Well, Well, Well here we are in August arm-chairing which of the final four teams will punch a ticket to Atlanta to play for the Steinfeld Trophy, Rochester, Denver, New York and Ohio each will have earned the chance to move on to the MLL Championship Game. Denver, New York and Ohio were three teams that most had in the mix before the season started but the favorite this year is a team many felt would be on the outside looking in, The Rochester Rattlers . Rochester has been playing well all year long behind the likes of Turri, Lawson, Galloway, Manley and Wolf, in fact, they have the leagues stingiest defense giving up 11.5 goals per game and the 2nd most productive offense with 13 goals per game. The big question is can this number one seed finish with a championship!
The Rattlers will host the Ohio Machine in a semi final match-up, The number one offense against the number one defense, can't get any better. Simply going by the record during the season Ohio has bested the Rattlers on both meetings but if there is one thing we have seen in past playoffs, season wins mean bupkus.
Ohio has been solid on the offensive end with a league leading 200 goals for the season behind the 50 point season of both Holman and Baum. The rattlers bring a very balanced offense, tied for second in the league, and a philosophy that everyone scores - seven players have 20+ points on the season. The difference in this game will come down to the defensive units and can leagues best defensive unit, Rochester, slow the league leading offensive attack of the Machine. The prediction is Rochester by 2.
The other game of the day will be an Outlaws and Lizards re-match, the Lizards knocked off the Outlaws in overtime thriller with a goal from Kyle Hartzell. The reality of this game is both teams have an explosive offense and a sound defense. The Lizards have the second best defense in the league but their offense has been an underachieving and inconsistent group for the first part of the season but have come alive of late. The Outlaws have been fairly consistent throughout the season on both ends of the field. The match up of the two defenses could be the critical component of the game. Both teams can score goals and they will, in this game it will come down to which defense can control the number of shots, Last week Denver out shot NY 33 - 26 but the Lizards had a 22 save performance from Drew Adams to thwart the Denver offense, credit the Lizards defense by pushing the Outlaws to lower percentage shots. The Lizards close defense will match up well with the Denver attack so it will really become a battle of the "Middie" Way. The Lizards D-Mids will be the key in this game, can they slow the strong Denver Middies? If the Lizards offense comes alive in this game the Denver defense will have their hands full with both attack and middies. The Lizards proved to themselves they can beat the outlaws but can they do it twice and in Denver? The prediction is Lizards by 1.