023-24 NLL Preview: Rock Make Offseason Splash to Take Next Step

The Rock have fallen in the East semifinals the past two seasons.

2023-24 NLL Preview: Rush Move On from Championship-Era Stalwarts

Mark Matthews and Kyle Rubisch are gone as Saskatchewan seeks a new identity.

Twitter Posts

Get the best and latest from USALaxMagazine.com delivered weekly straight to your inbox: