Working For The Weekend: MLL Week 7 Notes
The Fireworks Show
The league's premier regular-season game is at 7 p.m. Sunday in Denver, the annual July 4th weekend/fireworks game at Invesco Field. The Outlaws say they are expecting more than 25,000 fans to attend. A bonus is that Denver and the visiting Boston Cannons are the top two teams in the league right now, both with 5-1 records. Another bonus is the forecast is for 91 degrees and mostly sunny. Last year's July 4th game was played through constant heavy rain.
"It's going to be a special night," Denver coach Tom Slate said. "What a better game to watch than the two No. 1 teams in the league right now."
The reigning champion Bayhawks are 3-3, have lost their last two games, and have played poor second halves in each of the last two losses. Two weeks ago against Long Island, they led by two at half, were outscored 8-3 over the final two quarters and lost 14-11. Last week in a 17-10 loss to Boston, Chesapeake was outscored 11-3 in the second half. It was the Bayhawks' second defeat to the Cannons this season – the other a 17-13 loss -- and left coach Brendan Kelly looking frustrated on the sideline for the first time since he took over as a coach midway through last year.
"I don't think I've ever lost to one team lopsided [like that] twice," Kelly said. "The look was a look of confusion. We outshoot them, match them in ground balls and you have a wrose result than the game prior against Boston. ... It was more frustration. You have to shoot 30 percent in this league. We shot somewhere in the low 20s. I'm not used to our guys not shooting well."
He said the team needs to "stay the course," and, "We gotta do the little things right for the big things to happen. We gotta pick the ball off the ground ... but we have to be smarter. We can't give up the transition goals we gave up against Boston. I think we gave up eight points to long poles."
They face 0-6 Rochester at 7:30 p.m. EST Saturday.
Catalino Wine Mixer?
Rattlers rookie Grant Catalino will not play against Chesapeake on Saturday. He is the best man in his brother's wedding, being held this weekend, new Rattlers coach Tim Soudan said. The Big Cat scored nine goals against Hamilton last Friday, and was shut out in the back-end game of the home-and-home weekend series last Saturday. Soudan said he would love to have Catalino in the lineup – he coached him as a kid and praised his shooting ability – and that although Catalino was held pointless Saturday, he drew double teams and opened things up for other players.
Hamilton's Goalie Situation
Hamilton (3-3 overall) has three goaltenders — Scott Rodgers, Brett Queener and Joe Marra — each with a 1-1 record. Last weekend in the home-and-home series sweep against Rochester, Marra started the first game allowed 11 goals. Queener played the second half, allowing four goals and earning the win. On Saturday, Rodgers made his second start of the season and made 17 saves in the 15-14 overtime win.
"We hope one of the guys emerge," Nationals coach Regy Thorpe said. "We're going to keep three goalies on the roster until we find out who is going to be consistent week-to-week. We need some consistency in the goal."
Hamilton takes on Long Island at 7 p.m. EST Friday.
Gait and the Youngins
When Hamilton traded John Grant Jr. to Long Island, the team said it was to "get younger." Assistant coach Gary Gait is coaching that young offensive talent, guys like Jeremy Boltus, David Earl, Cody Jamieson and Kevin Crowley. "The whole offense is buying into our principles and systems to keep the ball moving." Thorpe said, crediting Gait. "It can't be one person."
Long Island's Changing Lineup
The arrival of John Grant Jr. "is exciting for us," coach Jim Mule said. "That's going to be a real positive that will carry us in the second half of the season."
But in the meantime, the trade has shaken up the Lizards offense. Grant starts with Matt Danowski on attack, and then Mule is charged with deciding between rookies Jay Card, Ryan Young, and MLL all-time leading scorer Tim Goettelmann as the third attackman.
In the midfield, Stephen Peyser and Stephen Berger are locks as starters, and Mule said he's also been impressed with rookie Zach Brenneman. Then he has to decide how to get longtime Lizards Keith Cromwell and Chris Fiore into the game.
"We have to settle in on a lineup," Mule said of the team, which has a 2-4 record. "We have to find the right mix."
To those wondering why Grant didn't play last week – he's not holding out on Long Island. Grant's sister was getting married. 'Tis the season for weddings (see Catalino above).
Slate's Vail Victory
Denver coach Tom Slate was a player for Team Hulu, which won the Masters championship at the Vail Lacrosse Shootout last weekend in Colorado. Hulu beat Team AGWA de Bolivia, 9-8. Slate called into the weekly MLL coaches conference call from a Starbucks in Vail Village, and was spending the week with family in Vail until Saturday.