MLL Notebook: Boston, Chesapeake Pull Even with Denver for First Place

PHOTO BY RON CHENOY/PRETTY INSTANT

Will Sands (22) gets a high-five from Ryland Rees (17) after scoring one of his three goals (to go with three assists) in Boston's 16-13 win at Denver on Saturday.


The second half of the Major League Lacrosse season started with a battle between the top two teams in the standings, the Denver Outlaws and the Boston Cannons.

It was sure to be a highly contested matchup, since Denver beat Boston by a last-second goal last time out and both teams came into the game with a loss in their previous outing.

It did not disappoint.

Boston was the team that got off to a strong start and the Cannons never trailed in 16-13 victory Saturday in Denver.

Will Sands scored the first goal of the game, and the Cannons jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Outlaws could respond. The Cannons went into the second quarter with a 7-4 lead, and Outlaws head coach Tony Seaman pulled all-star goalie Dillon Ward after a rough outing.

The Outlaws fought to stay within striking distance throughout the game. They outscored Boston 9-8 in the second half, including scoring four of the final six goals, but it was too little too late.

MLL All-Star goalie Nick Marrocco made 16 saves for the Cannons and was the Coca-Cola Player of the Game.

“Today, our D played great, especially first half,” he said in a televised postgame interview. “They gave me a lot of shots that I like to see, getting me some confidence. I felt good going into the second half. Overall, it was a solid game for us.”

The victory moved the Cannons into a tie with the Outlaws for first place in the standings and evened the season series at one game apiece. The teams will meet in a rubber match Aug. 31 in Denver.

“It’s probably going to be the same as this, a tight game,” Marrocco said. “It’s a game of runs. They had some at the end. They were drawing up some plays at the end where they were trying to get back in the game. You can’t take a rep off in this league, especially against these guys. [The next game is] probably what you’re going to expect and probably a little physical. It gets a little chippy, but both teams have really competitive guys. That’s what you love to see.”

PHOTO BY BRETT DAVIS/PRETTY INSTANT

Dallas attackman Bryce Wasserman (2) has eight goals and two assists during the Rattlers’ current two-game winning streak.

Wasserman leads Rattlers

The season started off slowly for both the Dallas Rattlers and attackman Bryce Wasserman, but both have gotten hot in the past few weeks. Wasserman scored five goals and added two assists to lead Dallas to a 16-14 win Saturday at Atlanta, the Rattlers’ second consecutive victory.

Dallas lost the first seven games of the season, a skid during which Wasserman totaled 10 goals and two assists. Wasserman has nearly matched that output in the last two games, amassing eight goals and two assists in the Rattlers’ wins. The assists were especially notable, considering Wasserman plays the X-attack position.

“I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t played up to my standard in a few games,” Wasserman said. “I think it’s because I’ve been in a new role. When I first came in, no one knew who I was. I probably got overlooked in the scouting report. This year with the Rattlers, I’ve been heavily scouted, drawing the No. 1 defender. I’m trying to find new ways to score that couldn’t be scouted. There was definitely an adjustment period.”

Wasserman exploded in the first quarter with three goals and one assist to help push Dallas to a 6-4 lead. Although Atlanta took the lead in the second quarter, Wasserman’s two third-quarter goals helped lead the team’s comeback.







Bayhawks sweep the weekend

Chesapeake swept the home-and-home with New York, defeating the Lizards 11-9 in Annapolis on Saturday and rolling to a 24-7 rout Sunday in Hempstead.

The Bayhawks had lost to the Lizards 14-10 before the all-star break, but Chesapeake had several new faces in the lineup this time around. All-stars Steele Stanwick, Isaiah Davis-Allen and Brendan Bomberry all missed the first game against the Lizards but returned for the weekend doubleheader. Additionally, Shane Simpson made his MLL debut.

