By Natalie Johnson | 7/30/14 2:30 PM
Ohio 23, Denver 22 (OT)
In the highest scoring game of the season, the Machine outlasted the Outlaws, winning the game on a goal from Kyle Harrison in the second minute of overtime. Ohio now has sole possession of fourth place in the league, while Denver is second and has secured a playoff spot despite taking the loss. Marcus Holman and Logan Schuss each had five goals for the Machine, while Denver’s John Grant Jr. led all scorers with six goals and three assists. Ohio dominated at the X, as Bobby Dattilo and Eric O’Brien combined to win 31 of 46 face offs.
Florida 23, Boston 17
Although the Launch entered the game on a five-game losing streak, there were no signs of that struggling team last week in their final home game of the season. Florida used a nine-goal second quarter— including five from standout rookie Kieran McArdle— to gain a lead that would never be relinquished. McArdle also added five assists and was named Cascade Rookie of the Week, while Kevin Cunningham and David Earl, recently acquired from Chesapeake in the Kevin Crowley trade, each scored four goals for the Launch. Paul Rabil led Boston with three goals and five assists.
Rochester 13, Charlotte 9
The Rattlers were able to pull away in the final quarter to secure the win over Charlotte, clinching a playoff spot and taking sole possession of first place in the league. Although the game was tied at halftime, Rochester held the Hounds to just three second-half goals. Rookie Jordan Wolf had yet another impressive performance, tallying seven points (5 G, 2 A) and earning Warrior Offensive Player of the Week honors. Jake Tripucka was Charlotte’s high scorer, earning two goals and adding one assist.
Chesapeake 12, New York 11
The Bayhawks entered the game knowing that they were eliminated from the postseason picture, but that didn’t stop them from fighting. They scored four in the fourth quarter while holding New York scoreless to get the come-from-behind win. It was a balanced effort for Chesapeake, as eight different players recorded a goal, including Jesse Bernhardt, who had two goals (one from behind the 2-point arc) and an assist. Bayhawks goalie Tyler Fiorito, filling in for the injured Kip Turner, had 15 saves and was named Warrior Defensive Player of the Week. Ned Crotty led the Lizards with three goals, while Rob Pannell added a goal and three assists.
131: Total number of goals scored in last week’s four MLL games, making it the highest-scoring week of the 2014 season.
10: Number of points scored by Florida’s Kieran McArdle in last week’s game against Boston, the best single-game output of any player this season.
5: The Rochester Rattlers have reeled off five consecutive wins, which ties Denver’s season-opening streak as the longest win streak of 2014.
12: Number of consecutive games in which Ohio’s Peter Baum has scored a goal. He is the only MLL player to have recorded a goal in every game this season.
1: There’s only one playoff spot still up for grabs after Rochester, Denver, and New York clinched last weekend. Ohio, Boston, and Florida are now fighting for that final place in the postseason.
Denver Outlaws at Chesapeake Bayhawks
When: Thursday, July 31 @ 7:30 PM ET
Watch: CBS Sports Network
Last time they met: Denver 9, Chesapeake 6 (June 21, 2014 in Denver)
The Outlaws were just defeated for the fourth time this year— more losses than they had in the past two seasons combined. Regardless, they’re still in great shape, having clinched a playoff spot. Meanwhile, Chesapeake is already eliminated from the postseason, but they showed last week that they’re not going out without a fight. When these two teams met in Week 8, it was a low-scoring, defensive battle. While the Bayhawks are statistically one of the worst offenses in the league, they’ll be playing for pride in front of their own fans, which could give them the intangible advantage they need to knock off Denver.
New York Lizards at Charlotte Hounds
When: Friday, August 1 @ 7:00 PM ET
Watch: CBS Sports Network
Last time they met: New York 14, Charlotte 12 (June 21, 2014 in Hempstead, NY)
Charlotte has dropped three in a row, while New York lost a fourth-quarter lead and fell to Chesapeake last week. Both teams will be looking to rebound this weekend, although only the Lizards are playing for postseason seeding. All four of Charlotte’s wins this season have come at home, and the Hounds will certainly want to get one more in their final home game of the season. Last week, New York had just one scorer with multiple goals (Ned Crotty, with three goals), so they’ll need their big stars to step up if they want to defeat the fighting Hounds.
Florida Launch at Boston Cannons
When: Saturday, August 2 @ 3:00 PM ET
Syndicated: Altitude, MSG+, Prime Ticket, SportSouth, SportsTime Ohio, CSN New England
Last time they met: Florida 23, Boston 17 (July 26, 2014 in Boca Raton)
Florida and Boston are in the unusual position of meeting twice in consecutive weeks, and this second matchup will go a long way toward clearing up the playoff picture. Expect emotions to be high, as the final minutes of last week’s game got heated— there were 13 penalties in the fourth quarter alone. The Cannons were handed their worst loss of the season last week, but this week they’ll be back in front of their home crowd with everything on the line.
Ohio Machine at Rochester Rattlers
When: Saturday, August 2 @ 7:00 PM ET
Last time they met: Ohio 18, Rochester 13 (June 14, 2014 in Delaware, OH)
The Rattlers are still undefeated at home, but the Machine will be coming in hot this weekend, having just knocked off one of the league’s strongest teams in overtime. Ohio has the league’s best offense, having scored 170 goals this season, but they’ll encounter the league’s best defense in Rochester, which has allowed just 137 goals. That battle of strengths should be a great one to watch, but the Rattlers also have plenty of offensive weapons of their own. The Machine will be looking to keep Jordan Wolf and company in check so that they can hold on to that final postseason spot.
Burn Cancer Week: This weekend is the first ever Burn Cancer Week in the MLL. In support of the HEADstrong Foundation, MLL players will wear lime green shoelaces, and coaches will wear lime green shirts to raise awareness for all types of blood cancer. The HEADstrong Foundation was founded by Nicholas Colleluori after his diagnosis in 2005, and the Foundation carries on his legacy while fighting for and supporting those with the disease.
Race to the Top: The battle between Florida’s Casey Powell and Boston’s Paul Rabil for MLL’s 2014 top scorer remains tight. Powell currently has a narrow lead, as he has 54 points this season to Rabil’s 52. With only two games left, it remains to be seen which star will end up on top of the leaderboard.
Perfect at Home: If Rochester can get a win this weekend, they’ll finish the season undefeated at home for the first time in team history. The last time the Rattlers lost at Sahlen’s Stadium was July 20, 2013.
FOGO Race: The pursuit of the final playoff spot isn’t the only close race going on in MLL right now: just a few percentage points separate New York’s Greg Gurenlian and Boston’s Chris Eck in the competition for top FOGO honors. Gurenlian (0.602 winning percentage) and Eck (0.585 winning percentage) have been trading places on the leaderboard all season, but only one can be named the league’s best face off specialist in 2014.
Item of the Week: Show your love for the Chesapeake Bayhawks with this awesome t-shirt! It’s available in the MLL Shop, along with sweet merchandise from all of our teams. Get your Bayhawks shirt here, or by clicking the image to the right.