MLL Field Report: Week 4

Quick guess. You missed at least four out of the five MLL games last week because you were completely wrapped up in the NCAA first round. Who could blame you? That was some serious lacrosse. You also had to weigh things against the NLL Divisional Finals, if you’re into that sort of thing. Well, there were also a handful of notable games in the MLL and it all started before we even got to the weekend.

Charlotte 14, Rochester 10

Thursday night lacrosse? We’ll take it! The winless Charlotte Hounds had to take the rest of the week off from their day jobs to kick off their weekend of action. The Rochester Rattlers local guys, and that’s a lot of them, probably had a good shot at a day of work on Thursday, if they’re close. The rest of us got to tune in for a nice breakup of the week and a little teaser of all of the exciting lacrosse of the weekend.

An explosive second quarter, featuring seven-straight tallies gave the Hounds a five goal lead at halftime. From there, Kevin Crowley, in his season debut, pinned his third and fourth goals into the back of the net, before things started to get murky for Charlotte. Midfielder Kip Orban and Knighthawk Dan Lomas got a 7-2 swing started for the Rattlers, featuring a goal from defenseman Matt Dunn, another one by Lomas, and three-straight from Kyle Denhoff. Rochester pulled within two with four minutes left, plenty of time to keep the Hounds from sniffing out their season’s first win.

That’s where Mike Chanenchuk (2+3) made his presence known with an absolute showstopper. With a two-pointer, from downtown, the Hounds leapt to a four goal differential, knocking all remaining wind out of the Rattlers’ sails. Despite scoring the first and last goals of the fourth quarter, Charlotte connected on their only two shots on goal of the frame. John Galloway (.552) was left on an island for a strong majority of the game, the score could have been a lot worse. In the other crease, Charlie Cipriano (.643) was consistent all night, along with the pressure from Charlotte across the entire field. The Rattlers actually won the face-off fight, riding on another strong night from Drew Simoneau (.556). They needed to focus on what was going right if they were going to turn things around on the road in two days. The Hounds were starving for that first win and they finally fed themselves. Call it a blessing, call it a curse, but they had to go again in less than 48 hours. At least the got to go back to Charlotte. That’s something, right?
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Chesapeake 17, Charlotte 16

Back on the turf, this time at home, the Hounds returned Chesapeake’s first score with three-straight of their own and we’re giving the crowd something to cheer for. Then a four goal run from the Bayhawks gave Charlotte the reality check that you have to ride the momentum wave, not expect it to carry you. The dogs fired back with a trio of scores to kick off the next quarter, immediately followed by three strikes from the birds. We had ourselves a battle by halftime, with the Bayhawks only leading by two on the scoreboard. Almost everything was done in pairs in the third as things started to swing Charlotte’s way. The Hounds found six goals from as many scorers and suddenly things were knotted for the final frame. Myles Jones broken the ice first, followed by two from Charlotte, and two more for Chesapeake.

With just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter, it looked like the Hounds had the momentum to win their second game. Kevin Crowley (2+3) tied the game up with his 5th point of the night, followed by the go-ahead strike from Hopkins’ product Phil Castronova, his first career goal. Just when we thought the season was turning completely around for Charlotte, the visitors had other plans. Powell athlete John Maloney picked up his second assist of the night, hitting face-off man CJ Costabile for the tying score. With no better time to be a hero, James Carlson followed by hitting the game-winner for Chesapeake with just 16 seconds left in the game.

