Coming off the All-Star break there are five teams that are battling for their playoff lives. University of Denver head coach Bill Tierney talks about there being multiple seasons within the season, and in MLL right now most of the teams are in a pre-playoff playoff. If the race to the end of the line is as consistently good as this past weekend’s games then we’re all in for a treat over the next four weeks.
For the record, teams two through six are almost a toss-up and could be reconfigured a myriad of ways depending on one’s mood. With that caveat out of the way here are how things shake out for now.
- New York Lizards – Finally the undefeated talk can talk. An interesting storyline, but one that gets a bit old after a while. The Charlotte loss was quite the upset, and nitpickers will play the Rabil card, since the Golden Boy was out of the lineup. But you need to win with the players you do have. No one in the NY locker room will make this excuse, perhaps we should all take a cue from the team.
- Ohio Machine – One of the top defenses in the league only allowed 12 goals but came up one short to a revitalized Bayhawks squad. Scott Rodgers stood in for the hot Brian Phipps and held his own in relief, despite the loss. An overtime game can go either way, so penalizing Ohio with a big drop does not seem fitting considering the circumstances. Ohio remains a front-runner to make the playoffs.
- Chesapeake Bayhawks – What a difference Joe Walters and Drew Westervelt make, eh? Combine that with another stellar outing from Tyler Fiorito with 23 saves and the Bayhawks look to be the team Chesapeake needs right now, and the one they deserve.
- Boston Cannons – The boys from Beantown got themselves involved in a shootout with the Florida Launch. No shots heard ‘round the world here, but there were plenty of them to be sure. Florida had Boston on the ropes late, but last second heroics from Max Seibald proved the difference.
- Denver Outlaws – The evening’s other shootout occurred in the former Wild West. John Grant (let’s call him Uncle John, given it was Grateful Dead night) and his Band of outlaws kept Truckin’ despite a Rochester salvo in the fourth quarter. Defense has been a trouble spot for Denver all year, but holding the Rattlers’ attack to 4 total points was impressive.
- Rochester Rattlers – The biggest fall this week was Rochester. The Ratz could certainly be higher, but given the log jam in the standings, Rochester didn’t deliver a knockout blow when they needed to. They better hope that Denver didn’t draw up a blueprint for stopping the unstoppable Jordan Wolf. On the plus side Randy Staats looked like a MLL natural running out of the box in his first game in the show.
- Charlotte Hounds – Picking up a win is big for a Hounds team that is starting to find its stride. It’s a shame it took so long for Charlotte to start to put it together, but better late than never. Joey Sankey continues to be a force, showing that speed can kill in MLL.
- Florida Launch – The boys of Boca had Boston on the ropes. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Casey Powell, Kieran McArdle, and Lyle Thompson put on a good show. Things are rough in Florida now, but the future looks promising. It’s getting to be a bit of an old refrain, but that doesn’t make it any less true.