July 12, 2012

MLL Week 10 Notebook: Hounds, Outlaws Get Faceoff Help

by Matt DaSilva | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Seven-year MLL veteran Anthony Kelly, a 49.4-percent career faceoff man, will try to help jumpstart a Denver unit that ranks just sixth out of eight teams with a 42.6-percent success rate after the Ohio Machine traded him to the Outlaws last week.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

The Charlotte Hounds and Denver Outlaws have plenty of scorers. They just have not been able to consistently get them the ball. That could soon change.

The Hounds acquired veteran faceoff man Geoff Snider from the Hamilton Nationals for a third-round draft pick, Cameron Lao-Gosney and Brian Neufeld in a trade Tuesday. Snider came into the season ranked eighth all-time in Major League Lacrosse (MLL) faceoff wins and was an MLL All-Star with the Denver Outlaws in 2007. He won an MLL championship with the Nationals in 2009, but he has not played this season with second-year pro Matt Dolente getting the reps in Hamilton.

Despite winning two straight games, Charlotte has the worst faceoff unit in the MLL. Corey Bulken, Andrew Hennessy and Dan Cooney have combined to win just 34.1 percent. The Hounds tweeted Thursday that Snider will suit up for Charlotte for the rest of the season "and beyond," adding he will wear jersey number 17 to honor the late Chris Sanderson. Snider will join the Hounds when he returns from the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Under-19 World Championship in Finland, where he is an assistant coach for Team Canada.

The Outlaws, though tied with the Boston Cannons for second place, rank sixth in the MLL in faceoffs at 42.6 percent. Denver traded two 2013 draft picks to the Ohio Machine for Anthony Kelly and a draft pick. Kelly has won 77 of 157 faceoffs (49 percent) in eight games with the Machine this season. A seven-year MLL veteran, he is 958-of-1940 (49.4 percent) in his career.

Among other transactions this week, Boston acquired midfielder Kevin Vaughn from Denver in exchange for a draft pick, Denver traded for former Long Island Lizards defensive midfielder Dan Cocchi, the Lizards got Jordan Levine from Ohio, the Machine sent a draft pick to Chesapeake for rookie attackman Joe Cummings and the Rochester Rattlers traded Jeff Coburn to Ohio for a supplemental draft pick in 2013.

Nats coach Thorpe criticizes schedule, officiating

Hamilton Nationals coach Regy Thorpe said his team, which relies most heavily on Canadian players enfranchised in the National Lacrosse League, has suffered the worst effects of the MLL's decision to start the season two weeks earlier. The NLL season did not end until May 19, with several Nationals players going the distance with the NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks. The MLL season started April 28.

Hamilton is 2-6 and in seventh place, ahead of only the expansion Ohio Machine.

"It's a combination of the season starting earlier and us having a lot of box guys and getting off to an 0-3 start, which is pretty much an impossible task to start," Thorpe said during Wednesday's MLL coaches' conference call.

Thorpe also claimed the Nationals are unfairly targeted by MLL officials.

"They think we're just a bunch of Canadian box guys," he said. "It seems like every scenario, it's call after call after call. It's really disheartening."

Hamilton is the MLL's most-penalized team with 46 penalty minutes.

Injury updates

Kevin Leveille has seen limited time (seven goals in five games) for Rochester with two stints on injured reserve, but the veteran attackman has been activated for Saturday's home game against Chesapeake. Defenseman Joel White and midfielder Kevin Drew also are active... The Bayhawks expect midfielder Ben Hunt, who has been out since June 2 with a hamstring injury, to play Saturday. Hunt had 10 goals in Chesapeake's first five games and should provide a boost to a Bayhawks offense that was silenced by the expansion Charlotte Hounds last week. "Charlotte outplayed us in the fourth quarter and got a win they deserved," Chesapeake coach Dave Cottle said of that game. "We were outworked..." Bayhawks faceoff specialist Alex Smith, who had Tommy John surgery last October, will remain on injured reserve for at least one more week.

News and notes

MLL founder Jake Steinfeld carried the 2012 Olympic torch Wednesday through the town of Reading, England, as one of 22 Americans selected to participate in the relay leading up to the July 27 opening ceremonies in London... Long Island faceoff man Greg Gurenlian was a guest of new Lizards owner and NFL and National Lacrosse Hall of Famer Jim Brown at the ESPY Awards Wednesday night in Los Angeles. In an interview with majorleaguelacrosse.com, Gurenlian joked that he would have to step up his game to be Jim Brown's "arm candy..." All eight MLL teams remain mathematically in playoff contention, but an Ohio loss at Hamilton on Friday would eliminate the expansion Machine... The MLL Week 10 schedule includes a home-and-home series between Hamilton (2-6) and Ohio (1-7) — at Hamilton on Friday (7:30 p.m.) and at Ohio on Saturday (7 p.m.). Other games pit Boston (6-3) at Long Island (6-3), Charlotte (3-6) at Denver (6-3) and Chesapeake (7-2) at Rochester (5-4), all Saturday at 7 p.m.

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