“Week three” of the 2018 Major League Lacrosse season is in the books! Here’s a complete breakdown of each MLL Week Three game for those of you who weren’t able to watch in person.
Coca Cola Players of the Game
MLL Week Three Game Recaps
Charlotte 14, Chesapeake 13
CHARLOTTE, NC – Defenseman Michael Ehrhardt rose to the occasion yet again this week in the closing minutes, scoring the game-winning two-point goal to defeat the Chesapeake Bayhawks, 14-13.
With less than two minutes remaining and game tied, 12-12, midfielder Adam Osika carried the ball across midfield and found Ehrhardt at the top of the arc. The veteran winded up and fired past Amato. It marked the only two-pointer of the night for either team.
The Bayhawks answered with a one-point goal of their own, before goalie Charlie Cipriano denied Chesapeake’s Myles Jones to secure the win.
Charlotte started slow and fell behind 4-2 in the first quarter, the largest deficit the team has faced this season. However, with the help of two first half goals from Osika and attacker Dylan Maltz, the Hounds leveled the score before halftime. With the help of faceoff specialist Kevin Massa, who won eight-of-13 draws in the second half, giving Charlotte just enough edge past the Bayhawks.
Players Who Impressed:
- Michael Ehrhardt (Charlotte): After earning Warrior Defensive Player of the Week for forcing a crucial last-minute turnover against the Rattlers in Week 2, Ehrhardt scored the game-winning two-point goal to secure the Hounds’ third straight victory.
- Myles Jones (Chesapeake): Tallied a game-high five assists and six points.
- Matt Rambo (Charlotte): Logged a team-high three goals and two assists for five points. The attacker also cashed in twice on the Hounds’ six power plays.
Denver 16, New York 12
DENVER, CO – The Denver Outlaws secured their first win of the season against the New York Lizards, 16-12, on Friday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Four straight Lizards goals to start the fourth quarter – the fourth from Andrew Hodgson at 6:53 – cut Denver’s lead to 12-11, but the Outlaws answered with goals from Cam Milligan and Eric Law to pad the lead.
Matt Kavanagh netted a team-high five goals and Eric Law had four of his own.
The win was Denver’s first of the season after starting 0-2 for the first time in franchise history.
Players Who Impressed:
- Matt Kavanagh was the Coca-Cola MVP (5 goals, 1 assist). He has at least five points in six straight regular season games dating back to last year.
- Eric Law had six points (4 goals, 2 assists).
- Rob Pannell finished with three goals and two assists.
- Paul Rabil had two goals, giving him 532 points in his career. He is now nine points shy of John Grant Jr. for the most points in league history.
Charlotte 14, Ohio 10
OBETZ, OH – The Charlotte Hounds improved to 4-0 for the first time in franchise history, defeating the reigning MLL champions Ohio Machine, 14-10, on the road.
Tied 9-9 entering the the fourth quarter, the Machine’s Connor Cannizzaro scored within seconds of the opening faceoff giving Ohio its first and only lead of the game. However, the advantage didn’t last. Joe McCallion answered for the Hounds almost immediately and sparked Charlotte’s fourth quarter offense. Ryan Brown followed suit less than 60 seconds later and put the Hounds back in front 11-10. Charlotte would go on to score three additional insurance goals and didn’t look back.
On the offensive end, faceoff specialist Kevin Massa returned to the form he showcased in Hounds’ season opener against the Boston Cannons. In the win over the Machine, Massa won 15-of-21 face offs giving Charlotte a significant edge in time of possession. Matt Rambo took advantage of his teammate’s success at the X and capitalized scoring a team-high three goals.
Former Maryland Terrapins, Rambo and Dylan Maltz continued to showcase the chemistry they molded while in college. The two linked up on multiple occasions and through three games, the duo shares the team lead for goals scored (9).
The victory marked goalie Pierce Bassett’s first win of the season, after filling in for starter Charlie Cipriano, who was given the night off after lifting the Hounds over the Bayhawks on Thursday.
Charlotte’s road swing continues on May 19 against the Denver Outlaws. The Hounds then return home on May 26 to welcome the Machine to the Queen City for the second leg of the two game series.
Players Who Impressed:
- Matt Rambo had his second consecutive three-goal night. He matched his career high in goals (9) and set a new career high with 18 points on the season.
- Mike Chanenchuk, Ryan Brown, John Haus, Dylan Maltz, and Joe McCallion all had two goals for Charlotte.
- Pierce Bassett collected his first win of the 2018 season, stopping 10 shots.
- Tom Schreiber tallied four points (3 goals, assist) for Ohio.
- Marcus Holman was held to just one assist in his first game since breaking the MLL record for goals in a single game.
