When: Saturday, May 3 – 7:00 pm (ET)
Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Everyone circled this matchup on their calendars when the schedules were released earlier this winter. Both teams added big names this offseason. The Bayhawks added Joe Walters, Brendan Mundorf, Pete Poillon and Brian Megill in the offseason. Meanwhile, the Lizards added Kyle Hartzell, Matt Striebel and Ned Crotty.
As the two face off later tonight, what can we expect after the Lizards toppled the Rattlers and the Bayhawks suffered a shocking loss to the Cannons?
Both teams are very talented offensively and both are led by two of the best attackmen in the game. Chespeake’s acquisition of Brendan Mundorf paid immediate dividends as he had three goals and three assists in last week’s loss to the Cannons. Meanwhile, Rob Pannell scored six goals in the Lizards track-meet win over Rochester. Both players are equally adept at scoring and passing the rock and it will be a treat to watch them play on both sides of the field.
While Mundorf and Pannell, are the stars, the rest of the offense is pretty stacked on both sides as well. For the Bayhawks, they didn’t have Joe Walters or Drew Westervelt and it may appear that that will happen again as they both finish their NLL seasons. Regardless, the Bayhawks still boast Ben Hunt, Matt Mackrides and Steven Brooks.
On the flip side, Max Seibald looks to be back and healthy as he had four points last weekend and he is joined by Striebel who added three points. They did not have Crotty last weekend as he finishes his NLL season up as well. However, Marasco started off the season with two goals after finishing 2013 strong.
Defensively, these teams couldn’t be more different. Both teams gave up 15 goals last week. The key thing to watch in this game is who plays in goal for the Bayhawks. Kip Turner left last week’s season opener after playing only 16 minutes in cage. Predictably, the defense struggled behind Tyler Fiorito and the Cannons took advantage. If Turner can’t go this week, expect the Lizards to have a field day.
Meanwhile, the Lizards gave up 15 goals to a Rattlers roster that isn’t too strong. Drew Adams is a stud in net but their defense gave up big days to Justin Turri, Kevin Hardy and a defenseman in Mike Manley. With a much deeper roster on offense in Chesapeake, New York’s defense will really have to buckle down and give Drew Adams a shot in net. If not, this could get ugly for the Lizards.
As mentioned earlier, the biggest thing to watch for is if Kip Turner plays. If Turner does, this will be a close game that could tilt Chespeake’s way. If not, New York’s offense will be too much for the Bayhawks to handle, despite the defensive struggles the Lizards may have. Finally, the lack of Joe Walters and Drew Westervelt will also hurt this team as evidenced in the first game of the season. Regardless, it should be a fun matchup and a potential MLL Championship Weekend preview.