Thursday, July 20 saw three games played in Major League Lacrosse as the season creeps closer to the playoffs. The top two teams remain Denver and Ohio with a persistent Florida squad quietly trailing the top two. Even with their league best records to date, neither Denver nor Ohio locked down playoff berths. The rest of the league sits at a massive tie the middle with Boston in last place. At this point, everyone still has a chance at making the playoffs and much like last season a late run and some good fortune may see another magical run much like defending champion Denver. Any hope for some clarity after Thursday disappeared as the picture remains cloudy.
New York 16 – Boston 14
New York and Boston are famous for the rivalries their sports franchises developed over the years and MLL is no different. Both teams are founding members of the league and when New York signed Paul Rabil from Boston, many saw that as the ultimate slap in the face that added another layer to the rivalry. This season, Boston looked to shake up their lineup and again traded the face of the franchise, Will Manny and promising Joe LoCascio to New York for the veteran Dave Lawson and Chris LaPierre. While Manny and LoCascio paid dividends for New York immediately, Boston received a shock when Lawson and LaPierre announced they would not play for the Cannons.
New York looked to get its season back on track and jumped out to a 7-4 first quarter lead. Boston hung in with New York and kept the score close, but the Lizards led 10-6 at halftime. The Cannons cut the Lizards lead in the third quarter 14-11 and appeared poised for an upset against their rival, but New York held on for the win. Will Manny led New York in scoring with four goals and won player of the game honours while Joe Walters and Matt Gibson followed behind with three goals. Kylor Bellistri led Boston with three goals as Max Seibald, Kyle Jackson and Joe Nardella each scored twice. Greg Gurenlian helped the Lizards win the face-off battle 22-34. Despite making 20 saves, Tyler Fiorito took the loss as Drew Adams made 19 saves.
Next: New York faces a hot Ohio squad while Boston faces Charlotte.
Chesapeake 18 – Florida 10
Florida transformed themselves from a talented team that had trouble winning games to quietly being in the top half of the standings over the season. The Launch looked to secure a playoff spot and put last season behind them as they faced the Bayhawks, but came up short as the Chesapeake offense started clicking. The game started out closely as the Bayhawks took a 5-4 first quarter lead. The second quarter saw Chesapeake go on a run and open up a 12-6 lead at halftime in part to a two-point goal by Brian Farrell. Offense took a break in the third quarter as both teams only scored two goals apiece. Nick Mariano scored Florida’s only points of the fourth quarter as Chesapeake cruised to the win. Josh Byrne led Chesapeake with five goals and Lyle Thompson followed him with three goals. Nick Mariano led Florida with four goals. Despite the score, the face-off battle ended in a 15-15 tie. Austin Kaut continued his goalie of the year performance as he made 16 saves for the Launch, but Niko Amato got the win as he made nine saves during Florida’s low offensive performance. Amato went on to earn defensive player of the week honours. Chesapeake kept their playoff hopes alive with the win, as did Florida who despite the loss remains just behind Denver and Ohio. Chesapeake finishes the season with a home-and-home series against Denver that they need to win both and get some help to make the playoffs.
Next: Chesapeake takes on Denver and Florida faces Charlotte.
Rochester 18 – Denver 12
Rochester proves every season that they are one of the elite teams in the league, but this season their record and the ever-changing MLL lineup left them in the middle of the standings. This recent win over Denver shows the Rattlers are one of the elite teams in the league. The first quarter ended in a very close 3-2 Denver lead, but the Rochester exploded for eight goals and led 10-7 at halftime. The Outlaws recovered and narrowed the Rattlers lead to 12-11 at the end of the third quarter. Rochester went on a five-goal run in the fourth quarter that ensured the win. Jordan MacIntosh and John Ranagan led the Rattlers in scoring with four goals each. MacIntosh earned offensive player of the week honours. Drew Snider led Denver with four goals. Rochester edged out Denver in the face-off battle, winning 18 of 34. Both goalies played solid games with Galloway making 16 saves for the Rattlers and Jack Kelly making 14 for Denver. Denver remained in the number one spot despite the loss and Rochester moved into the tie of teams looking for the fourth playoff spot. Denver finishes with a series against Chesapeake with home field advantage on the line. Rochester needs to sweep the remaining games and get some help to make it into the playoffs as Florida swept them earlier this season.
Next: Rochester faces Atlanta and Denver takes on Chesapeake.