Sadly, Major League Lacrosse’s regular season ended last weekend as Rochester claimed the last playoff spot. The Denver and Ohio games determined that Florida would travel to face the Machine and Rochester would face the Outlaws in Denver. Despite three of the four spots filled the previous week, the action in the games proved dramatic and there was even an emotional farewell as Greg Gurenlian played his last MLL game. The weekend was a microcosm of the season as even the teams that finished in the bottom half of the standings played some excellent lacrosse. It speaks to the depth of talent in the league that the final spots in the playoffs the past two seasons have come down the final week. Buckle up and get ready for an intense round of playoffs.
Denver 19 @ Chesapeake 23
Denver traveled to Chesapeake with the number one spot on the line and failed to capture it as they faced a very determined Bayhawks squad. Denver appeared on track to win a close game as they took a 5-4 lead at the end of the first quarter and held the lead at the end of the first half 10-8. Despite the close score, Denver led at the end of the third quarter17-16. The Bayhawks finished the fourth with a six-goal run including a hidden ball 2-point goal from Lyle Thompson that gave Chesapeake a victory to end their season.
Josh Byrne led the Bayhawks with seven goals as he set the rookie goal scoring record. Lyle Thompson followed close behind with six goals. Jake Froccaro also scored a 2-point goal as he scored four goals. Mike Bocklet and Drew Snider led Denver with four goals each. Denver won the face-off battle 26-44 even though they were without their main starter Tom Kelly. Jake Kelly and Mike Nugent combined for 12 saves, but Niko Amato got the save while making 11 saves.
Next: Denver hosts Rochester in the first round of the playoffs.
Atlanta 18 @ Boston 16
Boston came out firing in their last game of the season and took a 7-2 lead at the end of the first. The action proved very intense as both Luke Goldstock of Boston and Jeremy Noble earned five-minute misconduct penalties for unnecessary roughness. The Atlanta offense ignited in the second quarter and narrowed the lead to 8-7. The Blaze stayed hot in the third as they continued to lead 14-11. Boston roared back in the fourth quarter, but Atlanta held on for the win.
Kevin Rice led Atlanta with five goals while Davey Emala, Luke Goldstock, Kyle Jackson, Kylor Bellistri and Joe Nardella each scored two. As a team, Boston finished 20-35 on face-offs to take the advantage there. Tyler Fiorito made 17 saves while Adam Ghitelman made 15 and got the win. Graeme Hossack won defensive player of the week honours as he collected seven groundballs and scored a 2-point goal.
Next: Both Atlanta and Boston finished their season.
Charlotte 14 @ New York 17
In another emotional game with a possible playoff spot on the line, New York defeated Charlotte as legendary face-off specialist Greg Gurenlian played his last MLL game. Gurenlian finished like a beast going 20-33 for the night. First quarter action proved close as the Lizards held a 5-4 lead at the end of the period. New York’s offense ripped off five goals in the second quarter, including one 2-point goal, to take an 11-5 lead at halftime. Both offenses cooled in the third while the Lizards held the lead 14-7. Charlotte’s offense got on track in the fourth quarter with seven goals, but failed to overcome New York’s lead.
Rob Pannell, Joe LoCascio and Matt Gibson led New York with three goals each. LoCascio scored a 2-point goal for the Lizards. John Haus led Charlotte with four goals as Ryan Brown and John Crawley followed with three each. Drew Adams made nine saves while Charlie Cipriano made seven.
Next: Both New York and Charlotte ended their regular season as Rochester claimed the last playoff spot.
Ohio 13 @ Rochester 14
The Rochester and Ohio rivalry has taken on a very deep significance as both teams appear to revel in knocking the other out of the playoffs. The first quarter, like every other game this past weekend, was close with the Rattlers taking the early 6-5 lead. The Machine mounted a comeback in the second as they built a 10-8 lead. Rochester mounted their own comeback in the third as they retook the lead 12-11. Rochester hung on for the win through a low scoring and defensive fourth quarter.
Jordan MacIntosh, Jordan Wolf, John Ranagan and Ty Thompson all scored hat tricks for Rochester. Jordan Wolf won offensive player of the week honours as he scored the game-winning goal as the Rattlers find themselves returning to the playoffs. Drew Simoneau dominated face-offs for Rochester as he went 24-31. Scott Rodgers made 17 saves as he faced John Galloway who made 23.
Next: Ohio hosts Florida while Rochester travels to Denver.