Week 4 of the 2012 Major League Lacrosse season is in the books, and we have four games to discuss and predictions to verify. I was nine for ten with my MLL predictions entering last weekend, so let’s see if I was able to keep that excellent run of predictions going.
I picked Denver in a huge upset, Chesepeake, Rochester and Long Island to win… now it’s time to verify and explain.
The Chesepeake Bayhawks played the Hamilton Nationals on Friday, and the game started at 11am. I still have no idea why the game was played so early, and maybe Hamilton will reconsider next time, as it did not work out well for them. The Nationals are still struggling to put goals away on offense, and are giving up a ton of goals to the opposition. The Nats already seem in need of a complete overhaul, which is crazy considering they made it to the MLL Finals last year.
Chesepeake did a nice job of initiating from all over the field, and in multiple situations, and still got great scoring and shooting from their midfield. To beat the Bayhawks, teams MUST limit their middies, but as you can see in the highlights above, you can’t commit TOO Fully to the middies either, because the Bayhawks attack can score on you too. Yes, the Bayhawks have lost a game already, but I still think they might be the #2 MLL team right now.
The Boston Cannons made the long trip out to Denver and I was sure that this had the makings of an upset win for Denver. I went out on a limb on this pick and was way off as the Cannons won 17-10. At this point, it doesn’t look like I will pick against the Cannons again… maybe even for the rest of the season. They have talent, depth and play team lacrosse. They are the best the MLL has to offer right now by far.
The Long Island Lizards played the expansion franchise Charlotte Hounds in North Carolina and emerged with a tight one goal win, 10-9. I liked LI in this game, but thought it might be a slightly larger margin of victory. Charlotte did well to limit the Lizards on offense, and because of this, they almost pulled off a huge win. I’m just happy to see Charlotte competing so quickly, but I know the Hounds want nothing less than wins. If they keep playing the way they have, and keep improving, they will start to come with more regularity.
Long Island has a good offense, and lots of guys that can play, but I think they are still looking for a consistent leader, or small group of leaders to emerge, especially on the offensive end of the ball. I like the Seibald and Langtry pick ups, and I can see those guys working really well with Ryan Young. LI got faster on defense by trading an aging Nicky Polanco, and they will do well to get guys like Brian Karalunas as much run as possible.
In the final MLL game of the weekend, I picked the Rochester Rattlers to beat the Ohio Machine. Rochester had just knocked off Chesepeake and I thought they were looking hot… and then they lost to an expansion franchise. Don’t get me wrong, Ohio is good, and filled with talent, but I didn’t see them taking down Rochester 16-10.
I was shocked to see Ohio put up that many goals on Rochester AND I was surprised to see Roch only notch 10 markers. I guess when Ohio has Chazz Woodson on their squad, I shouldn’t be shocked. The cat can simply score at will right now. He’s simply TOO athletic and determined. It’s a lot of fun to watch!
Ohio has some real players on their squad, and if this team wants to win a lot more games, I can see them doing so with good transition work via two former DIII guys in Kyle Hartzell and Matt Casey. An extra goal here and there from these two experienced defensive players, more excellence from Chazz, Connor Martin and Buggs Combs, and Ohio could make some waves in their first year.
Outside of Boston, the MLL looks awfully competitive. Hamilton looks pretty bad right now, but there is still a lot of time for them to turn it around, and with Casey Powell leading the way, anything is still possible. Chesepeake and Denver look tough, Long Island is reworked and gelling, Rochester is unpredictable and the two new expansion franchises have each earned a win already.
The college season is winding down this weekend… so when you come back up for air, just know that the MLL is here, it’s waiting for you, and it’s pretty darn awesome. Support pro field lacrosse in your area… it’s worth it!
So I got two games wrong last weekend, which triples my total games wrong for year. I now sit at 11-3 for my predictions, and it will take a lot for me to pick against Boston again!