“Hold my beer,” is now an expression in common use on social media referring to a group of friends gathered together having drinks and admiring an incredible feat. One of the group hands his beer to a friend and proceeds to top the feat. MLL opening weekend proved an incredible and close fought opening to the season that there was no way to top. Right? Then MLL said, “Hold my beer.” Three of the four games went to overtime and Florida stands sharing a record of 4-3 with Rochester, a team the Launch already swept. Chesapeake lost to Ohio and the Launch came back against the Lizards to win in overtime on a controversial non-crease call. Chesapeake and Charlotte are very much in the mix and within striking distance of Florida and Rochester. New York, Boston and Atlanta all find themselves behind the eight ball with little margin for error to extricate themselves as the midpoint of the season and all-star break are around the corner. Bear in mind – Denver started 2-6 before going on a winning streak and winning the championship last season.
Boston 12 @ Ohio 13
Boston jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in the first quarter, but Ohio responded with their high-powered offense and took a 5-4 lead at halftime. Early in the season, Ohio relied heavily on their defense as several players found themselves recovering from injury or fulfilling indoor commitments. The Machine appeared poised to cruise to victory as they went into the fourth quarter leading 8-5, but the Cannons offense began hitting on all cylinders and roared back, scoring six goals including a 2-point goal by Kevin Buchanan. This incredible effort by Boston forced overtime. Unfortunately for the Cannons, Tom Schreiber scored the game winner to secure an Ohio win. The Ohio offense spread the ball as they had six players score two goals, among them Marcus Holman, Jake Bernhardt, Kyle Harrison, Tom Schreiber, Kevin Cunningham and Mark Cockerton. Max Seibald led Boston with a hat trick and Will Manny followed him with two goals. Boston got the better of the face-off battle (15-28) and the ground ball battle (44-40). Tyler Fiorito kept the edge in Boston’s favour with 13 saves while Kyle Bernlohr made 10.
NEXT: Ohio gets a bye week to get healthy while Boston travels to first place Denver in an effort to fight out of last place.
New York 14 @ Florida 15
New York, much like Boston, jumped out to an early 4-1 lead at the end of the first quarter and increased that to 7-3 at halftime. Florida fought back in the third quarter and cut New York’s lead to 9-7. Both hummed in the fourth as the Lizards scored five goals to the Launchs’ seven. Rookie Ryan Drenner scored to send the game to overtime. Rookie defenseman Alec Tulett scored on an assist from fellow Brown alum Dylan Molloy. The play proved a controversial ending to the game as video and photos later showed Tulett in the crease. The referees stood by the call of a goal despite New York demanding a review. Dylan Molloy and Ryan Drenner led the Launch with three goals apiece while Kieran McArdle and Chazz Woodson scored two each. Molloy won offensive player of the week for his performance. Both Joe Walters and Paul Rabil scored hat tricks for New York and Matt Gibson and Curtis Dickson scored twice each. The Lizards dominated Florida on face-offs as Greg Gurenlian went 25-33. This performance contributed to the Lizards winning the ground ball battle 22-16. Drew Adams took the loss despite making 19 saves including six in the fourth quarter. Florida’s Austin Kaut got the win by 22 saves, including seven in the fourth.
NEXT: Florida takes on a 2-4 Atlanta team while New York takes on Rochester.
Chesapeake 16 @ Rochester 17
Rochester started quickly, building on their 5-1 lead in the second to go up 7-3 at halftime. Chesapeake responded in the third, showing why they have one of the best offenses in the league by scoring eight goals, and tied the game at 11 at the end of the period. The fourth quarter saw both teams score five goals, maintaining the tie and sending the game to overtime. Keeping with the rookie theme, Zed Williams scored the game winner on an assist from veteran Ned Crotty. Jeremy Boltus led the Rattlers in scoring with five goals, followed by Eric Fannell with a hat trick, and by Jordan Wolf, Zed Williams, and Ty Thompson with two goals each. Rookie Josh Byrne led the Bayhawks with seven goals – yes, seven goals for the rookie! – and Shawn Evans had a hat trick. Matt Danowski and Myles Jones both scored two to round out Chesapeakes’ scoring. Drew Simoneau got the best of the face-off battle going 20-37 against Ben Williams who was 17-35. John Galloway got the win as he bested Brian Phipps, making 17 saves to Phipps 12.
NEXT: The Rattlers next face the Lizards in the battle for New York while Chesapeake faces Charlotte.
Atlanta 12 @ Charlotte 18
Charlotte got revenge on Atlanta by defeating the Blaze and making the rest of Atlantas’ season a difficult one. The Blaze struggled early offensively as the Hounds jumped out to an early 5-1 first quarter lead and extended the advantage to 8-2 at halftime. Atlantas’ offense finally got on track in the third and scored six goals, but, so did Charlotte. Even though the Blaze matched the Hounds’ four goals in the fourth, the first-half deficit proved too great to overcome. Ryan Brown led the Hounds with five goals, followed by John Haus with three and Mike Chanenchuk, Joey Sankey, and John Crawley with two each. Kevin Rice led the Blaze with four goals and Chris Bocklet with a hat trick. Tom Moore and Callum Crawford both added two goals apiece for Atlanta. Despite rookie Jake Withers going 24-32 on face offs (75% in his first game!), Atlanta only had five more ground balls than Charlotte (35-30). Once Withers gets more comfortable in the pros, he’ll be going after some of those ground balls himself. Dillon Ward started for Atlanta and made 11 saves, but Pierce Bassett made 19 and got the win. Charlotte defenseman Michael Ehrhardt earned defensive player of the week honours as he finished with two caused turnovers, three ground balls and a 2-point goal.
NEXT: Charlotte faces Chesapeake in a game they need to win to gain ground on the Bayhawks. Atlanta takes on a very hot Florida team riding a wave of momentum after sweeping both Rochester and New York.