By Natalie Johnson | 6/6/14 10:30 AM
New York Lizards at Florida Launch
Saturday, June 7 – 5:30 PM EST – FAU Stadium
Watch: CBS Sports Network
The Launch (3-2) return home after two weeks on the road, including a tough Week 5 loss, looking to stay above .500. However, the Lizards (3-2) have won two in a row, so they’ll be coming to Florida with the growing confidence of a team that’s really pulling together.
Last Time Out
New York: The Lizards battled it out with the Boston Cannons last Friday, ultimately winning 11-10 and notching their third win of the season. Ned Crotty was named Coca-Cola Player of the Game after scoring three goals and two assists for the Lizards, and Greg Gurenlian dominated at the X, despite facing off against what was arguably his best competition all year in Chris Eck. Max Seibald scored two goals, and Rob Pannell recorded three points on the night when Lizards fans were given bobbleheads in his likeness.
Florida: The Launch were held to a season-low second half output of just three goals as they let the Rochester Rattlers run away with an 18-11 win on Sunday. Although Casey Powell managed just two points, Garrett Thul and Jordan Hall stepped up and each recorded three goals. Brett Queener had 11 saves on 25 shots on goal, although he was pulled in the fourth quarter in favor of Adam Fullerton, who played the final 8 minutes and allowed four goals.
Back in the Net: Neither team’s goalie had a great performance last week, as both Drew Adams and Brett Queener had a save percentage of less than .500 versus their respective opponents. Both players are veterans with big-game experience, so you can expect them to bounce back from last week’s troubles for a huge performance on Saturday.
Power Down: New York is the least penalized team in the league. When they are penalized, they are absolutely shutting down opponents, killing off 9 of 10 penalties this season, which is the best percentage in the league. Meanwhile, Florida has scored on 6 of 17 power play opportunities, good for second among all MLL teams. The Launch were 3 of 6 in man up situations last week, but it might be difficult to replicate that success this week.
Solo Shots: While the Lizards have a healthy goal output this season, just 33% of those goals have been assisted, which is the lowest in the league. New York has plenty of scoring weapons, but they’ll need to start spreading the ball around and improve their offensive chemistry if they want to continue their win streak this week.
Players to Watch
New York: Brian Karalunas continues to be a huge part of the Lizards’ defense this season. He has already collected 18 ground balls this season, which is on pace to set his career high. The Team USA defenseman will be charged with covering one of Florida’s highly effective scorers this week.
Florida: Kevin Crowley got off to a relatively slow start this season, but he continues to improve each week and show more of the play that earned him 2013 Brine Offensive Player of the Year honors. His offensive production has increased each week, and he recorded four points in the last game against Rochester.
New York: Rob Pannell leads the Lizards in points (19), goals (11), and assists (8). Max Seibald and Ned Crotty are tied for second with 12 points each. On the defensive end, Greg Gurenlian continues to dominate at the X, winning 85 of 138 face offs this season, and he also leads the team with 37 ground balls.
Florida: Like New York, the Launch also have one obvious offensive leader, as Casey Powell currently leads the team with 11 goals, 14 assists, and 25 points. Chris Mattes has collected a team-best 26 ground balls this season, and he has also taken a majority of the Launch’s face offs, winning 60 of 131.
2013 Season Series:
This is the first meeting between the two teams.
New York allowed four 2-point goals in the first three games of the season, but has not given up another one since.
Brett Queener and Adam Fullerton have combined to give Florida more saves than any other team this season.
If you’re planning on heading to Boca Raton to cheer on the Launch this weekend, why not grab one of our new snapbacks to keep the Florida sun out of your eyes and help you see all the action on the field? This awesome cap is available in the MLL store, and you can get yours here or by clicking the image to the right.