MLL Week 2: Jr. scores as Cannons roar

6/8/2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Denver vs. Atlanta at Grady Stadium. Photography Credit: Brett Davis

Major League Lacrosse only played two games during the second week of the season, but they proved to be pivotal as John Grant Jr. became the new points leader moving past PLL founder and former MLL star Paul Rabil. Defending champion Denver quenched the hot starting Atlanta Blaze 18-16 in a barn burner. Denver’s victory moved the Outlaws into third place behind undefeated Chesapeake. Atlanta fell into the fourth spot as they dropped to 1-1 on the season. The Boston Cannons defeated the Dallas Rattlers to claim the top spot in the standings. Two of last season’s hot teams, the Dallas Rattlers and the New York Lizards, find themselves struggling to find their new identities and occupy the fifth and sixth places respectively.

Denver traveled south to take on an Atlanta team that won their home opener and was looking to make a playoff push this season. Both teams ended the first quarter tied at five apiece but Atlanta broke the stalemate as they forged a 10-8 lead at halftime. The Outlaws’ offense ran roughshod over Atlanta’s defense in the third quarter as they scored seven goals and took the lead 15-14. The third quarter proved too much for Atlanta as the fourth quarter generated only five goals generated between both teams. The story of the game proved to be John Grant Jr. cementing his legacy as one of the greatest of all time as the 44-year-old lefty took over as MLL points leader.

The next game featured the Boston Cannons traveling to the Dallas Rattlers, two teams that finished on opposite ends of the standings last season. Dallas played in the finals last season and proved a contender. Boston finished at the bottom and entered rebuilding mode. What a difference a year makes. The Cannons roared into The Star and fired off seven goals in the first quarter and built a 9-3 lead at halftime that defanged the Rattlers. The third quarter proved just as lethal for the Rattlers as Boston put up another seven goals and built a 15-7 lead while Dallas only managed four scores. Dallas outscored Boston 3-1 in the fourth quarter but failed to cut into the Boston lead. Restructuring and formation of the PLL definitely hurt the Rattlers as most of their core players opted to sign with the new league. Boston, who was already in rebuilding mode, shows signs of being the most improved team from last season.

Dallas and New York need to find their team identities and avoid the dreaded 0-4 start in the first quarter of the season. Boston and Atlanta must continue building on their momentum and prove they belong with Chesapeake and Denver as the elite of the league. With 14 games left for the Cannons and Blaze, the season remains a marathon and not a sprint. The Rattlers and Lizards definitely feel the pressure and may make changes to their lineups to generate a spark and see if that gets them on the right track.