CLAX Power Rankings—Week 10
The final weekend of the Canadian Lacrosse League season was an extremely important one. The only club not in action this past week was the already-eliminated-from-playoff-contention Niagara Lockmonsters, while the likes of Durham and Southwest did battle for the third seed, and Barrie and Ohsweken battled for the top seed and home floor throughout the 2015 playoffs. The Barrie Blizzard where able to secure the top seed with a 17-11 victory over the Demons, while Durham knocked off Southwest 13-11, in front of a sold out crowd at the Syl Apps Community Centre. With the eight game regular season now concluded, the first round playoff matches are now set, as Barrie will host Southwest, and Durham will travel to Ohsweken.
#1. Barrie Blizzard (6-2)
Last Week: 17-11 W over Ohsweken
The Barrie Blizzard capped off an excellent regular season this past weekend, defeating the very talented Ohsweken Demons by a score of 17-11. Barrie got off to somewhat of a slow start early on in the season, unable to string two consecutive wins together. However that has since changed, as the Blizzard have now won five straight games, and look hotter then ever heading into the playoffs. The addition of Dustin Caravello, combined with the return of Caleb Wiles and the outstanding offensive play from Mike Teeter, have made Barrie arguably the most potent offensive in the Canadian Lacrosse League. The three players offensive talents where on full display this past weekend, as Mike Teeter exploded for seven goals and two assists, while Caravello racked up a goal and six assists, and Wiles potted two goals and three assists for five points. The depth of the Blizzard is undoubtedly their strong point, guys have come in and out of the lineup with little to no drop off in the teams play, guys have stepped up with timely play, and the goaltending Angus Dineley is providing for the Blizzard should have NLL clubs taking notice. At this point its hard for me to see any team knocking off the Blizzard, as they seem to be firing on all cylinders.
#2. Ohsweken Demons (4-4)
Last Week: 17-11 L to Barrie
Despite dropping a disheartening loss to Barrie in the final regular season game of the year, the Ohsweken Demons are still as dangerous as ever. While inconsistencies have crept up time and time again this season, the Demons still boast an extremely deep and talented lineup, that could come together at any point, to absolutely dominate their opponent. Chris Attwood and veteran Roger Vyse led the Demons offensively in their loss to Barrie, as Attwood potted a goal and four assists, while Vyse tallied three goals. The Demons missed the potent offense that Wayne Van Every brings to the table this past weekend, although the bigger concern was the fact a usually stingy defense gave up 17 goals. We all know Jake Henhawk can provide elite goaltending for the Demons, but can the young defense pull it together to shut down offenses when it counts moving forward. While the Demons seems to be struggling lately, Ohsweken is always dangerous. With the offense and talent they have on the club they are a team i would try to avoid to the best of my ability come playoff time.
#3. Durham Turfdogs (4-4)
Last Week: 13-11 W over Southwest
After narrowly edging the Southwest Cyclops 13-11 on Saturday night, the Durham Turfdogs also narrowly edge the Cyclops out for third in the CLAX power rankings. The Turfdogs seem to have found some consistency as of late, with youngsters really stepping up in the clutch. The Turfdogs where without leading scorer Jesse Guerin this past weekend, but still the offense was able to put up 13 goals on a stingy Southwest defense. Geoff McNulty and rookie Thomas Hoggarth really stepped up for Durham at the offensive end, as Hoggarth led the team offensively, potting four goals and one assist, while McNulty added two goals and two assists for four points. Joe Wasson quietly added five assists in the win, and John St. John continues to prove his worth as he picked up a hat trick and added an assist. St. John has to be one of the most underrated players on the Turfdogs rosters, as he plays a gritty, yet offensively sound game. While Durham was again unable to keep their opponent under 10 goals defensively, the team is improving in that aspect. The addition of Mack O’Brien has really helped the club’s transition game, and if Mark Farthing is able to get back in time for the playoffs, the Turfdogs defense and transition game could be firing on all cylinders. I still have concerns in goal, but both Cole Murray and Kevin Croswell do have the ability to get hot at the right time.
#4. Southwest Cyclops (4-4)
Last Week: 13-11 L to Durham
Despite dropping three of their last four games, the Cyclops still boast a very skilled lineup, a lineup that had the team atop the CLAX standings and Power Rankings for brief times this season. While the loss of captain Mike Burke has really seemed to change the clubs offense, players have stepped up and continue to produce. It just seems as though things don’t quite click the way they used to. The Cyclops need to walk a finer line with their aggression, as the club finds themselves in the penalty box way more then they need to. At point this past weekend, Southwest took seven straight penalties, you are simply not going to win games if your playing shorthanded for an entire quarter of lacrosse. Jay Preece was solid early on for Southwest, and continues to be strong, however Preece is a streaky goaltender and his high end early season play seems to be tailing off a bit, at the wrong time of the season. This past weekend, Eric Pitre led the Cyclops offensively with two goals and two assists for four points, while Ryan MacGregor, Patrick McCrory and Brady Heseltine all had two goal performances.
#5. Niagara Lockmonsters (2-6)
Last Week: DNP
The Lockmonsters did not play this past weekend, and had they played, it really would not have mattered as the club was eliminated from playoff contention last weekend. What a year can do! The defending Creators Cup Champions went from the penthouse to the basement in just under 12 months. The roster did have a significant turnover, and the loss of goaltender David DiRuscio was probably the most significant loss to the club, as DiRuscio absolutely stole games for Niagara last season.