With only three games left until Championship Weekend, the Rochester Rattlers (tied with the Boston Cannons for the final playoff spot) need to finish strong. Last week the Rattlers eliminated the Hounds from playoff contention in a 14-5 win. This week they take on the Ohio Machine, who were eliminated from playoff contention last week with a loss to the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Â The first time these two teams played the Machine scored the win with a 16-10 win.
It will be interesting to see if the Machine come out to win or if they decide to â€œBomb for Baumâ€ as some have reporters have suggested. Peter Baum (Colgate) is considered the top pick in next yearâ€™s draft despite rumors that he might choose to play LXM Pro Tour over MLL.
Ohio has a very young team and in recent weeks have traded away some of their more veteran players in return for future draft picks. Rookie Steele Stanwick is a favorite to win the MLL Rookie of the Year away and very much deserves the award. Stanwick has played brilliantly since joining the Machine and will likely continue to impress.
Also really impressing for the Machine this year is Chazz Woodson. Throughout the year Woodson has been featured on Sports Centerâ€™s Top Plays multiple times and has brought lots of excitement to the league. Woodson is a special kind of athlete and is a threat from anywhere on the field.
Ohio needs to have a great game from their defense led by Kyle Hartzell and Greg Bice. Goalie Brian Phipps has been averaging 12.89 goals a game and if given the chance, the Rattlers will put up points in a hurry. If the Machine defense can step up and protect Phipps, it will definitely be an exciting game.
Being in a tie for the final playoff spot, Rochester really needs to win out to secure themselves a spot. The Cannons are one of the best teams when they play together and will definitely be a huge threat to the Rattlersâ€™ playoff hopes. Ned Crotty hopes to continue his great season and lead Rochester past the Machine.
Ned Crotty leads the Rattlers in points this season after suffering an injury in the middle of the season. Crotty is such a threat no matter who he is playing against and the Machine are going to need to put a body on him and keep him away from the crease as much as possible if they want to win.
Also big threats for the Rattlers are Matt Striebel and Kevin Leveille. Last week Striebel set the record for most MLL games played in a career and has had a stellar career so far. Leveille has been one of the highest scorers year after year since joining the league and both players are huge threats to score and get to the goal. With Ned Crottyâ€™s vision, both of these players are targets that he always looks for when trying to feed.
In goal for Rochester, John Galloway has been playing great as of late. Heâ€™s a contender to play goalie for Team USA in the 2014 World Games and is one of the better goalies in the league. When Galloway is on fire and seeing the ball, the Rattlers usually find a way to win.