MLL Weekend Preview: Week 13
Boston Cannons (3-7) at New York Lizards (5-6)
Thursday, 7:00 PM on LSN
Storylines: This is a do-or-die game for the Cannons as a loss will officially eliminate them from playoff contention. Last time these teams met, the Cannons came away with a 16-13 win, but that was before trading Will Manny and Joe LoCascio to New York. This marks the first time Manny and LoCascio will face their former club. New York is coming off a split of their doubleheader weekend last week, while Boston was torched by the Rattlers, 21-9, last Sunday.
Players to watch: Current MLL points leader Paul Rabil (24 goals, 15 assists, 42 points) will pass Casey Powell for second place on MLL's all-time points list with the next point he scores. Powell and Rabil each have 520 career points, which trails only John Grant Jr. (541). Rabil has 15 points over his last three games. For Boston, attackman John Uppgren filled the void left by Manny by scoring two goals in last week's loss, his first points of the season.
Florida Launch (6-5) at Chesapeake Bayhawks (4-6)
Thursday, 7:30 PM on LSN
Storylines: No team has scored more goals than the Bayhawks this season (149), but they have also allowed the second-most goals in the league with 153. At 4-6 and trailing the teams tied for the final playoff spot by 1.5 games, the Bayhawks are in playoff mode. They get a second chance at the Launch after last week's game that saw Florida blow an 11-3 lead at halftime, but still manage to win thanks to Dylan Molloy's game-winning goal in the fourth.
Players to watch: Molloy was named the Cascade Rookie of the Week for his heroics against the Bayhawks last week, which included three goals total. He'll work with attackman Kieran McArdle, who bounced back with a seven-point night last week after the Blaze held him scoreless on July 1. The Bayhawks are leaning heavily on rookies Jake Froccaro (8 goals, 5 assists) and Josh Byrne (19 goals, 6 assists) with Byrne leading the team in goals since he debuted on June 10.
Denver Outlaws (8-2) at Rochester Rattlers (5-6)
Thursday, 7:30 PM on LSN
Storylines: The Rattlers are one of two teams to beat the Outlaws this season, handing them a 16-15 loss back on May 27. At the time, Denver was undefeated. Now, the Outlaws have a chance to clinch a playoff berth with a win in one of their two games this week. If Denver wins both games this weekend and Chesapeake loses once, they can secure homefield advantage in the playoffs.
Players to watch: Jordan Wolf (5 goals), Jordan MacIntosh (4 goals), Eric Fannell (3 goals) and Ryan McNamara (3 goals) all chipped in with hat tricks in Rochesters 21-9 rout of the Cannons last week. With 40 points, Wolf is tied with Marcus Holman for the second-most points in the league, trailing only Paul Rabil (42). Denver will counter with one of the strongest defences in MLL, led by goalie Jack Kelly, who ranks among league leaders in goals against average (2nd, 11.09), saves (3rd, 141) and save percentage (2nd, .562).
Chesapeake Bayhawks (4-6) at Atlanta Blaze (5-6)
Saturday, 7:00 PM on LSN
Storylines: These teams met back in May, with the Bayhawks coming out on top, 13-11. Chesapeake had a four-goal lead with seven minutes to play, but Atlanta cut the advantage with two late goals before falling short. Since that game, the Blaze have gone 5-2 and are coming off a 16-14 win at New York. Chesapeake will be playing for the second time in three days.
Players to watch: Mark Matthews earned Warrior Offensive Player of the Week after a five-point performance in the win against the Lizards that included the go-ahead goal in the fourth quarter. For Chesapeake, Lyle Thompson has been a spark in just three games played, tallying nine goals and three assists. Thompson and the Bayhawks offense have scored 19 goals in each of their last two games.
Charlotte Hounds (4-6) at Florida Launch (6-5)
Saturday, 7:00 PM on LSN
Storylines: The Hounds have won four of their last six games, including an 18-14 win over the Launch on June 24. Kevin Crowley and John Haus combined for nine of Charlotte's goals in that game for an 18-14 win at American Legion Memorial Stadium. They'll travel to play a Florida squad that just scored a dramatic 20-19 win over Chesapeake last week that set a new franchise record for wins in a season.
Players to watch: After leading the league in scoring for most of the early half of the season, Hounds attacker Ryan Brown has tallied just five goals and one assist in his last three games combined. Rookie Matt Rambo has picked up some of the slack for Charlotte offensively, scoring the first hat trick of his pro career last week. The Launch boast the goalie with the most saves in MLL in Austin Kaut (203) and he's averaged 18 saves in his last three games.
Ohio Machine (7-4) at Denver Outlaws (8-2)
Sunday, 8:00 PM on Twitter
Storylines: If the 13-11 nailbiter these teams played last week wasn't exciting enough, you get a second dose of the top two teams in MLL squaring off in the Twitter Game of the Week this Sunday. In a rematch of the 2016 MLL Championship Game, the Outlaws came out on top once again thanks to hat tricks from Eric Law and Wes Berg and a 22-save performance from Jack Kelly. Denver, however, will be playing for the second time in four days after a Thursday night date on the road in Rochester.
Players to watch: Rookie Connor Cannizzaro will return to Denver for the first time as a pro after starring for the University of Denver the last four years. The fifth-overall pick in this year's draft has fit in nicely to a stacked Ohio lineup, totaling 10 goals and five assists in four games. Outlaws attackman Matt Kavanagh missed last week's game against the Machine, but still leads the team with 36 points (21 goals, 15 assists).