Oshawa returns to top of ALL Power Rankings after Week 4

by Stephen Stamp

1 (3) Oshawa Outlaws (3-1)Last week: W14-7 v Toronto Monarchs
This week: Off
The Outlaws bounced back big time from their only loss of the season. Great goaltending from Zach Higgins made the winning margin wider than it would otherwise have been, but Oshawa outplayed the Monarchs to bump Toronto from top spot in the rankings. Higgins was ethereal, frustrating Monarchs shooters including a brilliant fingertip stop on Dustin Caravello's penalty shot attempt in the final minute of the game. Oshawa also got solid defence, a transition effort that put constant pressure on Toronto, and balanced offence. Hard to imagine you could ask for much more from a team in a battle for first place. Matt Spanger was outstanding in his ALL debut. Spanger had a goal and two assists but really made his impact from his defensive presence and his excellent sense of when to push the envelope in transition and when to pull up and hand it off to the offence.

2 (2) Six Nations Snipers (3-1)
Last week: W15-13 v St. Catharines
This week: @ Paris
The Snipers likely aren't happy about giving up 13 goals to a St. Catharines team that hadn't scored more than 10 in a game before. The offence, though, is definitely clicking. Six Nations was led in Week 4 by 35-year-old Roger Vyse with 3 goals and 3 assists and by 18-year-old Travis Longboat with 3 goals and 2 assists. That's a nice mix. Since being shut out in the season opener, tranny Patrick Corbett has scored 7 goals and 11 points in three outings. More support for defensive leader Jake Crans would go a long way towards making the Snipers a tougher team to play against as the season progresses.

3 (4) St. Catharines ShockWave (2-2)
Last week: L15-13 @ Six Nations
This week: Off
Chris Attwood will always give a team a chance to score, but as good as he is the ShockWave needed another threat to open up the floor and get the offence rolling. That threat arrived in Week 3 in the form of Josh Becker, who now has 8 goals and 3 assists in his two game with St. Catharines. Becker can score from inside or outside, forcing opponents to pay careful attention. That can only be good news for the likes of Jeff Wittig, the 19-year-old who had his most effective game in Week 4 and was rewarded with 3 goals and 2 assists. The key now for St. Kitts will be to get the offence and defence going at the same time.

4 (Last week 1) Toronto Monarchs (2-2)
Last week: L14-7 @ Oshawa
This week: Off
Not a lot went right for Toronto in Week 4. They had Craig Wende back, but he just wasn't as sharp as he had been in his first two games. At the other end of the floor, they went without a goal for a 33-minute stretch from the first quarter to the third. Winning the fourth quarter 4-3 may have been a moral victory, but when you enter the frame down 11-3, it doesn't feel too satisfying to eke out an advantage in the final 15 minutes. Contrary to what they showed last week, though, the Monarchs may have the deepest and most balanced roster in the ALL. They shouldn't have too much trouble bouncing back. Look for them to come out much sharper after their bye week.

5 (5) Paris RiverWolves (2-2)
Last week: W13-10 v Peterborough
This week: v Six Nations
The RiverWolves offence was firing on all cylinders in Week 4 to register their second straight win over Peterborough. You could have a long, stimulating argument about who was the best forward in the 13-10 victory: Mike Burke with his goal and 8 assists, Brenden Thenhaus with his 2 and 5 or Dan Keane with his hat trick and 2 helpers. For all that those three righties excelled, the best goal of the game—and a candidate for the best of the year—didn't even count. Bryden Curran made a spectacular one-hand-reach dunk goal but was called for being in the crease (the replay made it clear the goal should have counted). Luckily for Paris it wound up not mattering, largely because Curran salted things away with a pair of goals two minutes apart late in the fourth quarter. The RiverWolves will have their hands full with the Snipers this weekend, but they look like they've come a long way since falling 18-7 to Six Nations back in Week 2.

6 (6) Peterborough Timbermen (0-4)
Last week: L13-10 v Paris
This week: Off
A slow start put the Timbermen behind the 8 ball in Week 4 and ultimately left then unable to muster their first win. Peterborough got closer, though, battling all the way back from a 6-2 third-quarter deficit to tie Paris 8-8 before the fourth quarter started thanks to a 5-1 spurt led by a trio of transition goals. The Timbermen looked the most energetic they have all year, but as is often the case, the effort to battle back from an early hole proved to be too much. Paris rebounded to control the final 15 minutes and pull away to the win. There were encouraging signs for Peterborough, though. Even more encouraging was the mid-week news that the team has added a pair of players to the active roster ahead of their Week 6 return to the floor. Caleb Wiles and his slick stick should provide an instant boost to the offence while Ian Crawford adds depth and solidity in the back end. If they can get Colin Boucher on board, as the press release announcing the other pair of signings suggested they aim to, the Timbermen should take a giant step in competitiveness next time they play.