This year offense has made the difference in the MLL, with Denver’s overpowering nature to Charlotte’s quick strike to Chesapeake’s well roundedness to Hamilton’s grit. These four teams find themselves at Championship weekend this year and it looks to be mostly an offensive battle.
The best offense in the league this year has been the Denver Outlaws, who garnered 226 goals this year. The Outlaws this season went 14-0 and completely dominated the league. They have six players with 30 plus points this season, with four of those six having 40 plus points. Players like Chris Bocklet, Drew Snider, and Jeremy Sieverts will need to continue their big years through the playoffs. In the five games against playoff teams the Outlaws outscored their opponents 84- 53, twice holding teams to less than 10 goals. With so many players in the top of the scoring bracket the Outlaws are well placed to just outscore their opponents tell they win the Championship.
The Charlotte Hounds are coming into Championship weekend having spent the last few weeks of the regular season already playing in a playoff atmosphere. The Hounds are lead on offense by Matt Danowski, who leads the team in points with 49 (33g, 6 2ptg, 10a). Danowski has been the life blood for the Hounds this season and he determines much of what happens out on offense during games. The Hounds biggest asset has become their transition middies, guys like Josh Hawkins, Mason Poli at LSM, and John Haus. All three have little in actual production but they give Charlotte another facet to their offense that will be troublesome for their opponents during Championship weekend. the Charlotte Hounds are the team to watch out for come next weekend. Denver will definitely need not look to far ahead of the Hounds.
The Chesapeake Bayhawks are probably the most well rounded team at Championship weekend, with a good meld of players all over the field. The place where it is most noticeable has to be on offense. Veterans like John Grant Jr., Drew Westervelt, Ben Hunt, and Kyle Dixon lead a good group of young players like Jesse Berhardt and Matt Mackrides. The Bayhawks stuck with the Nationals all season until the final week of regular season play where they jumped ahead of Hamilton to take the second seed for the playoffs. During their season the Bayhawks scored 181 goals, which was second this year to Denver’s 226. Along with this the Team brought Casey Powell out of retirement and this is one of those things that is going to be huge during the playoffs. Powell has been there and done that at almost every level of lacrosse and will add another experienced player to a team that has experience all over the field.
The Hamilton Nationals were the team nobody really talked about this year. For most of the season they were the number two team content to reside in the shade of the Outlaws. Hamilton went 9-5 and had a great season other than stumbling twice in back to back losses. The Nationals offense is lead, almost exclusively, by Kevin Crowley who had 55 points this season. He was closely followed by Joe Walters, but Crowley commanded the offense in every game this year. Hamilton will need to get more offense from their secondary middies and an more aggressive attack threat if they want to make it back to the Championship.
If I had to be pushed to one offense that was the best I would have to say the Denver Outlaws. They just have so many threats that a defense has trouble sticking on their man for very long. Although if there is one teams offense I would not want to see in the playoffs is the Charlotte Hounds. Tons of speed and they play with a chip on their shoulders that you can’t help but root for them.