Despite all four playoff teams clinching their spots last week, the final week of Major League Lacrosse regular season featured some close and high scoring games. The underdogs ruled the weekend as both teams that missed the playoffs – New York and Dallas – won their games rather than tank and enter into rebuild mode early. Perhaps the playoff teams wanted to rest for a championship run, but then again with just six teams, there never really is an underdog in Major League Lacrosse.
Dallas finished the final week on a high note by defeating the Boston Cannons, though they missed the .500 mark by a single game after a dismal start. The Rattlers started off by holding a 5-4 lead over the Cannons at the end of the first, but the Cannons battled back and took an 11-10 lead at halftime. A low scoring and tightly contested third quarter ended in a 12 all tie that set up an exciting finish. The fourth quarter proved just as close as the Rattlers managed to secure a 16-15 win. Jack Curran led the Rattlers with four points (2G/2A) while Mark Cockerton led the Cannons with six points (4G/2A).
New York also finished their losing season on a high note as they defeated the playoff bound Atlanta Blaze 21-15. The Lizards finally showed the offense that many expected at the beginning of the season. Both teams proved evenly matched in the first quarter as it ended in a 6-6 tie after Lizards’ goalie Austin Kaut’s full field two-point goal. The Blaze looked ready to seal the win as they forged a 10-9 lead at half. New York rebounded in the third and took a 16-13 lead. The Lizards continued riding the momentum as they outscored the Blaze 5-2 in the final quarter for the win. Rob Pannell led the Lizards with nine points (5G/4A). Tommy Palasek led the Blaze with eight points (5G/3A). Atlanta finally makes it to the playoffs as they rewrite franchise history every step they take.
Chesapeake secured first place by defeating Denver 13-11 in yet another close game. The Bayhawks took a slim 4-3 lead at the end of the first quarter and clung to the slim margin as both teams scored two goals in the second. Chesapeake took a 10-6 lead and appeared ready to seal the game until Denver reeled off five points in the final quarter narrowing the lead, but the Bayhawks held on for the win. Colin Heacock led Chesapeake with five points (4G/1A) including an assist to Andrew Kew that sealed the game for the Bayhawks. Kyle Marr led Denver with five points (2G/1 two-point goal/1A).
Chesapeake rolls into the playoffs in the top spot to face 4th place Atlanta while defending champion Denver has a rematch with Boston.