By Natalie Johnson | 7/25/14 3:30 PM
Charlotte Hounds at Rochester Rattlers
Saturday, July 26 — 7:00 PM ET — Sahlen’s Stadium
The Charlotte Hounds (4-7) will be arriving at Sahlen’s Stadium hoping to slow down the red-hot Rattlers and remain in the playoff hunt, but Rochester (8-3) will be fighting to hold on to at least a share of the top spot in league standings.
Last Time Out
Charlotte: The Hounds dropped a heartbreaker in Ohio last weekend, falling 13-12 in overtime to the Machine. The two teams were evenly matched, as neither ever led by more than two goals. Charlotte’s Ryan Young scored with just one second left to force the game to extra time, but Ohio was able to score first in the overtime period to get the win. Justin Ward led all Charlotte scorers with three goals, while Matt Danowski and Young each added two more. Although he was charged with the loss, Adam Ghitelman played well in goal, saving 16 of 29 shots on goal.
Rochester: Although they were missing three of their top four scorers, Rochester put together a solid 10-7 win over Chesapeake last Thursday. Rookie Mark Cockerton scored Rochester’s first five goals, including all four of their goals before halftime. In the absence of those participating in the World Lacrosse Championships, several players stepped up, including Ty Thompson, who had a goal and an assist in his MLL debut. With the exception of a third quarter that saw the Bayhawks score six goals, the Rochester defense played very well, shutting out Chesapeake in the second and fourth quarters. John Galloway was strong in the net as usual, recording 14 saves while allowing 7 goals.
Medal Sweep: Although every MLL team had several participants at the World Lacrosse Championships last week, it was the Rattlers who had the most success in the event. Rochester was the only MLL team with players on each of the top 3 teams: Jordan MacIntosh won gold with Team Canada, Kevin Leveille and David Lawson took silver with Team USA, and Mike Lazore and Miles Thompson were a part of the bronze medal-winning Iroquois Nationals.
Young Guns: Charlotte’s rookie class has been one of the best in the league this season, which bodes well for the Hounds’ future. Attackman Justin Ward has been the standout of the first year class: he leads all Hounds with 26 points this season, and has recorded at least two points in every game since joining the league in Week 5. Mike Chanenchuk and Thomas DeNapoli have also been key contributors on offense, while defensemen Michael Ehrhardt and Henry Lobb have also impressed in their first season.
Finding the Net: The Hounds are second in the league with 297 shots on goal, but have had trouble converting those quality shots into goals— they rank seventh with just 122 goals scored this season. It might not get much easier this week, as they’ll be facing Rochester goalkeeper John Galloway, who has played more minutes than any other MLL goalie this season and has a GAA of 11.39, which is second best among all goalies with at least 180 minutes played.
Players to Watch
Charlotte: Since Charlotte is such a young team, having a veteran presence like Matt Danowski is invaluable to the Hounds. Danowski has scored two goals in four consecutive games, and leads the team with 48 shots on goal this year. The experienced attackman is a consistent scoring threat and an important on-field leader.
Rochester: Last week, Mark Cockerton proved he shouldn’t be overlooked, scoring Rochester’s first five goals of the game and earning Warrior Offensive Player of the Week honors. Despite the fact that he has only played in six games this season, Cockerton’s 16 goals are second best for the Rattlers. He also boasts an outstanding .557 shooting percentage, which is best among all MLL players with at least 20 shots.
Charlotte: As previously mentioned, rookie Justin Ward leads the Hounds with 26 points this season, and his 14 assists are also a team high. Mike Sawyer has 19 goals, and he also leads the team with three 2-point goals. Defenseman Ryan Flanagan has a team-best 46 ground balls. Adam Ghitelman has appeared in eight games for the Hounds, amassing 111 saves.
Rochester: Justin Turri, in the midst of a breakout season, leads the team with 31 points, 18 goals, and 11 assists— which is already more than he recorded in his first two seasons combined. Turri and Mike Manley are tied for the team lead with two 2-point goals each. Defensively, face off specialist John Ortolani has a team-high 65 ground balls this season, while Joel White isn’t far behind with 59 GBs.
2014 Season Series
When the Rattlers traveled to Charlotte in Week 10, they were able to narrowly defeat the Hounds by a score of 15-13. Although the Hounds did their best to fight back from a 10-5 halftime deficit, Rochester never relinquished the lead, notching their seventh victory of 2014.
Charlotte and Rochester have allowed the fewest 2-point goals in the league, each giving up just three goals from behind the arc this season.
This season, the Rattlers are 5-0 at home, while the Hounds are 0-5 on the road.
Charlotte attackman Ryan Young is in the midst of an incredible scoring streak: he has tallied at least one point in his last 26 games.