By Paul Ryan | 9/16/13 10:45 AM
In our second installment of Year in Review we take a look at the Lizards and their difficult season. Click here to read the Ohio Machine Year in Review
The New York Lizards fell short of the playoffs this season, but they did present some promising moments and players. Finishing out the season at 4-10, the Lizards battled but could not keep up with much of the League, landing themselves in seventh place.
The Lizards did however show glimpses of greatness on a few occasions this summer.
After suffering a heartbreaking loss in the 2012 semifinals, the Lizards started this year off strong, downing the Boston Cannons 14-11 to open their 2013 campaign. Things were looking up for the Lizards, but a 9-3 loss to the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the second game of the season tied a record for the fewest goals ever in an MLL game. An 0-for-9 powerplay was a major reason for the Lizards shortcomings, a common theme for the rest of the year.
Four games into the year, the Lizards added 2012 No. 1 overall draft pick Rob Pannell to their roster. Pannell would have joined the team after the 2012 NCAA season, but a broken foot kept him at Cornell for a fifth year in 2013 before joining the Lizards midseason.
Pannell made an immediate impact for the Lizards, scoring under five minutes into his MLL debut, however his eventual hat trick could not prevent New York from falling to Charlotte 14-12. Pannell finished the season with a team-leading 42 points and led the League in points-per-game with 4.2, earning Cascade Rookie of the Year honors.
The rest of the season was relatively uneventful for the Lizards, highlighted by a Week 7 win against Hamilton. The team suffered a six-game losing streak before winning their final game of the season at home against Ohio. Despite dropping six straight contests, the Lizards kept the score tight in all but one of those games.
Max Seibald, the team’s leading scorer in 2012 with 39 points, finished with just 9 in 2013 after missing a considerable amount of time with a broken left foot. Other than Pannell, the only other Lizard to crack the 20-point barrier was Tommy Palasek. In contrast, six Lizards scored 20 or more points in 2012.
Despite all the negatives for the Lizards in the 2013 season, there are still plenty of positives to take out of it. In net, Drew Adams played in all 14 games, making the most saves of any goalie in the league (209) and posting a very respectable .549 save percentage.
The Lizards were also fortunate enough to have the best faceoff man in the League taking almost every faceoff, ensuring that they were secure from the “x.” Greg Gurenlian, was absolutely dominant when he was out on the field, battling for the ball and securing 232 faceoff wins for his team. He now holds the title of highest single season win percentage at .640.
The Lizards will also likely be healthier next year, getting full years out of players like Seibald and Pannell, who played in just six and 10 games, respectively. They will also likely get a full season out of Mark Matthews, who for his two-year career is nearly a three point-per-game player.
Look for Pannell and Co. to make a strong push to get back to the playoffs next season. Only once in their history have the Lizards failed to make the playoffs after missing them the year before. After they add some high-end talent at the draft in January with a top pick and get healthier in the offseason, the Lizards have nowhere to go but up for the 2014 campaign.