Today the Kentucky Stickhorses will host the Boston Rockhoppers as they battle for the first ever North American Lacrosse League championship. Kentucky (2-5) is 0-3 this season against Boston (6-1).
Boston will be without two of their best players in Ryan Hotaling and Tommy Palasek. Hotaling signed with the NLL’s Colorado Mammoth yesterday before the NLL’s roster freeze after the trade deadline.
Meanwhile, their goaltender Vince Talbot is coming off of a groin pull that prevented him from playing against Rhode Island last week. He should be active for tonight’s game. In Kentucky, he faces goaltender Spencer Lyons who has never beaten Boston in his career.
Kentucky needs to play smart and take smart shots. Boston doesn’t allow many shooting lanes and to beat Talbot they need to shoot a lot but make sure those shots reach the net. Their shots have to be up in the zone. Players like Jesse Guerin and Travis Bland need to have big days.
For Boston, if they can take advantage of Kentucky’s perimeter defense and attack the crease, they should be able to score. The Stickhorses do not guard the crease very well so if they can get big bodies like Andrew Kirkaldy to attack they can win this game.
If the Stickhorses can stick with their zone defense they can stop Boston, who prefers to shoot from the perimeter with Mike Stone. Palasek is one of their best players at attacking the crease so him being out means they might be able to stop them. However, if Kentucky starts to play of their guy, the Boston offense will light them up.
Gametime is tonight at 7pm and can be seen on a Pay per View basis at the NALL website, northamericanlacrosseleague.com. This is the first championship in the league’s history as the league’s two oldest teams and rivals face off with each other.