MLL Weekend Preview: Week 14
Chesapeake Bayhawks (6-6) at Denver Outlaws (8-4)
Thursday, 2:00 PM on LSN
Storylines: The Outlaws can clinch a playoff berth with a win over Chesapeake. There's also a scenario where Denver loses on Thursday and still clinches, but they would need help from several other teams. At 6-6 the Bayhawks are fighting for their playoff lives coming off a doubleheader sweep last week. Typically fueled by its offense, Chesapeake grinded out a 13-12 win over Atlanta on Saturday that saw goalie Niko Amato make a critical save at the end of regulation for the win.
Players to watch: That performance against the Blaze helped Amato win Warrior Defensive Player of the Week. Overall, he's posted a 4-2 record while splitting time with All-Star Brian Phipps. That goalie tandem will have to stop Mike Bocklet and Eric Law, who are tied for Denver's team lead in points and rank fourth in MLL overall. Law has tallied at least four points in each of his last six games (27 points total) and is coming off a season-high six points (5 goals) against Ohio.
Boston Cannons (3-8) at Charlotte Hounds (5-7)
Thursday, 7:30 PM on LSN
Storylines: After being officially eliminated from playoff contention last week, the Cannons head into Charlotte as a spoiler team with nothing to lose. And the Hounds have a lot to lose. A loss to Boston will end their playoff chances, as well. Since the All-Star break, Charlotte has lost two straight games, including an 18-12 loss in Florida last week that saw them fall behind by nine goals at the half.
Players to watch: Boston will use its last two games as a showcase for some of its up-and-coming talent. Last week, they unveiled UNC product Luke Goldstock (1 goal) and tonight, they expect fellow 2017 draftees Cal Dearth and Tim Muller to make their MLL debuts. Dearth led the Boston University team this season with 57 points, while Muller was named the NCAA Defensive Player of the Year for National Champion Maryland. The Hounds have a rookie of their own in Matt Rambo, who has five goals in his last two games.
Florida Launch (7-6) at Boston Cannons (3-8)
Saturday, 6:00 PM on Twitter
Storylines: The Twitter Game of the Week features a Florida club that can clinch the franchise's first ever playoff berth with a win over Boston in conjunction with a Chesapeake loss. The Launch have won two of their last three games following a 17-4 beatdown at the hands of the Blaze on July 1.
Players to watch: With a league-best 241 saves this season, Launch goalie Austin Kaut is 26 saves shy of the single-season record, held by former Lizards goalie Brian Dougherty (267 saves, 2004). He'll play behind the reigning Cascade Rookie of the Week in Dylan Molloy, who racked up eight goals in two games last week. For Boston, Kylor Bellistri has totaled 18 points (11 goals, 7 assists) in his last four games, including a hat trick against New York last time out.
Rochester Rattlers (6-6) at Atlanta Blaze (5-7)
Saturday, 7:00 PM on LSN
Storylines: In what may have been the most entertaining game of the MLL season, Atlanta beat the Rattlers in overtime back on June 24 thanks to Randy Staats' game-winning goal. The teams combined for five goals in the final two minutes of regulation, including a game-tying goal from Jeremy Noble with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Players to watch: Jordan MacIntosh earned Warrior Offensive Player of the Week honors after scoring four goals and adding an assist in Rochester's 18-12 win over the Outlaws last week. Goalie John Galloway made 16 saves in that game and ranks third in the league with an 11.85 goals against average. Loyola product Brian Sherlock tallied a hat trick for the Blaze last week in the second game of his pro career.
New York Lizards (6-6) at Ohio Machine (8-4)
Saturday, 7:00 PM on LSN
Storylines: Win and you're in. That's Ohio's slogan for this game as a win will clinch a playoff berth and home field advantage in the playoffs. The Machine can still clinch with a loss and a Rochester loss or if Chesapeake and Florida both lose. The Lizards revitalized their playoff chances with wins in each of their last two games. They had a spirited 16-14 win over the Cannons last time out that featured four goals from newcomer Will Manny.
Players to watch: After passing Casey Powell for sole possession of second place on the all-time points list last week, Paul Rabil is three assists shy of becoming the sixth player in league history with 200 assists. He leads the league with 45 points (25 goals, 17 assists) this season. He'll have to crack a tough Ohio defense, which was on full display last weekend when Brian Karalunas picked the pocket of Jeremy Sieverts to set up the game-tying goal in Denver.