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Rattlers Clinch First 2018 MLL Playoff Spot with 6th Straight Victory

July 7, 2018
The Dallas Rattlers (9-2) became the first qualifier for the 2018 Major League Lacrosse playoffs with a 14-9 victory over the slumping Charlotte Hounds (6-6). The Rattlers kept their spotless home record (5-0) intact and extended their overall win streak to six games. 

The Rattlers used hat tricks from Randy Staats and Ned Crotty, and a pair of goals from Jordan Wolf to keep the Hounds at bay. Ty Thompson capped off the scoring for Dallas with a no-look, over-the-shoulder goal past Charlotte goaltender Charlie Cipriano to increase the lead to 14-8 with 4:29 left in the game.  

The Hounds, which dropped their fourth game in a row, trailed by just two goals with 13:46 left in the game but the Rattlers answered with four straight goals to put the game on ice. Coca-Cola Player of the Game, Dallas’ John Galloway, made 12 saves on 21 shots on goal and also snared several errant passes to help preserve the victory for the first-place Rattlers.

Staats, who was making just his second appearance of the season, does what he does best and got the Rattlers going with his first goal of the game with 5:41 gone in the first quarter on a pass from rookie Ben Reeves. After John Crawley tied the score for Charlotte, Wolf and Staats answered back to give the Rattlers a 3-1 lead after one quarter. 

Dallas then went up 5-2 after trading goals and then the Hounds' Matt Rambo and Ryan Brown, who both returned to the lineup after missing last Saturday’s game versus Atlanta, scored to cut the Rattlers lead to 5-4 with 7:02 left in the second. The cushion increased to 6-4 with Reeves cashing in with an assist by Thompson at 3:34. Crotty gave the Rattlers their three-goal lead back with 1:13 left in the second quarter and they led 7-4 at halftime. 

After Crotty increased the Rattlers' lead with 9:40 left in the third quarter, the Hounds' rookie Morgan Cheek who was making his MLL debut, scored to make it 8-5. Not to be outdone, Dallas' John Sexton, making his second MLL appearance, scored on a two-point missile that gave the Rattlers a 10-5 lead. However, Brown scored twice and Mike Chanenchuk scored his second goal of the game to put the Hounds back in the hunt at 10-8.

Dallas was in no mood for a fourth-quarter tussle. Brian Kormondy took a pass from Reeves and scored to make it 11-8 with 12:20 left. Faceoff specialist Drew Simoneau won the ensuing faceoff and dashed toward the Charlotte net and slipped one past Cipriano to increase the Dallas lead to 12-8 just seven seconds after Kormondy's goal. Staats added his third before Thompson put the icing on the cake.

Brown had a hat trick for Charlotte, while Rambo and Chanenchuk each had a pair. Cipriano made 13 saves in a losing effort.

The Hounds are back in action at Chesapeake on Saturday, July 21 following the FIL World Lacrosse Games break in the MLL schedule. The Rattlers will head to Denver the following day, Sunday, July 22, for a game against the Outlaws. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+.

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