The Hunt For a Top Seed : Lizards vs. Hounds

The New York Lizards will be taking on the Charlotte Hounds tonight in a tilt that the Lizards hope will help propel them into a top seed for the fast approaching playoffs. The Lizards sit in third place in the MLL Standings with a record of 7-5. While their opponents, the Hounds, sit in seventh place with a record of 4-8.

The Lizards have had an impressive season so far this year going from one of the worst teams in the MLL to one of the better teams. The Lizards are also the top team in both faceoff win percentage and in penalty kill percentage—both are by a good margin. Penalty kill percentage is hovering around the 84 percent mark; that sounds more like an NHL penalty kill percentage rather than an MLL.

The Lizards are looking stellar at the faceoff x as well. This is bolstered by an almost one-man show coming from Greg “the Beast” Gurenlian who has gone 168-279 for a 60.2 percent success rate, which happens to only be .02 percent away from his single season record of 64.1 percent set last season. As it stands right now this season’s percentage would put him at the fourth place spot and give him three years straight of top five single season records in faceoff percentage.

The Lizards players that need to be watched tonight are definitely Rob Pannell, Greg Gurenlian, and Drew Adams. Pannell has sky-rocketed this season and is currently in the fifth slot for points in the MLL. He also sits in the sixth spot for assists and is tied for fifth in goals with Boston’s Kevin Buchanan. Adams has been a stalwart in net this season with a goals against average of 11.93 and a save percentage hovering around the 52 percent mark so far this season. Adams has only missed one game this season and that was during his stint with Team USA and the World Championships in Denver. He sits at 6-5 on the year and will definitely be in the net for the Lizards for as long as their run may go.

The Hounds have struggled this year only winning four games so far. They have struggled at almost every aspect of the game, much like the Lizards did last year. The Hounds will look to play spoilers come game time. They will be looking to players like Justin Ward, Mike Sawyer, John Haus, and Matt Danowski to step up and run the team on offense. The Hounds will also need to get some good play out of their defense and whomever is in net.

The game is scheduled to start at 7 pm EST at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, NC. With a win the Lizards would be a game and a half back of the league leading Rochester Rattlers and a game back of the second place Denver Outlaws.