I went into the third week of Major League Lacrosse with some serious doubts. There was no way that the league could keep up the level of play and close games from their first two weeks, right? Wrong! Overtime and comebacks again dominated the weekend as well as superstar performances. Rochester took Ohio to the wire and won in overtime to hand the Machine their first defeat of the season. Chesapeake brought themselves to 1-1 behind superhuman performances from Garrett Thul and Myles Jones. John Galloway returned between the pipes for Rochester this past week and helped the Rattlers to their first win. Even winless Charlotte played a tight game with the defending champion Denver Outlaws for a quarter. This season is proving to be entertaining on many levels from quality of play to parity.
Chesapeake 19 @ Boston 18
The weekend kicked off with the Chesapeake Bayhawks traveling to Boston in search of their first win of the season after an overtime loss to New York. Superhuman performances were the theme of this game. Garrett Thul tuned green and went off for six goals against the Cannons, while Myles Jones not only stepped on Superman’s cape, but took it for himself as he scored five goals (including a two-pointer) and dished five assists. Jones received offensive player of the week for his ten-point performance. Kylor Bellistri, Davey Emala and Will Manny paced the Cannons with five, four and three goals respectively. Tyler Fiorito had 12 saves for Boston in goal while Niko Amato and Brian Phipps combined for 10. Joe Nardella’s return allowed the Cannons to control face-offs 25-41 as the Bayhawks again struggled to get over 50 per cent (16-41). Boston led at halftime 14-9, but a one-goal output in the third quarter combined with a Chesapeake five-goal explosion allowed the Bayhawks back into the game. Boston scored back-to-back goals at the start of the fourth quarter, but Chesapeake’s offense went on another run despite the Cannons LSM James Fahey tying the game later in the period. Ryan Tucker scored the winning goal at 12:57 to bring the Bayhawks to 1-1 on the season as they travel to face a winless Charlotte team. Boston falls to 1-2 and faces a 1-1 Rochester team that defeated league-leading Ohio in overtime.
Rochester 12 @ Ohio 11 – OT
In an incredible rematch of two teams that take pleasure in knocking the other one out of the championship game, Rochester defeated Ohio 12-11 in overtime. The Rattlers and Machine have maintained a rivalry over the past two seasons, as both are hungry to win a championship. When at full strength, both are two of the most balanced teams in the league with potent offenses and efficient defenses. This game remained a low scoring and tightly contested affair throughout and the Rattlers welcomed the return of John Galloway between the pipes as he made 16 saves and earned defensive player of the week honors. Ohio and Rochester exchanged the lead at the end of the first and second quarters. Rochester tied the score in the third quarter and both teams scored two goals in the fourth to take the game to overtime. Even the face-offs were close as Drew Simoneau (13-27) and Greg Puskuldjian (14-27) almost tied for wins at the X. Ohio found scoring from Patrick Kelly and Mark Cockerton with three goals each and Peter Baum with two. Jordan Wolf led the Rattlers with five goals followed by Jeremy Boltus and Ty Thompson with two apiece. Thompson scored the game winning goal on an assist from Ned Crotty. Rochester is now at 1-1 and faces 0-3 Charlotte in a Thursday matchup*. Ohio is off until May 20 and faces Charlotte as well.
Charlotte 7 @ Denver 11
Charlotte finds themselves in a difficult position after an 0-3 start to the season as they faced Denver for the second time in the season. The Outlaws won 11-7 and remain undefeated and atop the league standings. At the end of the first quarter, it appeared that fans were in for another one-goal game as the Outlaws held a 5-4 lead over the Hounds. The reality of the other three quarters proved very different as Charlotte’s offense only mustered one goal per quarter. For another game, Charlotte had an uncharacteristic 6-21 at the X. Thomas Kelly proved dominant for Denver as he went 15-21 on face-offs. Denver and their self-titled “no-name” defense lived up to the early season billing as they were part of the reason Charlotte found itself unable to close the gap. Charlotte travels to Rochester to face the Rattlers and welcome back Kevin Crowley to the lineup while the Outlaws take on a much-improved Florida Launch team. Even with established stars like John Galloway and Garrett Thul returning to MLL, new stars like Myles Jones and B.J. Grill are making their mark. Look for Charlotte to get back on track this week. As usual, the league is anything but boring!
*Charlotte defeated Rochester 14-10 on Thursday evening.