MLL Notebook: Rattlers, Outlaws Trending in Opposite Directions

PHOTO BY JEROME MIRON/PRETTY INSTANT

Dallas Rattlers long pole Eli Salama (13) celebrates with teammates after his fourth-quarter 2-point goal helped seal a 17-12 win over the Denver Outlaws.


When the Dallas Rattlers defeated the Denver Outlaws 11-8 on July 21, less than a week before the MLL All-Star Game, it could have been considered an anomaly.

Teams don’t typically win at an 86-percent clip (like the Outlaws were at 6-1), nor do teams typically go winless in an entire year (like the Rattlers were at 0-7). The 11 goals tied a season high for the Rattlers, and the eight goals were a season low for the Outlaw.

It turns out, it was the start of a trend rather than an anomaly.

Nearly a month after their previous meeting, the Rattlers defeated the Outlaws 17-12 on Saturday. It was Dallas’ fourth consecutive victory and Denver’s fourth consecutive loss.

“They played very unselfish,” Dallas coach Bill Warder said in a televised postgame interview on ESPN+. “It starts in the defensive end, where we’re playing exceptional six-on-six defense, and our goaltender is playing phenomenal. It’s limiting our opposing teams’ chances, and we’re getting more chances. They’re just playing so unselfish and dodging from different angles, which is key to that.”

The Rattlers jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but the Outlaws continued to claw back and keep it close, going into halftime with a tie game and taking the lead in the third quarter.

A 6-0 third-quarter run by Dallas, however, put the Rattlers up by four. Denver cut that lead in half, but a 2-pointer by Rattlers long-stick midfielder Eli Salama put the nail in the coffin.

“He practiced that about 50 times in the last day,” Warder said. “He took it twice tonight. It’s huge for him, because it’s on a fellow Canadian player, one of the best goalies in the world, Dillon Ward, so Eli was practicing that. He looked in the scouting report. Eli is a great transitional player.”

While the Outlaws have missed key players lately — Eli Gobrecht and Zach Runberg returned from injuries against the Rattlers, while All-Star Mikie Schlosser is still out with a hamstring issue — the Rattlers believe their resurgence is partially because of the continuity of their roster.

Dallas didn’t have to worry about players returning from the NLL season and rookies joining midseason like in years past, but the Rattlers had a lot of new faces join the team at the start of the season. Though stumbled through a season-opening seven-game losing streak, they also made several trades and brought individuals in from the MLL player pool.

Now, the team has been able to keep a consistent lineup, and it is paying dividends.

“Early on, you bring in a lot of new faces and guys didn’t have a sense of where are you going to be off ball,” Warder said. “Communication, being around each other, and believing in what we’re saying as far as the process, they’ve done that for four straight weeks. They’ve really played to a formula which has proved to be successful for us.”

Cannons climb standings

The Boston Cannons and the Chesapeake Bayhawks — two teams at the top of the league standings — met for the first time in Week 11, and it took overtime to find a winner.

Despite trailing by three goal in the second quarter, which was the largest margin in the game, Zed Williams’ third goal gave Boston a 12-11 victory Saturday.

Not only did the win put Boston in a tie with Chesapeake for first place, but it also marked the Cannons’ first victory over the Bayhawks since 2016.

“That was a great win for us,” Williams said in a televised postgame interview on Stadium. “It was a big confidence builder. I know we can go with anyone in this league. There are a lot of good teams in this league, and I know any given day, these guys will be ready to go.”

Williams’ first goal came with 33 seconds remaining in the second quarter and tied the game at seven. Chesapeake scored the first two goals of the second quarter, but Boston used a 3-0 run of its own to take the lead.

The Cannons went ahead 11-10 when Kyle Denhoff scored his second goal of the game with 2:59 remaining, but the Bayhawks’ Brendan Bomberry answered with his second goal of the night with 56 seconds left to send the game into overtime before Williams ended the game.

“I’m just glad our defense held them,” Williams said. “We got the ball back, and as soon as we got the ball, I knew I wanted it. I told Challen [Rogers], ‘Come set me a pick.’ Me and him have a good connection, and that’s what we ran.”







