And then there was one. Denver is the last team standing with a zero in the loss column, three wins deep and playing in midseason form. A variety of early season issues have caused hiccups for the eight others, but it looks like offseason rust is just about gone. It’s still going to be hard to top Week 1, featuring four one-goal games.
There’s four match-ups on the schedule for Saturday, with a Thursday night kicker, and they should produce some interesting results. Teams are back in shape so it would be a good time to get caught up on what you missed last week. At least two of the three games kept us on the edges of our seats, but each one told us something different about the six teams that played.
Chesapeake 19, Boston 18
Talk about a shootout. This wasn’t one of those games where we can talk about how awesome the goalies and the defense were. If the combined 37 point score didn’t say enough, let’s just say things were pretty bad in that department. Well, that was until Niko Amato got the call to replace Brian Phipps at the half and was able to put together 9 big stops to save the game for Chesapeake. Things never got easier for the Cannons and it’s all because Myles Jones is bad, bad man. The Freak did some wicked things to Boston on Saturday, including a 2-pointer, 5 other goals, 4 assists, and only missed two shots. 10 points, for real. Myles was playing with serious authority, straight up scoring over the top of people, from time and room, and dodging straight to the rack.
Playing the low attack spot, Garrett Thul benefitted from being on the crease, playing with a soft touch. Finding his groove, Thul buried 5 goals rights on the doorstep and another with a little range to make it 6 for the night. Ryan Tucker, Nate Lewnes, and Matt Abbott all chipped in a pair to follow the lead of the big men.
When Kylor Bellestri (5+2), Davey Emala (4+1), and Will Manney (3+0) all put up number like these, it’s easy to assume that Boston won. Even Joe Locascio struck twice and four other Cannons found twine too. Even Boston had the better night on draws, Joe Nardella taking 25 of all 41 attempts. Following up 8 goals in 15 minutes with a 1 goal third quarter will come back to haunt them. Losing hurts, but losing after scoring 18 times can be haunting. I’m sure those nightmares will be stalked by a semi-truck with Myles Jones’ face on it.
The Cannons will face Rochester this weekend after the Ratz play on Thursday. After getting another chance to improve, the Rattlers get a night off to regroup and go back to work against the Cannons. The same situation is true for the Bayhawks, facing the Hounds after they meet the Rattlers on Thursday. This could be a bit of a challenge for Chesapeake, with the Rattlers either clicking off their first win or even more desperate to find success. If Jones and Thul manhandle the game like the Bash Brothers again, things aren’t looking good for Charlotte already.
Rochester 12, Ohio 11 OT
Unfortunately for the home team, the Machine couldn’t protect the Fortress on opening day in the new stadium. The crowd wasn’t as thick as expected, likely due to the Big Ten Finals being played at Ohio State just a few miles away and the Buckeyes were in the Championship. Those that did make their way out go to see one of the better games of the season so far. For whatever reason, Mark Cockerton is playing like an animal and this weekend buried 4 goals to make it 8 on the season, but it didn’t match what was going on for the visitors.
The Rattlers used their second game to get on track and it was the crafty Jordan Wolf (5+2) leading the charge. Starting the game off just 40 seconds in, Wolf dropped by every 10-15 minutes for another goal to make it 5 on the night. Aside from the standout performance from Wolf, the rest of Rochester’s success came through a complete team effort. John Galloway was back from coaching duties and in the crease for the Ratz, showing a key boost in leadership from the back forward. Galloway was straight up robbing Ohio shooters from what should have been sure goals. In front of him, Powell athlete John Lade put up strong fight against the Machine attack, particularly locking things down in the latter half of the game.
Wolf scored the late goal to force overtime, but the result wasn’t immediate. Ohio had the early chance, but couldn’t connect before taking a penalty. Still nothing and eventually the Machine would get the ball back and look to make a big play. Making the even bigger play, Rochester was able to force a huge momentum swinging turnover and work the ball down to Ned Crotty (0+4) who found Ty Thompson (2+0) for the game-winner. The ball was moving well for both teams, defenses were limiting the easy stuff, and it was practically even between Greg Puskuldjian and Drew Simoneau at the face-off x. The biggest factors in play were the goalies and eventually Galloway won the duel. While Scott Rodgers turned away 7 of 19 shots on goal, Galloway was standing on his head, stopping 16 of 27 of what he faced.
Charlotte 7, Denver 11
Still without a break, the Outlaws returned to Sports Authority Field to celebrate their 2016 MLL Championship and to keep their winning streak going. After starting off on a bad foot, Charlotte looked to find revenge over Denver and scratch something in the win column. The Hounds weren’t playing particularly sloppy lacrosse, they were just matched up against the two teams that came out firing, Denver and Ohio.
For the Outlaws, this wasn’t one of those games where some unsung hero came out of seemingly nowhere to takeover the game and earn his spot on the roster. Instead, it was the guys that should be putting the ball into the back of the net doing their jobs. Law, Snider, Kavanagh, Sieverts, Bocklet. Those were the names in lights for Denver. Add a long stick 2-pointer from Mike Simon and it’s just like the good ole days. As for Charlotte, only three guys could get the job done, two of which were hat tricks. Ryan Brown and John Haus pinned three each against Jack Kelly, Pat Young finding one of his own in the second.
Without Brendan Fowler in the lineup for the Hounds, it was Tom Kelly stepping up huge for the Outlaws. Kelly won over 71% of his face-offs against Kevin Massa and the offense paid him back with possession time. On both sides of the field, the defenses and the goalies were playing gritty lacrosse to hold the goal tally down. After a combined 9 goal first quarter, the scoring chances were limited incredibly. Charlotte only found twine once in each of the last three quarters. It was a good, clean game with only 4 technical fouls called, 3 on Denver. A true defensive struggle on both ends resulting in the Outlaws taking their third-straight victory, first one at home and on banner-raising night.
Their homestand must seem all too short. The Outlaws won’t be back in Denver until May 27th, going on the road to Florida this weekend, facing the Launch fresh off a bye week. Far from a break, the Hounds have to get back in the saddle twice over the weekend. The workout starts on Thursday night at Rochester before returning home in front of the Hound Legion on Saturday night against Chesapeake.
Thursday, May 11th
Hounds @ Rattlers – 7:30 pm, Rochester, NY
Saturday, May 13th
Lizards @ Blaze – 7 pm, Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw, GA
Rattlers @ Cannons – 7 pm, Harvard Stadium, Allston, MA
Bayhawks @ Hounds – 7pm, Legion Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Outlaws @ Launch – 7pm, FAU, Boca Raton, FL