By Paul Ryan | 4/26/14 12:30 PM
Rochester Rattlers at New York Lizards
Sunday, April 27 – 6:00 p.m. (EST) – James M. Shuart Stadium
WATCH: CBS Sports Network
The New York Lizards host the Rochester Rattlers on National Television in the final game of 2014 Faceoff Weekend on Sunday, April 27 at 6:00 p.m.
Last time out:
New York: The Lizards won just four games in 2013, but they won their final contest of the season against the Ohio Machine, 14-11. Three rookies led the charge for New York, as Jo-Jo Marasco, Stephen Mock and Rob Pannell all recorded hat tricks. Drew Adams had one of his best performances of the season, turning away 16 of 27 shots.
Rochester: The Rattlers joined both the Lizards and the Bayhawks as the only teams in the league to win their final game of the season. However, Rochester did so in impressive fashion, blowing out the Cannons in Boston, 23-14. Like New York, Rochester got their offense from the rookies, as John Ranagan and Dave Lawson each recorded hat tricks. 11 Rattlers scored in all, as John Galloway had to make just eight saves in the victory.
Who Plays Where: Similar to Chesapeake, the Lizards have a plethora of players that can play in any position, so it’ll be interesting to see where players line up. Either Rob Pannell or Ned Crotty will be playing the second match-up for the first time in their life, probably, so watch out for one of them to have a huge game.
Sophomore Star-Power: All of the former rookies mentioned above will play a large factor in their team’s offense this season. There’s no question guys like Lawson and Ranagan have to step up with Crotty and Striebel on the other sideline, but the sophomores for New York will be electric as well.
Defense Wins Championships: Rochester lost their two best offensive guns in the offseason, but they’ve built up a strong defense headed by All-Star goaltender John Galloway. Rochester allowed 171 goals last year, fourth best in the league. If they want to win games this year, it will be the defense leading the way.
Players to Watch:
New York: Everyone keeps mentioning the offense the Lizards added in the offseason, but Kyle Hartzell will be someone to definitely look for in the opening game. Hartzell had another strong year in 2013, scoring six goals and three assists for the Ohio Machine.
Rochester: Another long pole that was traded in the offseason, MJ Kiekebelt had a great preseason according to Rattlers head coach Tim Soudan. Kiekebelt will add plenty of stability to that Rattlers back end and is certainly a centerpiece in their “defense wins championships” mentality.
New York: Rob Pannell played in just 10 games last year, but led the team in goals (25), assists (17) and points (42). His 4.2 points per game led the league last year and his 42 points are the second-most by a rookie in league history. Drew Adams played in all 14 games, finishing with a 12.34 goals against and a .549 save percentage.
Rochester: Ned Crotty led the Rattlers with 20 assists and 36 points while Striebel finished second with 29 points, but they’re on the opposing team now. Dave Lawson is the leading returnee for the Rattlers, scoring 18 goals to go along with his five assists. John Galloway posted a 6-7 record, with an 11.97 goals against average and a .525 save percentage.
2013 Season Series:
The Rattlers won both contests last year, scoring 13 goals both times. First Rochester won 13-10 at home thanks to a hat trick from Kevin Leveille, then beat New York on the road on a five-goal performance by Dave Lawson. Crotty and Striebel combined for just five points against their new team.
New York: Won their opening game and final game of 2013, at home, by the score of 14-11.
Rochester: The Rattlers have won the last four contests between the two teams.
Make sure to tune in to CBS Sports Network at 6:00 p.m. (EST) as the New York Lizards face off against the Rochester Rattlers at James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.