With just two weeks remaining in the NLL regular season, three teams have punched their ticket to the postseason, but the remaining two still have a legitimate shot at finding a way in and the seeding of the division remains wide open.
The Calgary Roughnecks, Edmonton Rush and Washington Stealth are all knotted at the top with identical 8-6 records. But it isn’t quite as simple as that.
The Stealth now hold the tie-breaker advantage over Calgary by virtue of winning their season series against the Roughnecks last weekend, so if the two teams remain tied at the end of the regular season, Washington will be seeded higher.
Edmonton has beaten Washington two times out of three meetings this year, so if the Rush finish tied with the Stealth, they get the higher seed.
And the Roughnecks currently enjoy a two games-to-one advantage on the season against the Rush, although they play once more for their last game of the season. The winner of that series would have the tie-breaker advantage over the other.
But it can still get even more complicated.
The Colorado Mammoth and Minnesota Swarm are currently tied for fourth in the division at 6-8 and their final two games are a home-and-home series against each other.
If either Colorado or Minnesota wins both games, they’ll finish at 8-8 and could, hypothetically, catch one or two of the current front runners. Meanwhile, the team that drops both games in this scenario is in jeopardy of missing the playoffs entirely, should the Buffalo Bandits find a way to win their last two contests and climb out of the league’s cellar.
So the season really comes down to these final two games for all five teams.
Momentum might be one indicator to figure out who has the best shot of determining their own destiny. Every team except one is currently looking pretty hot.
The Rush won five straight before finally being stopped last weekend by the Toronto Rock, who sport the NLL’s best record, at 10-5. The Mammoth have won four of their last five and two straight. The Roughnecks and Swarm have both won three of their last four, but both squads have dropped their most recent games. And the Stealth have lost two of their last three, but won their last game.
The bottom line is that it appears Colorado has the most momentum going into the stretch drive, but that all five teams are poised to make these last two weeks very interesting.