It’s weird to say that we’re already in Week 6, but here we are, and what better way for the Rattlers to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend then taking down the 3 – 2 Chesapeake Bayhawks in a great matchup this past Saturday, in, even weirder, their home opener! While the College Lacrosse world prepared for a historic title game on Memorial Day, the Upstate New York pros took to the field in front of 1,000+ fans in their first home game of the 2016 MLL season.
Offense lead the way early for Rochester, but it was an engaging first quarter, as both the Rattlers and the Bayhawks found marks behind the net, trading the first four goals between the two teams for a 2 – 2 tie. Rochester would then go on a two goal streak, with tallies by new(old)comer Ned Crotty, who was traded back to the team he played for in 2011, with an assist to sophomore (really rookie) Jesse King, who was drafted by the Rattlers but missed all of last season. Rochester dominated the second quarter, doubling up the Bayhawks 6 – 3 in goals in order to take a 10 – 6 lead by the end of the first half. Five different goal scorers struck gold in the quarter, the usual suspects, 2015 Offensive MVP Jordan Wolf and midfielder Kyle Denhoff had multiple tallies, one of them an assisted power play goal from Jesse King.
Defensively, John Galloway was rock solid in cage, and set the tone for a defensive force for the second half. The Rochester standout net-minder, along with a reinvigorated defense led by returning Mike Manley, former Defensive Player of the Year, who missed the second half of the 2015 season, had 17 saves on 30 shots on goal, seven of them coming in the third quarter alone.. Shades of the stingy Rochester defense from the 2014 season showed itself throughout the game, as Chesapeake was limited to just three goals for the first three quarters of the game, before going on a strong 5 – 3 run in the final stanza. However, it wasn’t enough to defeat the Rattlers, as a final goal by Jesse King, who had a fantastic 5 goal, 2 assist afternoon, finished the match up.
This game was an early must win for a Rochester team that was on a defeated streak so far this season, but as proven time and time again and certainly in this game, a team’s record doesn’t always show its strength. Coach Soudan made some serious and to others, troubling moves in the off-season, and the pay-off is finally starting to show itself. Taking this momentum into Week 7, Rochester will face the league-standing 4 – 1 Ohio Machine in another home match up. Game time is set for 7:30 pm.