Atlanta survives overtime

With a 14-13 overtime victory Saturday over the New York Lizards, the Atlanta Blaze have won two consecutive games for the first time since June 21 and 29. The Blaze beat the Cannons by the same score last week and now have three one-goal wins this season.

Typical of many of Atlanta’s games, the matchup with the Lizards was a game of runs. After New York scored first, the Blaze responded with a three-goal run, only to be outdone by the Lizards, who went on a four-goal run and ended the first quarter up 6-4.

Atlanta built another three-goal lead going into the fourth quarter, but the Lizards scored the first three goals and outscored Atlanta 5-2 in the final frame to send the game to overtime.

Bryan Cole scored the game-winner, his third goal of the night.

“It goes to show the character we have in the locker room,” Cole said in a press release on the team’s website. “We had to grind this one out.” 

Noteworthy

Dallas midfielder Ryan McNamara scored three goals and added two assists to tie for the team lead in points. … Dallas goalie Sean Sconone made 14 saves. … In his debut with the Rattlers after a trade from New York, Noah Rak won 13 of 29 faceoffs and picked up five ground balls. … Bryce Wasserman scored a goal and added two assists for the Rattlers. …

Andrew Nebold, John Grant Jr., Jack Jasinski and Chris Aslanian each scored two goals for the Outlaws. …  Zach Currier led Denver with three assists. … In his first game of the 2019 season, Eli Gobrecht caused three turnovers.

Kyle Denhoff and Zed Wiliams each had three points for Boston, but it was attackman Connor O’Hara who led the team in points (three goals, one assist). … Challen Rogers scored a 2-point goal, and Mark Cockerton added two goals for the Cannons …

Lyle Thompson had a huge game for the Bayhawks in defeat, scoring three goals and adding four assists, including the assist on Bomberry’s equalizer that sent the game into overtime. … Niko Amato made 13 saves for Chesapeake. … Bayhawks faceoff specialist Kenny Massa won 18 of 26 faceoffs and picked up nine ground balls.

Atlanta’s Tommy Palasek scored two goals and added two assists. He now has 27 assists on the season, a new franchise record. … Christian Mazzone scored four goals and picked up seven ground balls. … After opening the season on New York’s roster, Atlanta’s Mark Matthews scored two goals and added two assists against his former team. … Will Nowesnick picked up five ground balls and caused three turnovers. …

New York’s Ryan Walsh led all players with five points (three goals, two assists). … Nick Aponte had two goals and two assists, while Rob Pannell had two goals and an assists and Nick Galasso had two goals for the Lizards.

Player of the Week
Jack Curran, M, Dallas

The third-year pro had an offensive explosion in his sixth game of the season. After scoring a total of four goals in the first five games of the year, Curran scored a career-high five goals against the Outlaws, including two in the third quarter, during which the Rattlers outscored the Outlaws 8-4.

“It’s awesome,” Curran said in a postgame televised interview on ESPN+. “I’m just a product of these guys. I have confidence in myself I can (fill up the scoresheet), but like I said, today, I just buried some shots.”

Play of the Week
Alex Woodall, FO, Atlanta

The first overall pick of the 2019 MLL Collegiate Draft is enjoying a successful rookie year, and this play adds to his list of memorable moments. Not only did Woodall win the faceoff and the ensuing ground ball, he essentially carried Greg Puskuldjian with him, brought the ball downfield and scored one-handed.

Most Recent

Tips from the C-Suite: Ian Garrison's 5 Keys to Officiating Box Lacrosse

From the May/June edition, NLL crew chief Ian Garrison dives into the basics of reffing box.

Chaos LSM Ian MacKay Returns Value on Connor Fields Trade

The versatile midfielder "checked a lot of boxes" for Chaos LC. Now we see why.

Why Don't More Pros Wear Pads? Matt Dunn Bucks Trend with Chest Protection

After what he called the scariest moment of his life, Dunn suited up and spoke out.

Wayne Gretzky Throws BTBs with Joe Tsai During NLL's Vegas Unveiling

Gretzky and Tsai were in Las Vegas for an event introducing the owners of the NLL's 15th team.







Twitter Posts