6/21/10 12:00 AM
By Derek McLean
The Long Island Lizards will head north to Boston this week for a rematch of their week 3 win over the Cannons. The Lizards will be trying to shake off an 11-9 loss to the previously winless Toronto Nationals Saturday night. “We just couldn’t find the back of the net,” says the Lizards attack Zack Greer. “We were getting our chances and we were getting decent looks, but they just wouldn’t fall for us.”
Attack Corey Small scored 3 times for the Nationals including the game winner with less than 5 minutes to play in the game. Tim Geottelmann, Stephen Peyser, and Greg Gurenlian each scored twice for the Lizards. Goalie Drew Adams made 13 saves on 24 shots. With the loss, the Lizards fell to 2-4 on the season.
The last time the Lizards and Cannons met Long Island won 13- 11 at Lavalle Stadium in Stony Brook, NY. The 2009 Major League Lacrosse MVP Paul Rabil was held pointless throughout the game while six Lizards players scored multiple points. Drew Adams was named the Bud Light Player of the Game, with 14 saves on 23 shots on goal. Since that meeting the Lizards are 1-2 while the Cannons are 2-1. Boston is 3-0 when playing at Harvard Stadium this year.
The Cannons have relied heavily on the combo of Matt Poskay and Ryan Boyle for offense this season. Poskay leads the league with 23 goals and 28 points and Boyle leads the league with 16 assists. The Cannons offense also features Rabil, 2010 MLL All- Star attack Kevin Buchanan, and newly acquired first round pick Max Quinzani, who has scored 4 goals in the first 2 games of his pro career. The Cannons have accumulated 131 points this year, which is the second highest total in the league.
Long Island enters Saturday with the league’s best defense. Led by Nicky Polanco and Brian Spallina, the Lizards have allowed less than 12 goals a game. They are the only team in the league to accomplish this, so far this year. In his first season as a starter Adams has been fantastic in goal for the Lizards. He has played every minute for the Lizards accumulating an 11.80 goals against average and a .527 save percentage.
Long Stick midfielder Parker McKee is expected to start for the Lizards. Long Island’s first round draft pick from this year’s Major League Lacrosse Draft scooped up 5 ground balls and scored 2 assists in the Lizards week 5 win over the Chicago Machine. The Lizards have struggled to fill the role of LSM Ricky Pages who got injured in week 1. McKee fills the void Pages’ injury left with his ability to get ground balls and use his use his athleticism in transition.
“We need to get our transition game going like we did against Chicago,” says Lizards General Manager Casey Hilpert. “McKee is a great athlete who helps us get the ball from the offensive end to the defensive end.
The Lizards will need another good game from their defense, because offensively they have been stagnant this season scoring a league low, 60 goals and 86 points. Last week they could only score 9 goals at home against the Toronto Nationals, who entered the game with league’s worst defense statistically.
“We need to get our offense going,” says Hilpert. “If you hold a team to 11 points, you should be winning.”
Long Island had their best game of the season offensively against the Cannons in Week 3. The Lizards scored a season high 13 points, while taking 30 shots on goal. They are led offensively by Matt Danowski who has scored a team-high 12 goals and 19 points. Veteran attack Tim Goettelmann has scored 2 goals in each of the last 2 games and is the team’s second leading scorer with 8 goals this year.
“We have put in a couple of offensive plays,” says Zack Greer. “We’re going to start pushing the ball a little bit more and try to get some transition looks.”
The Lizards are hoping Greer, can continue his hot streak. While he had struggled early on this season, in the past 2 games, Greer has accumulated 5 points.
“I’ve been getting my chances,” he says. “When you start getting those looks, you have to stay positive because you know they are going to drop eventually.” Getting Greer going could be a big lift to the Lizards offense.
“My job is to finish the ball and make plays on the offensive end,” he says. “The most important part is putting a W in that column and when I’m not doing my part it gets frustrating.”
When the teams met in week 3, the Lizards dominated the face-offs winning 17 of 25 draws. In that game Long Island split the draws between Greg Gurenlian and Peter Vlahakis. Both excelled with Vlahakis winning 7 of 12 face-offs, while Gurenlian won 10 of 13. In the 2 past games however, Gurenlian has taken almost all of the Lizards face-offs. “They are both great face-off guys, says Hilpert. “They play 2 different styles. But the problem is we need offense and Greg, with the 6 goals, is the reason why he’s playing.”
The action is set for Saturday, June 26 at 7 pm. You can watch the game live from Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, MA on Universal Sports, Comcast Sports Net New England and ESPN 3.com.
2010 Major League Lacrosse Championship Weekend presented by Warrior
August 21-22, Annapolis, MD
For information and tickets go to www.majorleaguelacrosse.com
|06/26/2010||Live Blog and Chat: Lizards vs Cannons|