MATCH PREVIEW: Chesapeake Bayhawks at Rochester Rattlers
Saturday, April 27, 2013 (Week 1, MLL Game #2)
Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, FL
7:30 p.m. EST
TV: MSG +, TWC Sports Channel KC Metro Sports and New York, CSNMA, Cox Sports Television, ESPN3
The reigning MLL Champion Chesapeake Bayhawks will visit the Rochester Rattlers at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla., in both teams’ season openers on Saturday, April 27. Chesapeake is universally regarded as the league’s best team but Rochester has very little, if anything at all, to lose going up against the Bayhawks so early in the season.
Chesapeake Match Notes
How they fared last season
1) May 12, 2012: Rochester – 12, Chesapeake – 8 (Ned Crotty and Matt Striebel of Rochester combined for six points on three goals and two goals plus one assist, respectively)
2) July 14, 2012: Chesapeake – 13, Rochester – 7 (Both Drew Westervelt and Matt Abbott had two goals apiece for Chesapeake)
Chesapeake won the Steinfeld Trophy in the Championship game against the number one ranked Denver Outlaws, finishing the 2012 season with a 10-4 record. There is a continuity factor for Chesapeake, as the majority of their roster will be returning this season. This, along with some key draft choices could potentially be the answer to a Bayhawks repeat.
· The defending champions playing in St. Petersburg, FL, which is a potential expansion market for MLL, increased visibility and will help spread the brand of Chesapeake as well.
· Michael Simon, who is returning to Chesapeake this year, was described by Coach Dave Cottle as a work in progress: “I’ve got to do a better job of coaching him to help him understand what this roles and responsibilities are off the ball. But what you can’t coach is a 6’5”, 6’6” guy who can just about cover most people in the league.”
· Potential addition of Jesse Bernhardt, whom Cottle said was “one of the greatest locker room guys” he’d ever met, could be clutch down the line.
After finishing at .500 last season with a 7-7 record, Rochester just missed the playoffs. A charter member of the MLL, Rochester has been looking to reclaim the glory they achieved during 2008, their only championship season. Though they have been unsuccessful so far, having a victory over Chesapeake last year could potentially give Rochester the boost necessary to upset the defending champions and set the pace for the 2013 season.
· “I think undoubtedly that they are the team to beat, and it’s a blessing and a curse to play them right out of the gate,” Coach Tim Soudan said, noting that seven members of Rochester are currently inactive. “It’s kind of a curse because we have to play those guys early, but it does not necessarily end up being a bad loss if you lose to them, and it’s a great win if you win.”
· The return to competitive play by Mark Millon will give their overall-youthful roster a boost due to his insight and league experience.
· As far as playing in Florida, coach Soudan is all for it: “The warmer the weather, the better it’s going to be on some guy’s legs, especially earlier in the season.”