By Natalie Johnson | 7/16/14 2:20 PM
After a week off for some incredible action at the FIL World Lacrosse Championships, the MLL is back with four exciting matchups. With just four weeks of regular-season play left, every team will be bringing their A-game each week in hopes of nabbing a spot in the postseason.
37: The number of MLL players featured in the Canada vs. United States matchup that opened the World Championships last Thursday night. An MLL player was responsible for every goal in the game, which ended 10-7 in favor of USA.
93.75%: Winning percentage at the X for Chris Mattes (Florida Launch) in Germany’s first three games at the World Championships. Mattes, the only MLL player on the German national team, took 45 of 48 face offs in group play, which helped Germany sail through the first stage of the tournament.
15: Number of combined goals in the first Chesapeake-Rochester game this season, tied for the lowest scoring game in 2014. That was one of the most thrilling matchups of the season, and was the league’s first-ever double overtime game. The Bayhawks and Rattlers meet up again this Thursday.
88%: Penalty killing percentage for the New York Lizards this season, which is best among all teams. The Lizards have allowed opponents to score just three power play goals in 25 opportunities. If they can maintain that success, the team will set a new MLL record for penalty killing percentage, which was set at 83.3% by Denver in 2009.
326: Number of ground balls picked up by the Rochester Rattlers this season, which leads the MLL. They are the only team to have surpassed the 300 GB benchmark this season, and that possession advantage has proved to be a major part of the Rattlers’ success.
Rochester Rattlers at Chesapeake Bayhawks
When: Thursday, July 17 at 7:00 PM ET
Last time they met: Rochester 8, Chesapeake 7– 2OT (June 5, 2014 in Rochester)
The last time these teams faced off, it was an epic game with high suspense and new league records. This week, the teams will be coming in from opposite ends of the league standings: Rochester (7-3) is tied for first, while Chesapeake (3-7) currently sits in last place. The Bayhawks have made enormous strides toward improvement in recent weeks, but it remains to be seen if they’ll be able to stop the Rattlers, who have been the league’s hottest team lately. The absence of players due to the World Championships will have the biggest impact on this game, as both Rochester and Chesapeake led MLL with eight participants each.
New York Lizards at Boston Cannons
When: Saturday, July 19 at 6:00 PM ET
Syndicated: MSG+, Altitude, Prime Ticket, SportSouth, SportsTime Ohio
Last time they met: New York 11, Boston 10 (May 30, 2014 in Hempstead, NY)
Currently, both New York (6-4) and Boston (5-5) sit within the top four of league standings, which would guarantee them a spot in the postseason. However, a lot can change in four weeks, so these teams will be fighting to stay in contention. Even without their top scorers like Rob Pannell and Paul Rabil, both the Lizards and the Cannons could put up huge numbers offensively. Each team has a strong supporting cast that gets less recognition but holds equal importance, particularly this week. The Lizards exploded for 20 goals in their last game, but this week they’ll run into Jordan Burke and the tough Cannons defense, which has allowed the fewest goals in the league.
Charlotte Hounds at Ohio Machine
When: Saturday, July 19 at 7:00 PM ET
Watch: CBS Sports Network
Last time they met: Ohio 15, Charlotte 8 (April 26, 2014 in Charlotte)
The Machine (4-6) began the 2014 season with a statement victory over the Hounds (4-6), so Charlotte will be looking for revenge when they travel to Selby Stadium this weekend. The losing team will fall three games below .500, which could be difficult to overcome this close to season’s end. Both Ohio and Charlotte have added some high-impact rookies since that first matchup, so it will be interesting to see which team is able to gain the upper hand and secure the victory. Between Ohio’s league-leading offense and Charlotte’s bright young talent, this game has the potential to be high scoring and extremely entertaining.
Florida Launch at Denver Outlaws
When: Sunday, July 20 at 3:00 PM ET
Watch: CBS Sports Network
Last time they met: Denver 14, Florida 10 (April 26, 2014 in Boca Raton, FL)
When the Launch welcomed the Outlaws to Florida in Week 1, no one knew what to expect from the league’s newest team. Although Denver won that game, Florida’s play in the second half impressed many. However, the Launch have struggled in recent weeks, and they’re hoping to use last weekend’s break to get back on track. Meanwhile, Denver has uncharacteristically dropped two in a row, so they’ll be playing for pride this Sunday. In a game where each team might be at less than full strength due to Worlds, look for proven scorers like Casey Powell and Eric Law to have a big game.
Worlds Watch: The FIL action continues all week, with the championship game coming on Saturday, July 19 at 9:00 PM ET. That game will be aired live on ESPNU, and the complete list of televised games leading up to the final can be found here.
Getting Even: This week’s MLL action features rematches of some extremely close games: Boston lost to New York in Week 5 by a single goal, and Chesapeake fell to Rochester in that incredible double-overtime game in Week 6. Those teams will be looking to avenge those heartbreaking losses and split the season series with their opponent.
Stepping Up: Since the World Championships don’t end until Saturday night, many teams will likely be without some of their top players this weekend. However, with that absence comes opportunity, as guys who are available will be called upon to fill the void and step up for their teams in a major way. This is the perfect moment for an underappreciated or less-experienced player to have a breakout game.
MLL Championship: It’s not too early to start planning your trip to Atlanta for the MLL Championship Game! The game will take place at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on Saturday, August 23. Get your tickets and all the information on our MLL Championship page.
Item of the Week: Show your support for the Boston Cannons with this awesome snapback! The MLL Shop has a snapback in every team’s colors, but you can get the Boston cap here or by clicking the image to the right.