Outlaws Continue Their Ride at top of ALL Power Rankings

by Stephen Stamp

Sometimes the top teams in a league run into each other and an epic battle for bragging rights ensues. Other times one team makes it clear there's really no question who's on top, at least for now. The latter scenario played out when the top two teams in IL Indoor's Arena Lacrosse League Power Rankings from Week 4 met in Paris last Saturday. Oshawa scored a pair of shorthanded goals 33 seconds apart two-thirds of the way through the first period to take a 4-1 lead and were never really threatened again by the Paris RiverWolves. It's official: the Outlaws are clearly the best team in the ALL right now. The good news for the rest of the league is there's still almost two-thirds of the season (26 of 42 games) to be played, giving them hope they can close ground on Oshawa.

1 (1) Oshawa Outlaws (4-1)
Last week: W17-12 @ Paris
This week: v St. Catharines
Memories of Oshawa's desultory performance in its lone loss of the season, to St. Catharines in Week 3, have been swept away by back-to-back convincing wins over the two teams closest to the Outlaws in the Power Rankings. Oshawa has scored the most goals per game in the league and given up by far the fewest. The Outlaws have allowed 8.8 per game; every other team has allowed between 11.2 and 12.6 per game. That puts Oshawa atop the Rankings heap and it's not close.

2 (2) Paris RiverWolves (3-3)
Last week: L17-12 v Oshawa
This week: v Peterborough
When the RiverWolves rode a 10-goal outburst to a dominating Week 5 win over the Snipers, it looked like Paris was ready to mount a legitimate challenge to Oshawa. Instead, they have a gaggle of teams breathing down their neck. Paris stays ahead of Six Nations because of that Week 5 victory and the Snipers close call against winless Peterborough, but the margin is slim.

3 (3) Six Nations Snipers (4-2)
Last week: W11-8 v Peterborough
This week: v St. Catharines
Six Nations is potent offensively and should get even better as Craig Point gets accustomed to his new surroundings. If Warren Hill's performance in Week 6 is a sign that he's settled in to the ALL as well, the defensive end of the floor should be much more consistent for the Snipers, too.

4 (4) St. Catharines ShockWave (3-2)
Last week: W12-11 v Toronto
This week: @ Six Nations, @ Oshawa
Chris Attwood leads the ALL in goals, Bryan Neufeld leads in assists and Josh Becker is second in points per game, but St. Catharines is still the lowest-scoring team in the league outside of Peterborough. The ShockWave need to find some secondary scoring; it would help substantially if their transition game could kick in a few goals to take the pressure off the offensive unit.

5 (5) Toronto Monarchs (2-3)
Last week: L12-11 v St. Catharines
This week: v Peterborough
Looking at the Monarchs' roster, you would assume they would be near, if not at, the top of the league. Instead, they've lost three straight games and have as good a chance of falling closer to last-place Peterborough as they do of creeping up the standings when they face the Timbermen Sunday in Oshawa. It's early not just in the season but in the existence of the ALL, but it already feels like Toronto is facing a crucial test this week.

6 (6) Peterborough Timbermen (0-5)
Last week: L11-8 v Six Nations
This week: @ Paris, v Toronto in Oshawa
The Timbermen were right with Six Nations for 47 minutes last Saturday. It wasn't until the Snipers ran off three goals in two and a half minutes early in the fourth quarter that Six Nations was really able to take control of the game. It's hard to see progress in three straight 3-goal losses, but Peterborough does seem to be getting closer to breaking into the win column. It will really help when Caleb Wiles shakes the rust off and starts dominating the way he can. His creativity should help get the whole offence rolling a bit, which would take some pressure off the defence and goalies.