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.
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.
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.
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.
The playoff picture is a little more set, with both Colorado and San Diego clinching post-season spots. I have been unable to come up with a scenario where Halifax misses the playoffs, but neither the team nor the NLL has announced that they’ve clinched a spot, so I assume there’s at least one way it could happen.
It’s interesting that right at the end of the season, a few teams that have looked very strong (or in the case of the Bandits, borderline unbeatable) most of the season, Buffalo, Halifax, and San Diego, have started to look vulnerable. Buffalo has lost two straight, San Diego four, and Halifax are 1-5 in their last six. Continue reading
Every year around this time, I put together a list of the most unlikely final standings possibilities that could still happen.
This year, the eight spots in the playoffs will be made up of
- The top four teams in the East
- The top three teams in the West
- Either the 5th place East team or the 4th place West team, whichever has the better record
If teams are tied, the the first tiebreaker is their head-to-head record, then their division record, then record against common opponents. Multi-way tiebreakers are similar but more complicated.
The playoff picture is still pretty murky though getting a little clearer. The Rock have joined the Bandits in the “clinched the playoffs” club, and the Knighthawks became the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs. A few awesomes this week and only one not awesome, but that one really sucks.
There were a bunch of great games this past weekend. The Bandits solidified their stranglehold on first place in the East and the middle of the pack in both divisions got even more muddy. The Bandits may have clinched their playoff spot, but the rest of the spots are still up for grabs.