Dallas 13, Boston 12
DALLAS, TX – The Dallas Rattlers defeated the Boston Cannons 13-12 Saturday night to improve to 3-1 on the season.
The Rattlers jumped out to an early 6-2 lead after one quarter of play with five different players scoring. The visitors remained on top throughout the first half with three more goals to make it 9-4 at halftime. The Rattlers were led in first half scoring by attackmen Jordan Wolf and Ty Thompson with two goals each.
The second half saw the Cannons fight back with four goals, the home team’s highest quarterly output of the game. With an 11-8 lead, the Rattlers started the final period of play with a nine-minute scoring drought. During the cold spell, the Cannons were able to pull in close but Thompson and midfielder Brian Kormondy found the back of the net to hold off the Cannons.
The win marks the third game of the season for the Rattlers that was decided by one goal. Head coach Bill Warder attributes the win to a strong sense of belief in one another. “We have a ton of confidence in every single guy and they have confidence in each other,” said Warder.
Players Who Impressed:
- Jordan Wolf was named the Coca-Cola MVP with three goals and three assists. He now has scored at least three goals in six straight regular season games dating back to last year.
- Ty Thompson (3 goals) scored his second game-winning goal of the season.
- James Pannell scored a career-high six goals for the Cannons.
- Tyler Fiorito made his 2018 debut and had 14 saves on 27 shots.
Florida 16, Denver 7
Bouncing back from defeat, the Florida Launch (2-1) wrangled the Denver Outlaws (1-3) in a dominating 16-7 win at FAU Stadium.
In a first quarter dominated by a stalwart defense, the Launch established an early lead against the Outlaws. Veteran midfielder Mike Unterstein kicked off the game with a shot early in the first, followed shortly after by Syracuse product Sergio Salcido. In his return to Major League Lacrosse, Kieran McArdle quickly fell back into rhythm, extending the Launch’s lead to 3-1 late in the first.
“He’ll tell you, he was a little rusty tonight. But, it’s what he did for the other guys,” said Coach Tom Mariano, “Dylan Molloy hasn’t had open lanes once yet this year the way he had tonight, and I think it’s because [McArdle] is back.”
Despite a goal from Dylan Molloy to start the second quarter, the Outlaws quickly gained momentum, scoring two back-to-back goals. With the threat of a scoring run imminent, the Launch responded with their own set of goals to close out the half. Alongside Molloy, newcomer Mike Tagliaferri contributed to the two-goal run with his first career MLL goal.
“Mike Tagliaferri came up big tonight, got some great goals and used his speed. He’s a tremendous athlete,” said Mariano.
Facing a four-goal deficit, the Outlaws opened up the second half with three unanswered goals, quickly making the game 7-6 early in the third. The Launch, however, ignited what would be a full-fledged offensive effort, ultimately closing out the game with eight unanswered goals and hat tricks from McArdle, Molloy, and Tagliaferri.
“I think we were just moving on all cylinders tonight,” said McArdle.
Defensively, Alec Tulett led the powerhouse squad with four ground balls and four caused turnovers. In the cage, Austin Kaut finished with 21 stops on 28 shots faced (.750).
“Our defense did an awesome job tonight getting stops for us and holding them to use the entire shot clock. That gave us the transition opportunities,” said attackman Ryan Drenner, who led the team in points with five.
Looking to go 3-1, the Launch return to action at FAU Stadium on May 10 to take on the Boston Cannons. This will be the team’s Pink Out Game as the Launch and Major League Lacrosse promote the Real Men Wear Pink Campaign through the month of May.
Atlanta 16, New York 14
For one fourth-grade teacher at Springdale Elementary School in Stamford, Conn., Teacher Appreciation Week started off with a very positive step. Goalie Chris Madalon, who waited, watched but never wavered whilst backing up Drew Adams for three seasons in a New York Lizards’ uniform, schooled his old team by turning aside 19 shots while leading the Atlanta Blaze to a 16-14 victory last evening in Hempstead, N.Y. Midfielder Deemer Class scored six goals, including three two-point goals, to lead the Atlanta (2-1) offense. The Blaze captured its second straight win and first road win of the season.
With his father and friends looking on, Madalon, who graduated from UNC and earned a masters of education degree from Sacred Heart University in 2014, also won his second straight game for Atlanta. He made several exceptional saves during New York’s dominant second quarter in which the Lizards (1-3) scored six unanswered goals. Madalon kept his team within striking distance.
“Chris made a bunch of saves inside for us and got some loose balls. He kept us in the game and that is what a team must do,” said head coach Liam Banks. “When one part of your game isn’t effective, another part picks you up. Once you get picked up and everybody begins playing well, that’s when you can have some success. I was really proud of the way we stuck together, like a family, and ultimately we got the win.”
