July 30, 2009

MLL Week 12 Notebook: Three for One

from press release

Three of the four Major League Lacrosse playoff spots have been filled following Week 11's games. Denver (8-2), Toronto (6-5) and Boston (6-5) all clinched spots.

Long Island (5-5) remains in the driver's seat for the fourth and final playoff spot, followed by Chicago (3-7) and Washington (3-7). The Lizards can clinch it by avoiding a season sweep with a victory Friday over Denver. The Outlaws have defeated Long Island twice this season, holding the Lizards to a combined 16 goals in those wins.

Chicago and Washington reconvene Saturday, with the loser being eliminated from playoff contention. The winner could remain in the race, should Long Island lose.

More news and notes from around the MLL:

Alright, Alrich, We Get It

Boston's Matt Alrich proved again why he is one of the most consistent players in the league by scoring his 100th career goal in his 50th career game. He has averaged two goals every game, and, with no surprise, scored two goals in this past game against Toronto.  

Best Defense is a Good Offense

Boston's defenseman Kyle Sweeney took his 50th regular season career shot during the Cannons' overtime loss to the Toronto Nationals. Sweeney currently is second in points for all defenders this season with 13, including nine goals and four assists. The defenseman has recorded at least a point in eight of 10 games, including a game-tying goal and an assist last Thursday.

The Cannon Powershot(s)

Boston's star midfielder, Paul Rabil, scored his 10th regular season career 2-pointer and his 50th goal in last Thursday's game against Toronto. Despite Boston's loss in overtime, Rabil still managed to record seven points. He scored five goals, two of which came from behind the 2-point arc. Rabil is currently the points leader this season with 48.

Always Improving

Toronto's Merrick Thomson surpassed 100 regular season career points after an eigh-point performance against Boston. Scoring five times and assisting three other goals, Merrick helped his team clinch its playoff spot for this year's New Balance Championship Weekend. Thomson, 2008's Most Improved Player, has recorded at least two points in every game this season, including 12 hat tricks. He is second in points with 45 and first in goals scored with 40.

Small Name, Big Play

Toronto's rookie Corey Small finally turned in his first career goal last Thursday. Small came extremely close to also recording his first game-winning-goal had it not been for Kyle Sweeney's last-minute (literally last minute), game-tying goal. Small scored with just under four minutes left to give Toronto the lead 17-16. Toronto ended up winning 18-17 in OT.

Turning Over a New leaf

Another Toronto rookie, ex-Duke Blue Devil Brad Ross, made an immediate impact in his second career game. He put in his first two goals/ first two points of his career. Ross scored midway through the second quarter and at the beginning of the fourth, which kicked off Toronto's eight-goal run in that quarter.

Turner Classic Goalie

Cannon's goalie Kip Turner had his 250th regular season career save against Toronto. Facing 40 shots on goal, Kip made 22 saves, including two in the overtime period. While splitting time with Mike Levin, Turner has maintained a 12.69 GAA and is only one of two goalies in the league to not have let in a 2-pointer this season.

What's up Doc?

Toronto goalie Doc Schneider earned the first win of his young career in a overtime thriller against Boston. Racking up 24 saves, Schneider took home this week's Cascade Rookie of the Week award. Doc also entered the record books for Toronto as the first goalie in Nationals history to play an entire game.

Ace of Face

Long Island's Peter Vlahakis had his 900th career faceoff win last weekend against Denver. Even though Vlahakis has slowed down in attempts and wins this season, he is third all-time in career faceoff attempts (1569) and wins (901). 

Heeere's Johnny

Lizards rookie transfer John Glynn scored his first career goal against the Outlaws this past weekend in Denver. Glynn, who was traded from Chicago to Long Island, scored late in the first quarter, contributing to one of seven goals for the struggling Lizards' offense. Since his transfer to Long Island, Glynn has posted a point per game.

He Did Wat?

Denver's Nate Watkins recorded his 100th point in their victory over Long Island. Watkins scored a hat trick and added an assist as Denver's clinched the No. 1 playoff spot for the 2009 New Balance Championship Weekend.

Man with Many Faces

Washington's faceoff man Alex Smith took his 1,000th career faceoff this weekend against Chicago. Including his 20-for-33 effort last game, Smith has won 636 of his 1000 draws. In 2009, Smith is the current leader in the league for FO wins (188) and FO winning percentage (.612). Alex's Young Guns All-Star Game jersey is also currently the top bid-getter in the 2009 MLL Charity Auction going on right now at www.charitybuzz.com. Alex's jersey is currently fetching $1,100. The auction, which continues through Friday, Aug. 14, benefits Boys & Girls Clubs.

Happy Hunting

Washington's Kevin Huntley scored his 53rd career regular season goal during his two-goal performance against Chicago. He scored at the beginning of the first and fourth quarters in the Bayhawks' loss to the Machine. Huntley, in his second season and last year's Cascade Rookie of the Year, is the leading goal scorer for Washington with 23 goals.

New Machinery

Chicago rookie Mark Kovler scored his first career goal, assist and power-play assist against Washington Saturday. Kovler scored midway through the second quarter and assisted Mike Leveille on a power play in the third quarter. After moving from Long Island to Chicago, the newest part of the Machine seems to be adapting well, earning his first career points with his new team.

Glad to be of Assistance

Bayhawks rookie Danny Glading built up his rookie season stats after a very strong performance this past weekend. Dishing out four assists and scoring a goal, Glading tied his career high for points and set a new career high for assists. Two of his assists were on power plays, the first of his career. Three of his assists came consecutively in the third, as part of Washington's attempted comeback against Chicago. In his six career games, Glading has raked in 12 points, eight of which are assists.    

The Comeback Kid

Well, not quite a kid, but Chicago's Doug Shanahan sure made a splash in his comeback to Chicago. In a game that had the potential to kick the Machine out of the playoffs, Shanahan stepped up for Chicago by ripping four goals and adding an assist. His five-point performance was a team high and one of the main reasons why Chicago is still in contention for the playoffs.


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