Stanwick had two assists in the first game and followed that outing with three goals and two assists in the return contest. Bomberry and Simpson each scored in the game at Hempstead, and Cottle praised the play of the defensive midfielders, led by Davis-Allen.

“In the last game against this team, we allowed them to run by us,” Cottle said in a press release on the Bayhawks website after the first game. “We played much better midfield defense this time around.”

While the defense held the Lizards to season lows in both games, the offense was particularly impressive in the second game. Eleven players scored, as Chesapeake more than tripled New York’s total.

One of those goals came from faceoff specialist Kenny Massa, who was very impressive at the X, winning 20 of 32 faceoffs and picking up nine ground balls. It was a strong weekend for Massa, who won 16 of 21 faceoffs and picked up seven ground balls the night before.

“Kenny did a great job,” Cottle said. “We really needed that.”

Boston, Denver and Chesapeake are tied for first place, each standing at 6-3.

PHOTO BY JERMAIN RANGASAMMY/PRETTY INSTANT

Colin Heacock split time at attack and midfield, totaling 10 goals in the Bayhawks’ weekend sweep of the Lizards.

Noteworthy

Will Sands led the Cannons with six points on three goals and three assists. … Several other Cannons players had big games offensively, including Zed Williams (four goals, one assist), Mark Cockerton (three goals), and the returning Kyle Jackson (two goals, one assist). …

Outlaws faceoff specialist Max Adler went 18-for-31, picked up 10 ground balls and scored a goal. … Outlaws players Kyle Marr and Stanny Gilbertson made their professional debuts. Marr scored a goal and Gilbertson picked up one ground ball. … … Outlaws rookie Ryan Lee also scored six points on five goals and one assist.

Dallas midfielder Lucas Wittenberg scored two goals, one of which was a 2-pointer. They were his first goals since he scored four in Week 1. … In his third MLL game, Bradley Voigt continued to be a goal-scoring threat, adding two goals to the scoresheet. … Rattlers defenseman Chris Keating led the team with five ground balls. He now has 14 in three games since coming off the injured list. …

Atlanta faceoff specialist Alex Woodall dominated, winning 26 of 33 faceoffs and picking up an incredible 19 ground balls. He also scored a goal. … Atlanta defenseman Liam Byrnes picked up seven ground balls and caused two turnovers. … Midfielder Bryan Cole led the Blaze with five points (four goals, one assist). … In his first game back with Atlanta, the recently reacquired Mark Matthews provided three assists. …

After going scoreless in Saturday’s game, midfielder Nick Mariano scored four goals against the Lizards Sunday. … Chesapeake’s John Wagner scored three goals in the team’s weekend sweep. …Lyle Thompson had two goals and an assist in Saturday’s game and followed that up with a three goals and an assist in Sunday’s victory. … Chesapeake goalie Brian Phipps made 12 saves in Sunday’s victory over New York. …

In Saturday’s loss to Chesapeake, Lizards goalie Austin Kaut made 18 saves. … Lizards attackman Rob Pannell scored three of New York’s eight goals in Saturday’s game, including one 2-pointer. On Sunday, Pannell did not score but added two assists.

Player of the Week
Colin Heacock, A, Chesapeake Bayhawks

The third-year pro had the offensive eruption Chesapeake had long waited for. In the first seven games of the season, Heacock had scored 10 goals. He matched that total in the home-and-home series against the Lizards. Heacock played at attack on Saturday and tied a single-game high with six goals. The following night, he played midfield and scored another four goals, giving him 20 on the season.

“Colin shoots the ball hard and he was very accurate tonight,” Cottle said in a press release after Heacock’s six-goal game.

“Watching Lyle and Steele dodge makes my job a lot easier,” Heacock said. “They are some of the best dodgers in the game, so I just have to play off them.”

Play of the Week
C.J. Costabile, LSM, Chesapeake Baythawks

In a game where the Bayhawks offense exploded for 24 points, long pole C.J. Costabile that had biggest highlight with this rusty gate that forced a turnover.

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