This Bayhawks squad is excitingly dynamic. If you don’t know Nate Lewnes by now, get familiar before your team gets burned. Lewnes is one of the greatest finishers to come out of UMBC and hot off his second hat trick of the season. He’s up to 8 goals, 10 points in the first three games of his rookie season and rolling. Garrett Thul had another great week at that low wing, picking up another 3 goals, while Kevin Cooper led them team in points with an early goal, 2nd quarter two-pointer, and pair of helpers. Matt Abbott is always going to play his role and has thrown a couple in both of the past two games. From the midfield and forward, this squad is pretty stacked. Maybe it’s time to make some moves to bolster the backline before it really becomes a problem. Goaltending can’t be where the Chesapeake staff wants it to be and they’re still seeing way too many shots. They’ll get away with it when the offense is spreading the wealth and shooting the lights out. The Hawks will continue with a home game on Saturday against the Blaze, take a week off, then get back to work again at home. They can use the next month to really become the talk of the town.
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New York 14, Atlanta 12

Despite the Blaze moniker, it was actually the Lizards on fire from the opening whistle in Kennesaw. Face-off monster Greg Gurenlian (.552) won the first draw and immediately sprung the ball down to the soft hands of Matt Gibson for a quick finish and equally quick, 1-0, lead. From there, you could tell it was Paul Rabil’s turn to eat. With only two goals in the first couple games, Rabil unleashed to show us why he’s one of the top players in the game. His first strike came less than a minute in, the second was a missile launched beyond the two-point line, and third in the latter half of the quarter, giving him a hat trick in the first twelve minutes. Two former Outlaws, Terry Kimener and Chris Bocklet, found twine to break up the Rabil show, before Joe Walters would get on the board on the man-up from Australian pole Callum Robinson’s slashing penalty.

The second quarter opened with an unassisted score from box lacrosse phenom Curtis Dickson, playing his first game in Lizards duds. Trying to swing things around, Dylan Donahue connected for his only goal of the night for Atlanta. Unfortunately, it was the only goal of the quarter for the Blaze and it was time again for the Rabil show. Two more goals from the big man would separate the score to 9-3 at halftime, closing #99 out with 6 points in the game.

Atlanta came out firing for their home crowd in the second half, with Kimener and James Pannell punching in two quick goals to wake things up. Yet, it seemed like no matter what they were doing, the entire New York unit was moving the ball incredibly well and the game was rewarding them for it. Dickson’s second of the game was an absolute beauty from Gibson. Catching the feed in front of the goal, he snapped a pinpoint behind the legs shot past goaltender Adam Ghitelman (.456). It was a back and fourth quarter, with the Blaze eventually outworking the Lizards to win the frame, 4-3, cutting the deficit to five. Again, Atlanta shot out of the gate in an attempt to take back the game. Chris Bocklet completed his hat trick on either side of a strike from Matt Mackrides. Just when it became a two goal game, Tommy Palasek beat Ghitelman to stretch the difference. Long-stick wizard Scott Ratliff brought the ball down the field and worked it past Drew Adams (.600) to keep chipping away, but after 54 minutes, Rob Pannell decided to get on the scoreboard to discourage the Blaze comeback.

In the last minute, Mackrides would find late success but Atlanta couldn’t sink the two-pointer they needed to send things into extra minutes. Powell athlete Chris Bocklet led the offense with a hat trick and assist, but the New York defensive group, back by Adams, did a spectacular job of limiting production from all of the Blaze shooters. The Lizards were necessary shooting in high volume, but they were taking the right shots on the focused goaltending of Ghitelman. The curated selection paid off, connecting on nearly 55% of what they put on cage. Here’s what this game told us, circle July 13th! When the Blaze play the Lizards this season, it’s going to be a dogfight and both teams will be in midseason form come July.
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Rochester 13, Boston 10

Keeping the theme of the week, the match-up between the Rattlers and Cannons was also much closer for 60 minutes than the final score will indicate. The Cannons looked to have the upper hand in the early part of game, beating Rochester 5 times while the defense locked off to only give up a solo shot.

Offensively, no one in particular went out of their way to carry the backpack for Rochester. It was a collective team effort making the win happen, with five guys registering 2 goals each, none collecting the third. Although no one stood out as the clear ringmaster, a lot of notable things happened around the Rattlers camp. First, Jojo Marasco finally punched in his first two goals as a Rattler, rookie Conor Gately scored a pair in his MLL debut, Orban and Denhoff kept their momentum from Thursday, and the box-influenced sticks of Dan Lomas and Ty Thompson stayed active too. Another highlight for the Ratz was the rebound of goaltender John Galloway (.500), making some clutch saves nearing the end of the game to keep Boston at arm’s distance.