Banks explained his decision to start Madalon, instead of veteran Adam Ghitelman.
“Chris played excellently last week and we thought we had a competitive edge by starting him again today,” Banks said. “He played for the Lizards, he knows the shooters, he was playing with a chip on his shoulder and we were right because the result was a win today.
For the second week in a row, Madalon was grateful for the opportunity to start but this game was particularly special. “In my having been a New York Lizard for the past three years, to get the opportunity to start on the opposite side of Drew Adams, the guy who I have backed up. and to face all of the guys that I faced in practice, it was exciting,” Madalon stated.
In the second quarter, it may have been a bit too exciting with Atlanta’s defense trying to survive the Lizards’ onslaught.
“It’s always tough when you are playing that much defense. It always puts a little extra pressure on the defense when the offense isn’t performing as well as it should be,” Madalon said. “You have to score goals, particularly when you’re up against a potent New York Lizards’ offense.
Banks had reminded his team at halftime that they were professionals and playing too timidly for his liking.
“At halftime, we just came in and talked about what I expected out of them and what we got out of them in the first half wasn’t acceptable, particularly from our offense,” Banks offered.
With Atlanta trailing 8-3, Class sparked the Blaze’s second-half comeback. Class tied a Major League Lacrosse (MLL) record with three two-point goals for the game and ignited his team’s slumbering attack with four goals in the third quarter and two more in the fourth. His two-pointer with 9:23 left in the game gave the Blaze a lead they would never relinquish.
“in honor of the Kentucky Derby, Deemer Class was a thoroughbred this weekend. He was amazing today in the second half and we are excited about his performance,” Banks said.
Fellow middie Matt Mackrides, who opened the Atlanta scoring 4:21 into the first quarter, added his second goal of the game in the fourth quarter. Mackrides also assisted on three of Class’ goals and Matt Gibson’s eventual game-winning tally with 7:30 left in the game. Gibson, playing his first game against New York after spending six seasons with Lizards, scored four goals on five shots. Kevin Rice added three assists while Mike Begley had two. Dan Eipp, playing in his second game for the Blaze, scored his first career MLL goal in the first quarter.
“To win any game in this league, it always has to be a full-team effort and that’s what happened in the second half,” Madalon said. “From defense to offense to face-offs to wings, that’s what it takes to win. The offense helped spark us in the second half, Deemer especially.”
Atlanta made life difficult for itself in the waning moments of the game. After wresting the lead from the Lizards, the Blaze was whistled for four penalties, including two simultaneous slashing calls on Scott Ratliff and Justin Pennington with 4:50 left in the game, and one to Eddy Glazener with 3:11 left just after New York’s Will Manny cut the Blaze lead to 15-13.
“I love it when the defense plays tough in front of me and imposes their will on the opposing offenses. Sometimes you’re going to get calls against you and we caught a couple of bad breaks,” Madalon said. “That’s part of the game. Ultimately, in those final minutes of the game, we do need to make sure we are playing smart and not jeopardize our lead by putting ourselves a man down for a couple of minutes.”
Playing a man down, Madalon came up big against Lizards’ star Rob Pannell, who already had four goals for the game, to preserve the lead.
“He had been doing the backhand to me all night and I made the adjustments to be in a better position to make that save,” Madalon said. “Fortunately, I think it caught my shorts and trickled to the edge of the goal line and I quickly stopped it. Obviously, it was a big moment to make that save. That was exciting stuff.”
Madalon, who instructs young goalies to play the position at Next Save Lacrosse near his hometown of Darien, said that taking some of his own advice that he communicates to his pupils has yielded dividends.
“Coaching hundreds of goalies at this point has definitely helped me grow as a goalie. We cover the full spectrum for goalies, learning the good and bad habits. I really have started practicing what I preach to these kids. Ultimately the message I communicate to these kids is to continue to work hard. Especially in this league, guys who put the work in like Deemer, eventually it pays off,” Madalon said.
Like any good instructor, Madalon looks for teaching moments. “The ability to win close games, that’s one of the biggest takeaways from this game,” Madalon said.
Players Who Impressed:
- Deemer Class was named the Coca-Cola MVP with nine points (6 goals, 3 2-point goals). He matched the league record for two-point goals in a game and became the first player to score three two-pointers since Chesapeake’s Kyle Dixon on 4/27/13.
- Matt Mackrides had a season-high six points (2 goals, 4 assists).
- In his first game against his former team, Matt Gibson had four goals.
- Rob Pannell had four goals and four assists for the Lizards.
- Paul Rabil had a season-high four points (2 goals, 2 assists).