MLL Week 9 Preview
Boston Cannons at Denver Outlaws: Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. ET in Denver, CO
Denver is still the top dog in the MLL, as they are the No. 1 team heading into the weekend ahead of the second-place Cannons by one game. As we are roughly halfway through the season and only one matchup remains between the two teams — Denver currently has the edge as they won the first meeting this season — any advantage could be critical if there should be a tie for a playoff spot at the end of the season.
Unfortunately for Boston, they have been having some struggles this season at the face-off and in the goal — both critical positions to have solid play at. Cannons goalie Nick Marrocco has posted a 43 percent save percentage thus far on the year, while Boston face-off men Nate Farrell and Kevin Reisman had only been winning draws at a 45.45 percent and 50.33 percent clip, respectively.
Denver, on the other hand, has the league-leading face-off man in Max Adler, who currently is taking care of business to the tune of a 57.2 percent winning percentage. Goaltender Dillon Ward has had a respectable season as well, saving 51.42 percent of his shots, despite allowing 16 goals in the Outlaws last meeting with the Cannons.
Dallas Rattlers @ Atlanta Blaze: Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. ET in Atlanta, GA
There could be all kinds of records broken in Atlanta this Saturday night as the Rattlers head to Georgia to take on the Blaze at Silverbacks Stadium.
The are four main stats to watch for:
- Three assists for Randy Staats would break the Atlanta Blaze’s all-time assists record in a single season (26). Staats had a six-assist performance last week in the Blaze’s win over the Boston Cannons.
- If Atlanta rookie Alex Woodall picks up a ground ball on Saturday, it will set a single-season record for most ground balls by a Blaze player in history. The former-Towson star has taken more draws this season than any other player with 283, as is winning 50.53 percent of his faceoffs.
- Should Woodall win 14 face-offs this game, that would break the Blaze’s single season record for faceoff wins at 156.
- 12 assists by the Blaze will mean that Atlanta will have broken their single-season record for assists in a season.
The Rattlers are coming off of their first-win of the season over the defending champions Denver in what was a rematch of last year’s MLL Championship game, while the Blaze beat Boston during Week 8.
Look for Sean Sconone to build on his 22-save performance against Denver in Week 8 and potentially have another big game in Atlanta.
New York Lizards – Chesapeake Bayhawks (Doubleheader): Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. ET in Annapolis, MD & Sunday @ 5:00 p.m. ET in Hemstead, NY
It’s simple. New York can add a major boost to their playoff chances by winning both games against Chesapeake this weekend.
The Lizards currently are three games back from first place. But, more importantly, they are 1.5 games back from the Blaze in the fourth spot, the Bayhawks in the third spot and a playoff berth. It would be great for New York to make up the difference early and build as the team approaches the postseason.
They’ll have the chance to do that this weekend to make up some ground against both teams. The Blaze take on the Rattlers this weekend, and while that may seem like an easy victory for Atlanta, anything could happen.
New York won the last meeting in 14-10 in front of the Bayhawks home crowd, as Chesapeake will seek revenge over the next two days.
Keep an eye on Chesapeake’s offense this weekend. Lyle Thompson started the season scoring 33 points over the course of the first five games this season, but has dipped slightly only scoring seven points in the last two games. Those are obviously still great scoring numbers for anyone, but when you consider that Thompson is capable of putting up seven points in a game as he did earlier in the season, then you have to be wary about Thompson going-off at any time.
Can the Lizards offense keep pace? The unit averaged only 11.5 goals per game during those first four losses of the season, but has since improved that production to 13.25 goals per game over the last four games.
Regardless of who wins, these should be exciting games to watch.