July 9, 2012

Fireworks, Upsets and the Red-Hot Rattlers

by Phil Shore | LaxMagazine.com

Rochester goalie John Galloway made 33 saves in a two-game sweep of Long Island over the weekend to put the Rattlers over .500 with the first-place Chesapeake coming to town Saturday.

© Rich Barnes

Major League Lacrosse fans came out in droves for the Denver Outlaws' special Fourth of July matchup against the Ohio Machine. An MLL-record 30,128 people went out to Sports Authority Field to watch the Outlaws defeat the Machine 17-13 last Wednesday.

There was a fireworks display after the game in celebration of the holiday, and the Outlaws made sure to make their own fireworks on the field. Denver jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first 11 minutes and never looked back.

With 6:41 remaining in the first half, the Outlaws led the Machine 10-1. Of those 10 goals, nine were scored by different players. Rookie Chris Bocklett earned player of the game honors thanks to his four goals. Peet Poillon added three goals and an assist.

Ohio closed the gap to 12-10 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but the Machine could not complete the comeback.

The fireworks weren't the only show of patriotism, either. While MLL All-Star Jesse Schwartzman started in goal for the Outlaws, made 11 saves and picked up the win, former Army and Team USA goalkeeper Adam Fullerton played the final 1:17, his first action since returning from a one-year deployment in Afghanistan.

Jim Connolly scored five goals for the Machine, and rookie Steele Stanwick added a goal and five assists, but neither was enough to keep Ohio in the game.

Expansion Hounds upset first-place Bayhawks

The Charlotte Hounds have their first winning streak in team history after defeating the Chesapeake Bayhawks 13-12, thanks in large part to Matt Danowski.

Danowski has played in eight of the Hounds' nine games. They are 3-5 when he's on the field. He has scored just one goal in each of those five losses, but he has averaged three goals per game in the three wins. Danowski scored four goals — including a 2-pointer — and added an assist Saturday. Rookie Justin Turri added two goals, as Charlotte handed Chesapeake just its second loss of the season.

Danowski's 2-pointer proved to be the game-winning goal. Adam Ghitelman had another strong night in net, making 20 saves for the Hounds.

"We couldn't get into a flow because we didn't know who was going to be in cage," midfielder Jovan Miller said earlier in the week. "Once our defense was reassured and we had a consistent lineup, everything turned out just fine."

John Grant Jr., Steven Brooks and Michael Kimmel led Chesapeake with three points each.

Rochester snaps Long Island's winning streak

The Rochester Rattlers got a sweep of New York, defeating the Lizards on both ends of a back-to-back, home-and-home series. Rochester won 13-8 Friday night at home to snap the Lizards' five-game winning streak, then followed with a 17-15 victory on Long Island.

"We're a game over .500 now," veteran midfielder Matt Striebel said. "The bottom line is that you gotta win.

Rochester entered the weekend with the fewest goals in the MLL.

"If we're winning and not scoring a lot of goals, then we're happy," Striebel said. "We can score when we need to."

Friday's game was a defensive affair. Fatigue played a factor in a more open, back-and-forth game Saturday. Jordan MacIntosh led the Rattlers in both wins, scoring four goals Friday night and tying Steven Boyle for the team high with three goals Saturday.

In the second game, Long Island was penalized for 10 minutes, compared to Rochester's two minutes. The Rattlers scored two man-up goals, including a two-pointer from Striebel, that proved to be the difference.

Performance of the Weekend

John Galloway, Rochester

It was quite the weekend for Galloway. In two games against Long Island, the second-year pro goalie got two wins, made 33 saves, allowed just 21 goals and was even named Providence College's new defensive coordinator. Galloway earned player of the game honors in Friday night's 13-8 Rattlers' victory, making a career-high 21 saves while allowing just eight goals.

Surprise of the Weekend

Ari Sussman, Boston Cannons

Sussman played a big role in the Cannons' first game of the season, scoring four goals in the team's 15-3 victory over Rochester on April 28. But he played only in one other game before Saturday. Sussman displayed his finishing touch again with a career-high five goals — tied with Connolly for the most in any MLL game this weekend — and added an assist in the Cannons' 15-13 win over Hamilton.

What To Watch For

With losses by Chesapeake and Long Island over the weekend, Rochester is now the hottest team in the MLL with three consecutive victories. The Rattlers next host the league-leading Bayhawks on Saturday. They were the only team to beat the Bayhawks before Charlotte's victory Saturday. Rochester is also 3-0 at home.

Will Rochester continue its winning ways? Or will the Bayhawks deliver a hearty helping of revenge?

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