MLL Second Half Preview: Rochester Rattlers

The Rochester Rattlers may be the hardest team to figure out in all of Major League Lacrosse.

The team sits in fifth place in the standings at 3-4, only a game and a half out behind the Boston Cannons for the final playoff position. Yet they are poor in some key categories.

The team is dead last in goals scored (72). They are 1-4 on the road. They are sixth in the league in face-off percentage, one of only three teams to have won fewer than 50-percent of its face-offs (.429, only three-thousandths ahead of the Denver Outlaws).

The Rattlers were blown out by the Boston Cannons in Week 1, 15-3, and are the only team to have lost to expansion-side Ohio Machine, 16-10.

Yet they also defeated the Cannons 17-16 and are the only team to beat the Bayhawks, 12-8 and on the road.

So what do we make out of the Rattlers in the second half of the season?

Ned Crotty is the unquestionable leader of this team. He’s first on the Rattlers in assists (six) and points (14). But he missed the last game because of injury.

The rest of the roster may not scare other teams on paper, but they’ve put together some solid pieces to surround Crotty with.

Matt Striebel is a strong veteran presence and is second on the team in points (13). Jordan MacIntosh leads the team in goals (nine) and was named Offensive Player of the Week  last week of games for his five goal, one assist performance in the win against Hamilton. Steve DiNapoli is an All-Star this season with seven goals.

The team also recently acquired Brad Ross from the Cannons, who has scored four goals in two games with the Rattlers, and rookie Rob Rotanz from Ohio. Rotanz scored 40 goals as a senior at Duke and was an All-American.

They’re nice pieces but is it enough? The bottom line is that, while the defense has surrendered only the fourth fewest goals in the league they do not score enough. In their four losses Rochester has lost by an average of over eight goals per game. It just isn’t good enough.

The schedule could help them though. Playing better at home, the Rattlers will have five home games the rest of the way out. They do have to play Chesapeake and Denver, but both games will be home. They get Ohio once and the Hounds twice, two teams that are at the bottom of the standings.

John Galloway is playing well as of late, including giving up only nine goals in his last game, but the offense needs to have more of a punch to it if the Rattlers are really going to squeak into the playoffs.