By Nick Powers | 4/23/13 11:15 AM
In the final week of the National Lacrosse League’s regular season, playoff berths were both clinched and lost, as competition was still at a peak just before the playoffs begin.
The defending champion Rochester Knighthawks earned a spot in the NLL playoffs with a 10-9 road victory over the Buffalo Bandits, who were eliminated from playoff contention in the loss. The First Niagara Center was packed with 19,070 fans, a new NLL regular season record, but the hometown crowd was not enough to lift the Bandits to victory, with Cody Jamieson of the Hamilton Nationals leading the way for Rochester with six points on a tally and five helpers. Despite being a storied NLL franchise, Buffalo suffered its second-straight six-game losing streak in as many seasons, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Another clutch performance to clinch a playoff spot came from the Colorado Mammoth, as they bested the Minnesota Swarm, 16-14 on the road in the Xcel Energy Center before 12,243 fans on Saturday. Adam Jones of the Nationals was integral in Colorado’s victory, scoring eight points on five tallies and three assists while John Grant Jr. (also of the Nationals) registered five points of his own on three goals and two helpers. Despite the loss, the Swarm is still in playoff contention as the fourth seed, and with a young team moving forward they could potentially cause a stir in Toronto next weekend when they take on the Rock.
In a contest recorded as the fifth-longest game in NLL history, the Calgary Roughnecks beat the Edmonton Rush, 12-11 in overtime, putting them in a West Division semifinal against the Colorado Mammoth next weekend at home. For the Roughnecks, Geoff Snider (Charlotte) had one goal, while Mark Matthews (New York) scored for the Rush, marking his 38th goal this season and breaking the franchise record for goals in a season set by Chris Gill in 2006. With the loss, Edmonton now falls to third in the West and will have to visit Washington in their first playoff game this weekend; a devastating side effect for a team looking to host its first home playoff game in franchise history.
The Washington Stealth were able to clinch the second seed in the West Division on Saturday night with a 17-13 victory over the Philadelphia Wings at the Comcast Arena. Rhys Duch of Hamilton was largely to thank for the Stealth victory after he put up nine points on four goals and five assists, his second highest point total of the season. Brodie Merrill (Hamilton) had two tallies for the Wings on the night, while Jordan Hall (Hamilton) and Brendan Mundorf (Denver) both finished with five points on two goals and three assists for Philadelphia. Next weekend, the Stealth will host the Edmonton Rush, looking for redemption from their two previous losses to Edmonton this season.