Four games, one-hundred and nine combined scores. MLL fans that tuned in last weekend were treated to an absolute goal-scoring flurry. It looks like Austin Kaut and the Launch defense put up the biggest fight this weekend and they still managed to allow double-digits. If it’s goal scoring that the people want, well by golly that’s what they’re going to get. We get at least four games a week for the rest of the month, so strap up, there’s plenty of lacrosse to follow this summer.
Launch 13, Lizards 10
New York would spin their tires through the first quarter, only nailing a solo shot from Paul Rabil, working against strikes by Kevin Unterstein, Kieran McArdle, and Chazz Woodson. Our story was the exact opposite over the following fifteen minutes, Florida’s Connor Buczek was the only one to register a point against another from Rabil and connections from Ryan Walsh and Matt Gibson. A combined 12 goal third quarter brought new life to the game, Florida winning the exchange by three.
The Launch had been looking for a spark after the Thompson departure, and while they got a good boost from Chazz Woodson, it wasn’t enough. They found a way to finally fill the void last weekend through the addition of a pair of rookies hailing from Syracuse. Nick Mariano’s two strikes and one from Sergio Salcido found ways to continuously tie up the game through the third quarter. Now in his third season out of Penn State, goaltender Austin Kaut is exceeding expectations and picked up the Defensive Player of the Week honors this time around. The award comes after turning away 21 of the 31 shots he saw. Kaut is now leading the MLL with a .604 save average after his .677 night against the Lizards. Taking on 31 shots in no small order, but Kaut continues to be the spark behind the Launch’s spotty group of long poles.
Matt Gibson finished the weekend with a hat trick for New York, but a late pair from Kieran McArlde would round out a hat trick of his own and seal the game with a two goal differential for Florida. Rabil (2+0) was the only other Lizard to have a multi-goal performance. Meanwhile, 8 Launch shooters found twine, with multi-goal games from McArdle (3+0), Buczek (2+0), Mariano(2+0), and Woodson(2+0). Rookie face-off specialist Will Gural (.538) brought a strong showing for the Launch, grinding past legendary Greg Gurenlian (.444) for the majority of the possessions. If you didn’t get enough of this match-up last weekend, you’re in luck. These two go back after it this Saturday night, taking the show south to Boca Raton.
Machine 18, Bayhawks 11
Consistency was key for the Machine to stay on track, hold down the number two spot, and stay a game back from Denver’s heels. Back to back losses to Rochester and Charlotte botched Ohio’s perfect start. Their 19-7 win over the Launch a week ago kept rolling on their road trip to Maryland. Coming close to twenty goals two weeks in a row seems to prove Ohio has it figured out. We were treated to another dominating performance from the offense we’ve been waiting to see come off of the leash.
On a bit of a hot-streak, Marcus Holman has been leading the charge, following up last week’s sock trick with a four goal, two assist game. Kevin Cunningham must’ve shared a water bottle with Holman pregame, packing in four tallies of his own. Ohio maintained a three goal lead at the half and the Bayhawks couldn’t find a way cut the deficit. Taking kindly to the field game, Shawn Evans (3+1) was the only Bird to register a hat trick, while Myles Jones (2+1) was the only other shooter with a multi-goal game. They were facing a constant counter-attack from Ohio, with attempts coming from all over the field and goals coming from about every line.
If possessions truly were everything, then the Bayhawks would have won the contest by a longshot. Hot out of the NCAA, former Syracuse face-off specialist Ben Williams (.718) absolutely dominated Greg Puskuldjian (.259) at the X, taking every attempt. Aside from Williams’ dominance, offensively the man of the match had to be the Machine’s Tom Schreiber, taking a break from handing out five assists to pick up a pair of goals of his own. Between the pipes, Kyle Bernlohr got the call for Ohio and made it count, turning away over 66% of what was put on target, while his squad had a much better day against Brian Phipps, scoring about 55% of the time. The Machine get another shot at defending the Fortress this weekend against the Cannons, while Chesapeake goes on the road to Rochester. Both opening face-offs are scheduled for 7 p.m. eastern.
