Denver Outlaws: Last week the Outlaws had a great win against the Rochester Rattlers (7-6), who are now in a must-win situation this weekend if they hope to make the playoffs. While being in first place going into Championship Weekend would certainly provide an advantage, every team this year has posed as a threat and week to week, the question arises; who will come out on top? Hoping for the final regular season win, the Outlaws have all the parts to redeem themselves after losing to the Bayhawks in Week 5. The team will have to be hungry for the victory and ready to play tough. If the Outlaws score 14 goals this weekend, Denver will take second place in the single season goals record.
Players to Watch: There are the usual suspects;Brendan Mundorf (29G 25A), Peet Poillon (23G 13A), and Jordan McBride (29G 9A)are the obvious candidates here; however, the Bayhawks are going to have to keep a close eye on rookies Mark Matthews (16G 8A) and Chris Bocklet (14G 3A), who have exploded onto the scene this year for the Outlaws. On the defensive end, Jesse Schwartzman (.532SV%) is always a threat in goal and will challenge the Bayhawks offense to take that high percentage, high quality shot. With a goalie like Schwartzman, it becomes dangerous to waste shots and throw away possessions so the Bayhawks will need to be prepared for a harder time trying to sink those shots. In front of Schwartzman, defenseman Lee Zink (15 GB), who is arguably one of the best defenders in the league, will be causing more disruption to the opposing offense. While Zink isn’t known for his performance in the ground ball department, he is known to have the best form in the league, trying to get past Zink when he is in his zone is nearly impossible.
Chesapeake Bayhawks: The Bayhawks are coming off an impressive win over the Long Island Lizards and are looking to continue that streak into the playoffs. With both Chesapeake and Denver locked in for playoffs, Chesapeake is simply looking for one last regular season win as well as title of first place regular season. The Bayhawks will need to be on top of their game if they hope to outgun the Denver defense.
Players to Watch:After having a slow first few weeks back from his injury, Ben Hunt (14G 3A) found his spark again and led the team in their victory over Long Island last week. Alongside Hunt, the Outlaws are going to have to keep an eye on Drew Westervelt (20G 11A), who can not only get the goal himself, but is known for his ability to dish it out and Kyle Dixon (13 2ptG 11A), who is a threat anywhere outside the two-point arc. On the defensive end, Matt Abbott (40 GB) and Kip Turner (.556 SV%) are going to be huge factors in this week’s outcome. If Turner, who has had a phenomenal season thus far, can get his goals against average down from 10.14 to 9.86 he will move into first place for lowest goals against average.
MLL will host its 2012 Championship Weekend presented by Warrior on August 25 and 26 at Harvard Stadium in Boston, Mass. It will be a battle of the top four teams and will include two semi-final games on Saturday followed by the championship game on Sunday. Tickets are available now via Ticketmaster.com. To learn more about the 2012 MLL Championship Weekend presented by Warrior click here. The games will be televised live on ESPN2.