It sure did feel like it could have been the Cannons’ game at one point. The offense wasn’t struggling to work their magic and Joe Locascio was playing with an absolute vengeance. Four goals and an assist later, Locascio had to be feeling good about the night, but Davey Emala (2+0) was the only other score to have a multi-goal showing. Both teams found the back of the net a few times before the Cannons turned on the jets.

This was a great win for Rochester. Getting the dub always feels good and keeps the morale high, but they were also able to even out the record to 2-2, keeping the bad vibes of falling below .500 away for now. Responding to a shot in the mouth at home on Thursday with a road win is a good sign that the Rattlers aren’t going to roll over and take a beating this year. They’ve been going to work trying to try new combos, find guys that want to make an impact, and put themselves back into the hunt for August.

Boston has these constant flashes of brilliance, but it’s not adding up for a complete performance. Goaltending from Tyler Fiorito is still shy of where it can be and the rest of the five offensive starters need to do an early gut check if they want to fix these issues now instead of dragging them out through the summer. We saw one of the best nights all season from the defensive group. Yes, they gave up 13, but not many MLL games are ever going to be won with only 10 goals, plain and simple.
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Denver 15, Florida 8

This game would have been night and day different if it wasn’t for the meddling goaltending of young Jack Kelly. 21 saves. Take away a third of those and we have a tie ball game. After four games, Denver is flawless and still rolling. It’s also safe to say that a major boost to the entire offense has been Powell athlete Mike Bocklet’s relentless attack on the cage. Sophomore star Matt Kavanagh tickled the twine just 35 seconds in, before the big, bad Bocklet would ring up two of his own before two minutes would come up missing from the clock. Two more quick tallies from the Outlaws would open up the second quarter, before Florida ever got on the board in their own house.

We saw a solid scoring balance from the Launch, spreading out the workload between the attack and the midfield. Back from his NLL duties, Connor Buczek has looked decent for Florida, but he was settled at only 2 goals and an assist, the highest points total for the team on Saturday. Always good for a goal, Chazz Woodson was held to just that, and the middie group of Jovan Miller, Steven Brooks, and Marty Bowes only accumulated one each. Crafty attack work from Jimmy Dailey added up for another two, but that’s where it eneded. Between the pipes, Austin Kaut (.381) got turned into Swiss cheese. The defense wasn’t without fault, but at least they were aggressive and giving plenty of shots to the attack, pre- and post-shot.

Maybe Denver is just on another level. After four games, it seems like maybe this isn’t a fluke. We’re only a couple of weeks in, but from the outside it’s hard to figure out what they’ve got to fix. Three more goals from Bocklet in the second half pushed his nightly points total to 6. With 15 goals and 3 assists, Mike is now sitting at 2nd overall in scoring and goals for the entire league. Not too bad for a 32 year-old, third year attackman. Around him, Kavanagh made it a hat trick, Eric Law had two of his own, and four other guys put up a goal. They still haven’t unleashed the powers of Drew Snider, Jeremy Sieverts, or Wes Berg yet this season. Maybe Bocklet will share some of the spotlight. Until the defenses can handle him, why would he?


Upcoming Games
Fridayday, May 19th
Blaze @ Bayhawks – 7:30 pm, Navy-Marine MS, Anapolis, MD

Saturday, May 20th
Lizards @ Cannons – 7 pm, Harvard Stadium, Allston, MA
Hounds @ Machine – 7 pm, The Fortress, Columbus, OH
Launch @ Rattlers – 7:30 pm, Capelli Sports Stadium, Rochester, NY
Outlaws @ Launch – 7pm, FAU, Boca Raton, FL

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