Hounds 18, Blaze 19
It was Powell athlete Chris Bocklet swooping in late in the final frame to sink a dagger that would take the Hounds down after holding on for nearly all of the final five minutes. The game-winner would stand as his fourth goal of the game, capping off a five point night. While Bocklet stood tall with five points, three other Blaze scorers put up even higher numbers. Attackman Dylan Donahue put up a stellar, well-rounded performance, with a hat trick and trio of goals, while Matt Mackrides found his six off of two goals and four helpers. Yet, it was James Pannell stealing the show and the Offensive Player of the Week honors with an impressive 7 points off of three solo shots, a two-pointer, and two assists to cap it all off. The group of Bocklet, Pannell, and Donahue accounted for 2/3rds of the total goals to hit the scoresheet. Rookie out of Albany, Adam Osika packed in two goals in his MLL debut, the only other shooter with multiple points.
The Hounds have a lot to be proud of offensively from the weekend. It started with Brendan Fowler on the face-offs, taking nearly 54% of the games his thirty nine attempts. Did I mention the face-off athletes two goals and assist? Having a face-off guy that’s not only winning draws, but burying the rock adds more than a couple wrinkles into the playbook. If there was anyone that was going to push the Hounds to immediate new heights, it was John Crawley out of Hopkins taking over the offense on Saturday. In his big debut, Crawley snagged the Rookie of the Week award after scoring a pair in the first quarter, connecting on a man-up situation to begin the Hounds’ nine-goal streak followed by consecutive goals kicking off the third. In all, Crawley racked up six goals and an assist in his first crack at pro lacrosse.
After Kevin Crowley (2+1) and Joey Sankey (3+3) were able to work late strikes past Adam Ghitelman (.468), it looked like Chesapeake had the momentum to put together a late comeback. But Ghitelman had other plans for his Blaze to snap a two-game losing streak and eight monstrous fourth quarter saves were the final key in pulling out the victory. We’ll get an immediate rematch on Saturday, when the Blaze head over to Charlotte in an attempt to hold onto bragging rights.
Outlaws 19, Cannons 13
After their only hiccup of the season coming last weekend to the Rattlers, the Outlaws turned around and laid into the Cannons. Ninety seconds in, the game looked like it was going to be an absolute shootout. Davey Emala and Justin Turri struck early, followed by response from Eric Law and a pair from Drew Snider. Kevin Buchanan would even it up for the Cannons, before Powell athlete Tim Barber would steal the lead back. Another strike from Emala would lock the score up to end the first frame. Sophomore stars Matt Kavanagh (3+1) and Wes Berg (4+1) got in on the action in the next frame, along with Law’s third and fourth notches and a dagger from Jeremy Sieverts would overwhelm a Boston trio of goals from Buchanan, Joe LoCascio, and Max Seibald.
Fellow Powell athlete, Mike Bocklet punched in the first goal of the second half, but the pace would slow down significantly over the next thirty minutes. Justin Turri and Will Manny would connect again for the Cannons, before rookie Zach Currier would knock down his first-career goal in his debut game. Right away, Max Seibald sailed in a major two-pointer for Boston to start the fourth, but six straight connecting from the Outlaws would sweep the game out from under the home team. Snider hot first, before Berg would put together a hat trick in just three minutes, along with timely goals from Kavanagh and Barber to stretch the difference to six. Manny would get back on the board in an attempt to stop the bleeding, only for Nick Ossello to follow up by finding twine for himself and finish the game.
At the x, Thomas Kelly only outworked Joe Nardella by two all game, a pretty even battle in the middle of the field. Jack Kelly may have been the real difference maker, shutting down sixteen shots on goal with a nearly 60% average, in contrast to Boston’s Tyler Fiorito only taking care of 42% of the Outlaws attack on the cage. Denver will be the sole team to get the coming weekend off while the Cannons will board flights for Columbus to square off with the Machine in the new Fortress Obetz.
Saturday, June 10th
Blaze @ Hounds – 7 pm, Legion
Lizards @ Launch – 7 pm, FAU Stadium
Cannons @ Machine – 7 pm, Fortress Obetz
Bayhawks @ Rattlers – 7 pm, Capelli Sports Stadium