This past week Major League Lacrosse saw the Dallas Rattlers defeat the Boston Cannons and the Chesapeake Bayhawks as Dallas continued their win streak and now find themselves a game behind fourth place Atlanta at 6-7. Dallas usurped the title of hottest team in MLL from Boston which dropped the Cannons down to second place and moved the Bayhawks into first despite Chesapeake losing to the Rattlers. Dallas now finds itself two games behind the leader and one game away from a tie with fourth place Atlanta. The action played out this weekend and generated drama and new playoff scenarios.
The Rattlers jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the first quarter and kept up the pressure in the second as they held a 10-5 lead at halftime. Boston narrowed the Dallas lead in the third to 12-8. Both offences fizzled in the fourth as they only managed three goals between them. In the end, Dallas lead proved too much for Boston as the Cannons fell to third place. Jack Curran led the Rattlers with four points (4 goals and an assist) while Kyle Denhoff led the Cannons with four points (2 goals and 1 two-point goals). Dallas takes on last place New York while Boston takes on Denver in a key match with serious post season implications.
The next game saw Chesapeake come from behind to defeat the Atlanta Blaze 16-13. Atlanta torched Chesapeake in the first quarter as they took a 6-2 lead. The Bayhawks returned the favour as they scored nine goals in the second and took and 11-9 lead at halftime. Atlanta’s offense fizzled in the third quarter and went scoreless as Chesapeake increased their lead to 14-9. The Blaze rallied in the fourth quarter and outscored the Bayhawks 4-2, but failed to overcome Chesapeake’s lead. Steele Stanwick led the Bayhawks with five points (2 goals and 3 assists). Randy Staats led Atlanta with four points (4 assists). Chesapeake next takes on a Boston team stinging from a loss to fifth place Dallas and looking to secure their playoff spot. Atlanta takes on a very hot Dallas team on a seven-game wining streak that looks to leapfrog the Blaze into the playoffs.
The next game featured the slumping Denver Outlaws face the last place New York Lizards. Denver needed the win to right the ship and New York simply looked to get into the win column. The first quarter proved how much both teams wanted the win as they ended in a seven-all tie. Denver made their move in the second quarter as they outscored New York 4-1 and led 11-8 at halftime. Denver held onto their lead in the third quarter 14-12. The Outlaws held onto their lead in the fourth and won 16-13. John Grant Jr. led Denver with seven points (2 goals and 5 assists) while Dylan Molloy led New York with six points (4 goals and 2 assists). Denver takes on a Boston team stinging from a loss and looking to spoil Denver’s chances of making the playoffs. New York faces Dallas and looks to put a damper on Dallas resurgence.
Capping off the busy weekend was Dallas defeated the number one Bayhawks 14-13 in a tightly contested game that kept the Rattlers in playoff contention. The Rattlers took a 3-1 lead in the first quarter, but the Bayhawks responded with a 5-2 performance in the second half to wrest the lead from the visitors. The third quarter was hotly contested and Dallas managed to cut Chesapeake’s lead to 11-9. The Rattlers poured it on in the fourth quarter and secured the 14-13 win and keep their playoff hopes alive. Ryan McNamara led Dallas with seven points (1 goal 2 two-point goals and 2 assists) while Steele Stanwick led Chesapeake with five points (1 goal and five assists). Chesapeake takes on Boston next and looks to hold onto to number one. Dallas looks to close the gap on Atlanta as they take on a New York team that struggles to find wins.
Boston, Denver and Atlanta now must win every game as Denver now threatens to ride roughshod into the playoffs. Atlanta faces the biggest threat from Denver as the Outlaws are breathing down their necks and ready to take advantage if the Blaze falters. What appeared to be a set field for the playoffs fell apart this weekend into the traditional MLL tight race for end of the regular season. New York remains in last place with no chance of a winning season. The rest of the Lizards season probably involves evaluating the depth of the team while selecting their draft board for next season. The rest of the field remains up for grabs as the other five teams all possess good chances at playoff berths.