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 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.
Toronto’s final home game of the year saw the Halifax Thunderbirds in town to help celebrate Indigenous Heritage Night. I’ve given some more details on that in my Weekly Report so I won’t repeat it all here but it was a great night and the specially-designed Rock jerseys were absolutely beautiful. The game itself was entertaining as well though I’m a little surprised at how much the Thunderbirds don’t look like the team that started the season 8-1.
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.