Most people are stuck in the deepest throes of college lacrosse right now, but for the absolute fanatic, and the lover of all things pro, I’m here to preview this weekend’s MLL games! Last weekend was the opener for six of the eight teams, and Boston, Denver and Chesepeake all won.
This week we see three more games and the action should be intense. Early season MLL games can be pretty unpredictable, and they are almost always exciting… Rochester and Long Island are off this weekend, so let’s get right to it with what looks like the top team in the MLL: the Boston Cannons.
The Cannons will play the Charlotte Hounds in Boston, and this one has potential rout written all over it. Boston is back in most places from last year’s championship run, and they beat Rochester by 12 goals last week, and only gave up THREE goals over the course of the whole game. Thankfully, Charlotte might actually be more dangerous on offense than Rochester, so we should see better scoring from the Hounds.
Billy Bitter and Stephen Berger have experience and a scoring knack, so I definitely like Charlotte to put up at least 6 goals in this game. But I’m not so sure they get past 10. Boston, on the other hand, should be able to put up numbers against Charlotte’s D, and this will be the simple difference maker in the game. Boston will score at least 15 goals this time around, and Charlotte won’t surpass 12. Boston cruises again.
The other new team in 2012, the Ohio Machine, heads to Chespeake to take on the Bayhawks, and I definitely like the veterans in this game. The Bayhawks have talent all over the place in their midfield ranks, and will be a team in the hunt at the end of the year. Steven Brooks, Kyle Dixon, Ben Hunt and Mike Kimmel can create problems for any team. There is familiarity there, and an intangible desire to win it all this year that not every other team possesses.
This will be the Ohio franchise’s first game ever, so you can guarantee that they will come out hard and want to the W. I also like Ohio’s defensive midfield, and if they have any hopes of beating Chesepeake, this group will have to shine in a major way. Matt Casey, Kyle Hartzell and Jimmy Borrell (and maybe even Matt Witko) could be the keys to an Ohio win as all are capable of picking the ball up and scoring or creating transition.
I like Chesepeake to take this one 14-11, but think Ohio could keep it close.
In our final game for the weekend we see the Hamilton Nationals head to Denver to face the Outlaws. Hamilton is probably my biggest question mark heading into the 2012 season. They put together a great run last year with Casey Powell leading the way, but with CP22 this year, I’m very curious to see what approach they’ll take. If they focus on match ups and winning small battles, the Nationals can play with anyone. But I doubt they have THE offensive guy on whom they can put the majority of the weight.
Denver is a team rebuilt, but still seems to be filled with guys who just love lacrosse. I don’t see the Outlaws taking a step back, and I like them to win at home to go 2-0 by a score of 16-12. The closest thing Denver has to a star player who can take over a game is probably Brendan Mundorf or Peet Poillon, but they do have depth all over the place, and lots of two-way capable middies. If they can push and create all season, they can win a lot of games.
Disagree with a pick I’ve made? Made your voice heard in the comments section below!