The Finals are set: the Bandits will take on the Colorado Mammoth for the 2022 NLL title. This is a rematch of the 2006 Finals, the only other Championship appearance for the Mammoth, where they beat the Bandits 16-9. Nobody who played in that game is still an active player, but the lineups included both current head coaches (Pat Coyle and John Tavares), as well as Bandits GM Steve Dietrich, Knighthawks GM Dan Carey, and a few other head and assistant coaches from around the league: Dan Stroup, Chris Gill, and Billy Dee Smith.
There are at most four NLL games left in the season, and only three teams left. The Bandits now have a weekend off before facing either the Seals or Mammoth in the finals, and I’m sure that will be an awesome series. But what was awesome about last weekend? I’m glad you asked.
By now, I’m sure you all know how this game ended, not only the outcome but the dramatic fashion in which it happened. But whether or not you are happy with the result, you have to admit this was an amazing game with an amazing ending.
The division finals started this past weekend with two fantastic and entertaining close games. On Friday, the underdog Mammoth came from behind three times but the Seals tied it up in the fourth quarter before Zed Williams scored his fifth to give Colorado the lead they wouldn’t give up. Meanwhile, Sunday night in Buffalo featured another exciting back-and-forth game, similar to Friday’s but with higher numbers.
The division finals are set: the Bandits will host the Rock beginning next Sunday, and the Seals host the Mammoth with game 1 on Friday night. We had four excellent games to start the 2022 NLL playoffs, and the matchups for the second round should be just as good. The Rock took two of three from the Bandits during the regular season, while the Seals took two of three from the Mammoth.
Friday night featured the first game of the 2022 NLL playoffs and if you don’t think playoff lacrosse is just a little more intense than the regular season, I urge you to check out Halifax’s visit to
Toronto Hamilton. Actually Colorado’s visit to Calgary was pretty intense as well, but I’m just talking about the T-Birds/Rock game here. As the second seed in the East and the home team, the Rock were the favourites but in a one-game winner-take-all showdown, we know anything can happen. Both teams have a ton of firepower up front, solid defense and transition, great goaltending, a proven leader as their captain, and are well-coached. We all knew this was going to be a fantastic game.
A number of player single-season records were broken this season, and a few players and teams came close. Here is a list of the new player records (in bold), and teams and players that are now in the top ten in some category. Categories I looked at were:
- For non-goalies, goals, assists, points, loose balls, face-offs (wins, attempts, percentage), CTOs, goals/game, assists/game, and points/game.
- For goalies, GAA, saves, minutes, wins, and save %. Yes, someone entered the top 10 in losses in a season but let’s focus on the positive.
- Teams: wins, total goals, goals allowed, and goal differential.
So that’ll do it for the 2022 regular season. The playoffs begin next weekend, so congrats to the Bandits, Rock, Thunderbirds, FireWolves, Seals, Mammoth, Roughnecks, and Wings for making the playoffs.
For the first time since either team came into existence (2016 in both cases), neither the Saskatchewan Rush nor the Georgia Swarm will be playing in the post-season. The last time the Rush franchise missed the playoffs was 2011 as the Edmonton Rush, and the last time for the Swarm franchise was 2015 as the Minnesota Swarm.
I’m not exactly sure what I got wrong in last week’s report, but my analysis of who would make the playoffs was wrong. Albany and Philly won, and both made the playoffs, but in my scenario describing that situation, I said that Philly would take the east and Albany the west, when it was the other way around. I should also have realized that I had a scenario where Albany would miss the playoffs if they won and yet also said that they were in if they won.
This is my final weekly report for the regular season, but of course the awesome-ness (and not-awesome-ness) will continue throughout the playoffs.
The playoff picture becomes a little clearer each week, but we’re not done yet. Halifax clinched their spot and Saskatchewan, Panther City, and New York were eliminated, so we now have the strange situation of Georgia, Philadelphia, and Albany fighting for the last spot in both the East and West divisions. We have Georgia and Philly playing each other next weekend while New York plays Albany. Here are the possibilities:
- Albany loses, Georgia wins: Georgia is 10-8 and takes the east spot, Albany and Philly are both 8-10 so Albany takes the west spot because they are 2-0 against the Wings.
- Albany loses, Philly wins: Philly and Georgia are both 9-9, Philly takes the east spot because they’re 3-0 against Georgia, Georgia takes the west spot. Albany is 8-10.
- Albany wins, Georgia wins: Georgia is 10-8 and takes the east spot, Albany is 9-9 and takes the west. Philly is 8-10.
- Albany wins, Philly wins: All three are 9-9. The first tiebreaker is their head-to-head winning percentage, but I’m not sure that helps. Albany is 3-2 against the other two, Georgia is 2-4, and Philly is also 3-2. Does that mean Albany and Philly make it through to the next tiebreaker and Georgia is out? Or does it mean we don’t consider this tiebreaker because it didn’t provide a clear winner? I honestly don’t know. The next tiebreaker is their division standings. In this scenario, Georgia would be 8-8 within their division, Philly 7-9 and Albany 6-9.
- If Georgia is eliminated because of the first tiebreaker, Philly takes the East, Albany takes the west, and Georgia is out.
- If the first tiebreaker gets thrown out, Georgia takes the East spot, Philly takes the west, and Albany is out.
However, if case 4b applies, then Georgia has already clinched a playoff spot since they make the playoffs in every case here. Neither the league nor the Swarm have announced that, so case 4a is likely the real one.
So for each team, the outcomes are:
- Georgia: Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re in if Albany loses.
- Philly: Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re out.
- Albany: Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re in if Georgia wins.
The playoff picture in the West is almost complete, as Calgary has clinched their spot while Vancouver is out. Only one spot remains in the West, but the battle in the East will take that down to the wire. Right now, the Thunderbirds and Swarm would join the Bandits and Rock in the playoffs, and the FireWolves would take the fourth spot in the West. But Halifax, Georgia, Albany, and Philly are still close enough that any of them may or may not make it, and if Panther City wins their last two games, they could take that fourth position in the West as well.