The MLL season is still in its early stages but already we are starting to see teams separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Only two games occurred this week as the Machine got revenge over the Outlaws with an overtime win and the Lizards handled the lowly Launch. With that in mind, not much has changed in the power rankings as the league gets ready for Week 4.
Week 2 MLL Top 9
1- Charlotte (2-0) The Hounds remain in the top spot after beating two of the top five teams from last season by three goals apiece. They are one win away from their win total from last season already! The offense may take a step back with the sudden retirement of Mike Sawyer as he was tied for third on the team in points. They will get reinforcements on attack once Syracuse’s Dylan Donahue and Johns Hopkins’ Ryan Brown exit the NCAA tournament but until then, their defense will have to carry them as they have allowed 22 goals so far, which ranks second in the league behind Chesapeake.
2- Chesapeake (2-0) The Bayhawks remain at number two this week as their defense continues to be the top ranked unit in the league. Goalie Charlie Cipriano anchors a defensive unit that has allowed 21 goals so far this season and the Bayhawks have been man down a five times, which leads the league.
Their offense remains a work in progress as they continue to blend youth (Nick Ossello, Tyler German and Alex Love) with experience (Matt Danowski, Drew Westervelt, Matt Mackrides and Brendan Mundorf). The defense will keep them in it as they work out the kinks in 6v6 play. Their man up unit needs improvements as well, as they rank second to last in the category. Of the 14 man up chances, they have converted two for goals.
3- New York (2-0) After squeaking by the Rattlers to start their title defense, a rested Lizards squad handled the lowly Florida Launch who, right now, are the worst team in the league. The offense is clicking right now as they are second to only the Ohio Machine in terms of goals scored (38 to the Machine’s 44) while playing one less game. Meanwhile, the defense has been average in the first two games. Currently, the Lizards defense is tied for fifth in the MLL in goals allowed after being the league leaders last season.
4- Ohio (2-1) The Machine move up to the four spot after getting revenge on the Outlaws in Week 3. They have the best offense in the game as they have scored 44 goals. However, the defense is ranked second to last in goals allowed. Despite not fairing well in 6v6 well, the Machine own the league’s best man down unit as they are killing 80 percent of the opportunities they see (3-of-15). The defense will be even better with the return of Scott Rodgers in goal.
5- Denver (1-1) The Outlaws drop to number five as they found themselves on the opposite side of the record column in an overtime loss to the Ohio Machine. Despite featuring a plethora of weapons on offense, the Outlaws have struggled on man up opportunities as they are last in the MLL converting on 11 percent of their opportunities. They are without John Grant Jr. and David Dickson but they have enough weapons in place to be better than that.
Defensively, the Outlaws are tied for fifth in terms of goals allowed despite Ryan LaPlante holding his own in net during Jesse Schwartzman’s absence. Week 4 sees them play the Atlanta Blaze which should be a harder than expected victory.
6- Boston (1-1) Boston remains towards the bottom half of the power rankings. Their defense is fine but the offense is still missing another threat, especially in the midfield. Will Manny, Wells Stanwick and David Emala make for a formidable attack unit but Max Seibald and John Glesener need a running mate. Help could be on the way once Stony Brook midfielder Challen Rodgers and Virginia attackman/midfielder Greg Coholan join the team after graduation. Boston does get a stiff test against undefeated Chesapeake on the road though in Week 4.
7- Rochester (0-2) The Rattlers are talented on both sides of the field but have limped out to a very slow start after losing in the MLL Championship game. Losing to the defending champion Lizards is acceptable but not the Hounds who were the worst team in the league in 2015. Clearly they are missing LSM Mike Manley who was a key player in between the lines for the Rattlers. Also hurting the Rattlers is Mike Poppleton. Poppleton, and the Rattlers as a team have struggled at the faceoff ‘X’ this season. The Rattlers have won a league worst 38.5 percent of their faceoffs.
8- Atlanta (0-2) Kevin Rice has been a stud on offense for the Blaze. Unfortunately, he needs some help and it may not be coming for a couple more games depending on how Duke does in the NCAA Tournament. Once Duke gets bounced, Myles Jones and Deemer Class will combine with Ryan Tucker to make an interesting first midfield unit and allow Jay Carlson and Conrad Oberbeck more room to operate below the cage. Defensively, this team is pretty god with Joe Cinosky, Casey Ikeda, Chris Hipps and Scott Ratliff forming a formidable pole group that has helped the Blaze to a top four ranking in total goals allowed and the second best man down unit in the league.
9- Florida (0-3) Honestly, the Launch are better than their record indicates. Obviously, they are awaiting for the return of both Lyle and Miles Thompson to team with Casey Powell and Kieran McArdle. However, they do have Connor Buczek, Owen Blye and Nikko Pontrello at the midfield so it isn’t like they are bringing knives to a gunfight. The story with the Launch is their defense which features Pat Frazier, Tucker Durkin and Pat Farrell. They should be much better than what they have shown. They have allowed a league worst 47 goals this season, including 20 in the loss this past weekend to the Lizards. They also need to settle on who they want in goal as Brett Queener, Austin Kaut and Matt Poillon are all viable options and all have seen time. It doesn’t appear to get easier as they face an undefeated Hounds team this weekend.