MLL Saturday: Florida Soars; Rochester,Ohio Boost Playoff Hopes
A trio of games on Saturday evening saw Rochester, Florida and Ohio all boost their playoff shots and rookie Kieran McArdle put on a major show, tying the Major League Lacrosse rookie goals record with five goals and five assists for the Launch. He stands tied at 30 on the season with Kevin Huntley, who set the mark in 2008 with the now-defunct Los Angeles Riptide.
With the Rattlers' win and Denver's loss to Ohio, Rochester stands alone in first place in the league standings with two weeks of regular-season play remaining. The Outlaws are a game back, with New York (playing Chesapeake today) a half game behind them and Ohio three games off first place and a game ahead of Boston and Florida for the fourth and final playoff spot.
FLORIDA 23, BOSTON 17
Down 6-2 after early in the second quarter, Florida ripped off nine of the next twelve scores before the half to lead by a pair at the break, then took over for good with a four-goal run in the third, improving to 5-7 on the season and pulling even with the Cannons one game back of Ohio for the fourth spot and a playoff berth.
Kieran McArdle scored all five of his goals in the contest in the second quarter surge and assisted on two others (of a game-high five), pulling into a tie with Kevin Huntley with 30 goals in his rookie season with two games remaining. Casey Powell had three goals and three assists in the game, while David Earl and Kevin Cunningham had four each for the Launch. Chris Mattes (27-for-42, 13GBs) had a big game facing off, while Brett Queener made 13 saves to earn the victory.
Paul Rabil anchord Boston's effort with three goals and five assists, with Brent Adams and Will Manny both notching hat-tricks and Ryan Boyle going for two goals and two assists. Chris Eck won 14 of 31 draws and scooped 11 GBs but the rest of the Cannons F/O crew went just 3-for-13 on the game. Jordan Burke made eight saves and Austin Kaut six as Boston slipped from a tie with Ohio for the fourth playoff spot to the outside looking in.
ROCHESTER 13, CHARLOTTE 9
A seven-point outing from rookie Jordan Wolf helped Rochester pull away in the second half and take over sole possession of first place in the MLL standings with a win over Charlotte at home. Wolf had five goals and two assists, with three and two coming in the third and fourth quarter as the Rattlers turned a 6-6 tie at the break into a 9-8 lead going into the fourth and then scored four to Charlotte's one in the final frame.
Charlotte fell to 0-6 on the road with the loss, and stands on the verge of playoff elimination, two games back from the fourth-place spot with two games to play. Rochester is a perfect 6-0 at home, facing Ohio there next week, then visiting Boston in the season finale a on August 9th. They hold a one-game advantage on Denver, but the Outlaws hold a tie-break advantage should the two close the regular season with identical record - they are 1-1 in head-to-head play, but Denver won its half by six, one more than Rochester's winning margin in the rematch.
Dave Lawson (2G, 1A) and John Ranagan (3A) also helped pace Rochester on Saturday, with Kevin Leveille and Mark Cockerton adding a pair of goals each and John Galloway making 10 saves for the win. Charlotte was led by Jake Tripucka's two goals and an assist and Justin Ward's three goals, while Mike Sawyer and Matt Danowski potted a pair of goals each.
Charlotte has games remaining against New York and Chesapeake and needs to both win out and have Ohio, Boston and Florida stumble to make it back to the postseason.
OHIO 23, DENVER 22 (OT)
Marcus Holman scored a game-tying goal - one of five on the game - in the final minutes of regulation and Kyle Harrison the winner in overtime as Ohio took a key win over the Outlaws to pull into sole possession of the fourth and final playoff spot with the win and Boston's loss to Florida.
Denver had led by three at the half, but a 7-1 run in the third quarter after a pair of Denver goals out of the break set things up for a back-and-forth battle through the rest of regular time. The Outlaws appeared to take control late with back-to-back goals from Cam Holding and John Grant, Jr. to take the lead with just over two minutes remaining. But Robert Datillo won the draw (part of a monster 19-for-25 game) and Holman scored the equalizer moments later.
Logan Schuss joined Holman in scoring five for Ohio and added an assist, with Peter Baum (3G, 2A) and Steele Stanwick (3G, 1A) adding big games. Harrison scored four, including the game-winning strike after both teams had looks at the cage in the extra frame. Brian Phipps made 11 saves to earn the win in goal.
Grant had five goals and three assists for the Outlaws with Justin Pennington scoring five and adding an assist and Holding potting four with an assist. Jesse Schwartzman made 18 saves in the loss.
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