This Major League Lacrosse season continues to raise the bar every week with incredible individual and team performances, and what makes this season incredible is that only three games separate first from last place in the standings. Denver finally has to share the number one spot after losing to a Boston team they beat the previous week. The Outlaws share the spot with Ohio, a team that enjoyed a bye week. Boston and New York kept their playoff hopes alive. Florida’s comeback win landed them a half game behind the top two so they can now put last season far behind them as they focus on one game at a time. Rochester remains a game and a half out of first as Charlotte, New York and Chesapeake find themselves two games back. Boston, despite their win, and Atlanta, both teeter on the verge of a dreaded sixth loss that makes playoff hopes difficult. The Cannons are two and a half games back and Atlanta is three. While there were two one-point games and a come-from-behind victory at the league level, two very popular players also achieved career milestones. Read on for more!
Charlotte 15 @ Chesapeake 14
The Charlotte Hounds jumped out to an early lead against the Chesapeake Bayhawks as they built a 6-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Bayhawks responded in a back and forth second quarter and narrowed the Hounds lead to 11-8 at the half. Both teams continued the back and forth scoring in the third, but Charlotte held onto the lead 14-11 at the end of the period. Despite outscoring Charlotte 3-1 in the fourth quarter, Chesapeake could not overcome the early lead built by the Hounds. Time ran out on Chesapeake as Charlotte moved to 4-5 on the season and two games out of first place. Ryan Brown, Kevin Crowley and John Haus each scored a hat trick while Joey Sankey scored twice and Brendan Fowler continued his five-game point streak with a goal. Chesapeake’s scoring leaders were Matt Danowski with four goals, Myles Jones and Jake Froccaro with three each and rookie Colin Heacock with two. Both Charlie Cipriano and Brian Phipps made 13 saves in this tightly contested battle. Face-offs went the way of Charlotte by one win as Brendan Fowler battled Ben Williams most of the night.
Next: The Hounds face the Launch in a crucial matchup while the Bayhawks travel to Ohio and face the Machine.
Atlanta 16 @ Florida 19
The Florida Launch found themselves facing a very determined Atlanta Blaze team that refused to back down as the Blaze came out on fire and took a 7-6 lead. Florida weathered Atlanta’s initial onslaught and the half ended with the Atlanta leading 14-12. The Blaze’s offense fizzled out in the second half at as they could only muster one goal in the third and another in the fourth. The Launch scored two goals in the third and five in the fourth quarter as they pulled away from the Blaze. Kieran McArdle scored seven goals and looked worthy of his “Terminator” nickname, although his NLL moniker, “the Enforcer,” has yet to be relevant in the field game. Conner Buczek followed McArdle with three goals, including a 2-point score and rookie Dylan Molloy contributed two goals. The Blaze finally got back their NLL stars and they contributed right away. Randy Staats dropped four goals and Mark Matthews followed closely behind with a hat-trick. Kevin Rice added two goals while rookie FOGO phenom Jake Withers scored two after winning draws to himself. Overall he went 27-37 at the X, but Florida’s Austin Kaut made 18 saves for the win. Dillon Ward made only seven saves in the Blaze’s net.
Next: Florida faces a Charlotte team two games out of first in a battle of momentum while Atlanta travels to Rochester as both squads look to get back on the winning track.
Rochester 12 @ New York 13
The New York Lizards got back on the winning track as they defeated the Rochester Rattlers in a closely contested battle for Empire State domination. In addition to the excitement of the game, home team stars Paul Rabil and Greg Gurenlian achieved a couple of career milestones that put them among the game’s elite. Rabil scored a goal that elevated him to the very select 500-point club. Gurenlian won his 2000th face-off, although he was bested 17-29 by the Rattlers’ Drew Simoneau.
As Upstate met Long Island, the game was so close that Rochester only led by one after three quarters. The teams tied at 10, then 11, and then 12 in the fourth quarter, with the Lizards tying the game at 12 at 7:13. Dave Lawson scored the winning goal at 14:09 on the power play.
Joe Walters led New York with four goals en route to offensive player of the week honours. Curtis Dickson added a hat-trick. Jordan Wolf and John Ranagan scored hat-tricks as they led the Rattlers offense. Zed Williams and Jeremy Boltus added two goals apiece. John Galloway made eight saves for Rochester as his New York counterpart Drew Adams made 12 saves on the way to securing the win.
Next: The Lizards face the Outlaws in Denver while the Rattlers host the last place Blaze.
Boston 16 @ Denver 9
The Boston Cannons faced the Denver Outlaws for the second time this season and handed the Outlaws just their second loss, creating a tie for first place with the Ohio Machine. Rookie midfielders Zach Currier (DEN) and Sergio Perkovic (BOS) traded the game’s opening goals before Boston took a slight advantage 4-3 after the first and 9-7 at half.
Denver’s offense scored two goals in the third and went silent in the fourth, not scoring any points, which allowed the Cannons to cruise to a victory and keep their playoff hopes alive. Davey Emala (5G) and Kylor Bellistri (4G/4A) led Boston’s attack. Will Manny added three goals for the Cannons. Eric Law led Denver with a hat-trick. Currier and Drew Snider added two goals each. Joe Nardella got the best of Thomas Kelly 17-29 on face-offs. Tylor Fiorito made 18 saves in the Cannon’s net on the way to defensive player of the week honours while Jack Kelly made 14 for Denver.
Next: Boston takes on a rested Ohio team tied for first place with Denver while the Outlaws face a Lizards squad looking to extend their winning streak.