July 27, 2009

MLL: Thomson, Gabel, Schneider Earn Awards

from press release

BOSTON-- Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, announced Monday its weekly award winners for the week ending July 25, 2009, according to MLL Commissioner David Gross. Toronto Nationals attackman Merrick Thomson has been named Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. Chicago Machine goalie Mike Gabel earned his first Defensive Player of the Week recognition of the season following an impressive victory at home over the Bayhawks. Toronto Nationals goalie Doc Schneider took home his second Rookie of the Week award.

Toronto's victory over the Boston Cannons last Thursday secured the team a trip to Annapolis for the 2009 New Balance Championship Weekend, thanks in large part to the game's Bud Light MVP, Merrick Thomson. Leading his team once again, Thomson recorded a team-high 5 goals and 3 assists, accounting for 8 of Toronto's 31 points on the evening.  

This week's recognition is the third such honor for Thomson in his career. He was recognized in Week 1 of this season after a seven-goal game against Washington, and before that, he received the award back in Week 8 of the 2008 season. Thomson, who played for the New Jersey Pride last season, was named the Warrior Most Improved Player of the Year at the conclusion of last season.

On Saturday, Chicago was also playing to keep their playoff hopes alive, and because of goalie Mike Gabel's incredible performance, they remain in contention after a big win over Washington. Gabel made 23 saves off of 34 shots. His performance was highlighted by a number of saves from shots on the crease, at point-blank range. In fact, two of these saves came back-to-back when a Bayhawks attackman's shot was saved, rebounded, and saved again, both from within 3 feet of the cage. Gabel's courageous effort moves the Machine within two wins from a trip to Championship Weekend.

For Gabel, who has played with Chicago his entire career, this was the third time in his career that he earned weekly honors. Prior to this week, Gabel was recognized by the league in Week 1 of the '08 season and in Week 3 of the ‘07 season.

Another Toronto player that stepped up big on Thursday was rookie goaltender Doc Schneider. With goalie Brett Queener on the bench due to illness, Schneider faced a great deal of pressure with a playoff spot for grabs. Facing a tidal wave of shots, 39 in total, Scheider stopped 24 of them en route to a Nationals' victory. Perhaps the two biggest saves came in the overtime period, where he saved two close-range shots on net. With the huge overtime victory, Schneider and his teammates will be flying to Annapolis for the 2009 New Balance Major League Lacrosse Championship.

Schneider has earned the Rookie of the Week award twice in his inaugural season.

Week 12 will apply even more pressure on Gabel and the Chicago Machine as they head back to Washington for a rematch. Face-off is scheduled for Saturday, August 1st at 7 PM ET.

Thomson, Schneider, and the rest of the Toronto Nationals have the week off and will prepare for their final game against Denver, who holds the number 1 seed in the playoffs.

The New Balance Major League Lacrosse Championship Weekend is August 22-23 at Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD.  For tickets call 1-866-MLL-TIXX or visit www.mllchamps.com

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