August 13, 2012

MLL Playoff Teams Set, Rabil Sets Single Season Scoring Record

by Phil Shore | LaxMagazine.com

Brendan Mundorf (right) scored three goals with two assists, including a shorthanded goal assisted by goalie Jesse Schwartzman that proved to be the game-winner in Denver's 15-13 win over Chesapeake to end the regular season.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

The Major League Lacrosse playoffs are set.

The Denver Outlaws (11-3) rallied in the second half of their game against the Chesapeake Bayhawks in order to win 15-13 and secure the top spot in the MLL playoffs. The Bayhawks will settle for the second seed.

With the win the Outlaws set a franchise record for victories in a season.

"I always thought Denver did things the right way and it's fun to be a part of that organization," faceoff specialist Anthony Kelly said after his first game with the team in July. Kelly, who has shored up an inconsistent face-off unit for the Outlaws, went 15-22 at the X against the Bayhawks on Saturday.

The Bayhawks (10-4), playing at home, jumped out on top early. They went up 3-0 within the first two minutes and ended the first quarter up 7-2. Kyle Dixon scored two of his game-high four goals in the first quarter, including one two-pointer.

With the Bayhawks playing without standout defenders Brian Spallina and Michael Evans, however, the Outlaws came roaring back in the second quarter. Rookie Chris Bocklet scored two goals for the Outlaws, who held the Bayhawks scoreless in the second quarter and tied the game up heading into halftime.

"That's a very talented offensive team and you have to cover them for 60 minutes," Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle said. "I'm disappointed that we didn't keep playing at the level we did during the first quarter for the rest of the game."

The teams exchanged five more goals apiece in the third quarter to set up an epic fourth quarter.

The Outlaws outscored the Bayhawks 3-1 in the final quarter to take the game. Brendan Mundorf's shorthanded goal off an assist from goalie Jesse Schwartzman 3:48 into the quarter proved to be the game-winner.

Mundorf earned Player of the Game honors thanks to his three goals and two assists. Schwartzman made 18 saves on the night, including seven in the fourth quarter, to go along with his only point this season.

Boston returns to playoffs, Rabil sets record

Three weeks ago the Cannons had lost two consecutive games and five of their previous seven, risking their shot at going to the playoffs and defending their 2012 title.

The Cannons (9-5) are rolling at the right time now however. With their 18-16 victory over the Ohio Machine the Cannons end the regular season on a three-game winning streak and clinched the No. 3 spot in the playoffs. They will play the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the semifinals for the third consecutive season.

The Machine, meanwhile, finish their inaugural season with the worst record in the league (2-12).

Ohio went into the fourth quarter with a 13-11 lead but Boston players were determined to fix that.

The Cannons outscored the Machine 7-3 in the final quarter. Paul Rabil's 2-pointer 3:18 into the fourth quarter—his second goal of the game, to go along with his one assist—tied it at 14. That goal gave Rabil a total of 71 points in 14 games this season, tying the record set by John Grant Jr. for points in a season (in 12 games).

Rabil was later awarded an assist he not originally credited with during the game, giving him 72 points to set a new single-season MLL record.

Kevin Buchanan took over in the fourth quarter, scoring all three of his goals in the final 10 minutes of the game, including the game-winner with 3:48 remaining.

Ryan Boyle had two goals and four assists, Matt Poskay had three goals (for a league leading total of 38) and an assist and Mike Stone added three goals.

Rookie Joe Cummings led the Machine with three goals and an assist.

2012 MLL Championship Weekend

at Harvard Stadium, Boston

Semifinals, Aug. 25

No. 1 Denver vs. No. 4 Long Island, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)

No. 2 Chesapeake vs. No. 3 Boston, Approx. 4 p.m.
(CBS Sports Network)

Championship, Aug. 26

3 p.m. (ESPN2)

Lizards back into playoffs despite loss to Nationals

Long Island (8-6) ended their surprising regular season with an 18-8 loss to the Hamilton Nationals (4-10) Saturday night, but still made the playoffs thanks to Charlotte's victory over Rochester, who held the tie-breaker over the Lizards.

The 10-goal deficit was the Lizards largest loss this season and the team stumbles into the playoffs with a two game losing streak.

"The coaching staff, the organization and our players know what we're capable of," Lizards GM Casey Hilpert said earlier in the week. "We have the abilities to compete with any team in this league. We've showed that by beating Boston twice and by beating Denver."

The Lizards got on the board first thanks to a Tommy Palasek goal 80 seconds into the game, but that would be the only goal they would score for the next 21 minutes.

The Nationals responded with seven points between Long Island scores. Hamilton would stretch their lead to 7-1 with 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Stephen Peyser's only two goals of the night—including one two-pointer—would help close the gap, putting the Lizards down 10-5 at the half.

Hamilton would continue to dominate the game, outscoring Long Island 8-3 in the second half and holding the Lizards to a single goal in the fourth quarter.

Brett Queener played the entire game between the pipes and made 13 saves on the night. Rhys Duch was named Player of the Game thanks to his five goals and two assists. Joe Walters added a goal and four assists.

Player of the Week

Matt Danowski, A, Charlotte

Danowski tied a game-high five points in the Hounds' 15-14 win over the Rattlers, eliminating Rochester from the playoffs. He scored three goals, including two 2-pointers. His first 2-pointer tied the game at three and his second 2-pointer gave the Hounds an 8-7 lead that they would never lose. Charlotte went 4-0 when Danowski scored multiple goals in a game this season.

Surprise of the Week

Rhys Duch, M, Hamilton

In his first MLL season, the Canadian NLL All-Star has played in seven games. Before the Nationals 17-6 thumping of the Long Island Lizards this weekend, Duch had scored in only two games, and only one goal each, and never had more than two points in a game. But against the Lizards he tallied a game-high five goals, the most by any player in MLL this week, and two assists for seven points. Even more of a surprise is that he still isn't even listed on the Nationals roster on the team's website.

What to Watch For

With the regular season completed MLL Championship Weekend is upon us. In semifinal action the Denver Outlaws will face the Long Island Lizards and the Chesapeake Bayhawks will square off against defending champion Boston Cannons.

The victors will then play in the championship game the following day.

Will Denver, who has made the playoffs in all seven seasons of their existence, finally win its first championship?

Will the Bayhawks, with a revamped veteran roster, return to its 2010 championship glory?

Will the Cannons, who from June 1 to July 19 lost five of seven games and put their playoff hopes in jeopardy, successfully defend its title and become only the second team in league history to win consecutive championships?

Will the Lizards, with all their rookies, overcome their scary two-game losing streak and shock the league by exceeding all preseason expectations and win it all, joining the Bayhawks and defunct Philadelphia Barrage for the most MLL Championships (3)?

The 2012 season and all these storylines come to an exciting conclusion Aug. 25-26 at Harvard.


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