Snipers solidify Top Ranking with win over the Timbermen

by Paul St. John

Power Rankings

1 (1) Six Nations Snipers (7-3)
Last week: W 13-7 v Peterborough
This week: v St. Catharines, @ Peterborough
The Snipers have lived up to there name all season and continue to lead the league in scoring. The reason they didn't separate themselves from the rest of the pack early on was the difficulty they had keeping the ball out of their own net. Well, in their last five games Six Nations has held their opponents to 8 goals or fewer four times. The only exception was a 12-10 loss to the Monarchs on February 25 that is looking like a potential championship game preview.

2 (3) Toronto Monarchs (5-5)
Last week: W17-15 v Oshawa
This week: v Peterborough in Oshawa, v Toronto in Peterborough
The Monarchs continue to be wildly unpredictable. Scoring 17 goals against Oshawa shows the upside of their offensive potential, drawing upon a diverse offence that features seven players with 10 goals or more. Giving up 15 to an Oshawa team that had trouble scoring even before its current three-game losing streak shows that Toronto is prone to bouts of leakiness in its own end. Still, led by the electric two-way game of Jordan Critch and Dustin Caravello, the Monarchs look like legitimate contenders to earn a championship crown to match the one on the front of their uniforms.

3 (6) St. Catharines ShockWave (5-6)
Last week: W18-12 v Paris
This week: @ Six Nations
It stills seems a bit surreal to see the 18 beside St. Catharines' name on the score from their weekend win over Paris. The ShockWave had scored more than 10 goals only three times in their first 10 games. On Saturday Bryan Neufeld alone had 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists). Have they found the key that unlocks their offensive potential? If so, they could be dark horse contenders for a title. If Saturday was just a lucky one-off and the ShockWave revert to their usual struggle to score, they stand a good chance of being one of the two teams to miss the playoffs. Stay tuned.

4 (5) Oshawa Outlaws (5-4)
Last week: L17-15 @ Toronto
This week: v Paris, v Toronto in Peterborough
Here is the list of the Outlaws goal totals for each game this season, from start to now: 13, 14, 8, 14, 17, 14, 7, 6, 15. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground: either Oshawa is lighting it up or they're well below average. Not a single time have they scored from 9 to 12 goals. That is really odd and makes it hard to figure the team out. One thing is clear. The Outlaws need their running game to be working to find success. When transition is taken away from them, they struggle. This week, they edge ahead of the Timbermen in the Power Rankings because their loss was a closer one than Peterborough's.

5 (4) Peterborough Timbermen (3-7)
Last week: L13-7 @ Six Nations
This week: v Toronto in Oshawa, v Six Nations
The Timbermen's three-game winning streak was stopped, but losing to the Snipers in Six Nations isn't a cause for huge concern. The problem for Peterborough is that they left themselves virtually no margin for error by losing their first six games. If they want to make the playoffs, they have to win at least once this weekend when they play the top two teams in the Power Rankings. The good news is that before Week 10 they had found a way to score, closing the gap on the rest of the league in total goals by averaging 13.8 per game in their previous four. If the 7-spot was a merely a blip, they still have a chance at the postseason. If it marks a reversion to early-season form, they'll find themselves on the outside looking in.

6 (2) Paris RiverWolves (5-5)
Last week: L18-12 v St. Catharines
This week: @ Oshawa
Sorry, RiverWolves, if the yo-yo treatment in the Power Rankings is giving you whiplash, but I just don't know what to make of this team. Giving up 15 goals to St. Catharines in Week 8 was understandable because so many key players were missing. This week, they were without some important defenders again, but they still had enough of their core that allowing 18 to the ShockWave is a stunner. I've dropped them back into the basement of the rankings based on their defensive meltdown, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them rebound in Week 11. Of course, as mentioned at the top of the column, twists and turns have become the norm for the ALL. There should be plenty more fun and games down the stretch.