The National Lacrosse League concluded its 2012 regular season last Saturday. Here is the final installment of the weekly power rankings and my picks for the NLL playoffs.
1. Calgary Roughnecks (12-4), The Roughnecks have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs after closing the regular season strong and surpassing Colorado.
2. Colorado Mammoth (11-5), The Mammoth have an opening-round playoff game at home, but a quality opponent in the MInnesota Swarm.
3. Toronto Rock (9-7), The Rock took the East Division championship, but the teams appear to be very evenly matched. It will be a difficult road for the Rock.
4. Minnesota Swarm (9-7), The young Swarm came on very strong late in the season to finish with a winning record.
5. Philadelphia Wings (7-9), The Wings are one of three playoff teams in the East with a 7-9 record, but they have the most firepower offensively.
6. Rochester Knighthawks (7-9), The Knighthawks earned a home playoff game by finishing the season strong.
7. Buffalo Bandits (7-9), The Bandits also finished strong and avoided a situation where they would have to beat Washington just to get into the playoffs. Still as the No. 4 seed they have to travel to Toronto.
8. Edmonton Rush (6-10), The Rush’s reward for making the playoffs, a first round trip to face the NLL’s best Calgary Roughnecks.
9. Washington Stealth (4-12), The disaster season for the Stealth is finally over and they can begin looking toward 2013 while the other eight teams fight it out for the NLL championship.
West first round:
Calgary over Edmonton
Colorado over Minnesota
East first round:
Toronto over Buffalo
Philadelphia over Rochester
Colorado over Calgary
Philadelphia over Toronto
NLL Champion’s Cup:
Colorado over Philadelphia
NLL Champions: Colorado Mammoth