The semifinals of the Major League Lacrosse NB Zip Championships have been played and Rochester and Denver move on to the championship game tomorrow at 1 PM.
Game #1 recap: Rochester Rattlers 16 Philadelphia Barrage 15 OT
This game was the perfect showcase for a national audience on ESPN2. It was constant back and forth action. The biggest lead was 15-12 by Rochester heading into the fourth quarter. The Barrage fought back to tie the game and send it to sudden death. That’s when all time MLL leading scorer Casey Powell beat Barrage net minder Brian Dougherty only 45 seconds into the extra frame to secure the win for the Rattlers. This is the first win in team history. Previously, Rochester had been 0-4 in the playoffs, losing one goal games twice.
Rochester was led by Joe Walters (4g, 3a), Jordan Hall (2g, 1a), Powell (2g), Gavin Prout (2g) and John Grant Jr. (1g, 1a). Rochester got production from all over the field as nine players record at least one goal. Alex Smith was solid as ever at the faceoff “X” finishing with 19 wins out of 33 draws including the important win in overtime that led to Powell’s marker.
The Barrage were led by Roy Colsey (3g, 3a), Ryan Boyle (2g, 3a), Seth Goldberg (2g, 1A) and Matt Striebel (2g). Philadelphia was out shot 32 to 23 and Brian Dougherty was strong in net as usual. His 16-including five in the fourth quarter to blank the Rattlers-saves were the key reason this game even got to overtime.
Game #2 recap: Denver Outlaws 13 Los Angeles Riptide 12
This game was equally as close as the Rochester/Philly tilt. L.A. opened up the first quarter on a 3-0 run only to have Denver counter with four of its own. The game was tied 6-6 at the half and 9-9 going into the fourth, much lower scores than most would have predicted due to the prolific offenses of both squads. A two pointer by rookie Kevin Huntley put L.A. ahead 11-9 to start the fourth. But, a two-pointer by Jeff Sonke two minutes later evened the score. The teams traded goals until Sonke put the Outlaws ahead for good with just over a minute left to play.
Denver was led by Sonke (4g including one 2-pointer) and Ryan Powell (3g, 1a) offensively. Goalie Jesse Schwartzman had 15 saves on 26 shots in the win. Faceoff man Geoff Snider had nine groundballs while winning 12 of the 26 facoffs he attempted.
Los Angeles was led by Kevin Huntley (3g including one 2-pointer), Kyle Harrison (3a), Chazz Woodson (2g, 1a) and Jesse Hubbard (1g, 1a). Anthony Kelly won 15 of the 26 facoffs he attempted in the losing effort.
NB Zip Championship Game: Denver Outlaws (9-4) vs. Rochester Rattlers (10-3)
Date/Time: Sunday, August 24th, 1 PM EST.
Rochester and Denver did not face each other during the 2008 regular season. In fact, they have only played once. On June 16th, 2007 the Rattlers traveled to Invesco Field and defeated the Outlaws in the highest scoring game in MLL history, 27-26 in overtime.
Denver and Rochester are two of the best offensive teams in the MLL, but don’t expect as much of a shootout this time around. Hopefully the game will be as close as that one though. After watching the first two games, it probably will. These teams don’t really know each other very well, so it’s hard to pick a clear winner. I’ll stick with my gut though; it feels like its Rochester’s year.
Chris Osburn is a 26 year old freelance writer. He’s currently a beer columnist for The Father Life and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. On top of that, he writes about professional lacrosse for insidelacrosse.com. He’s also written for Genesee Valley Parenting Magazine and ESPN.com.
30 year old freelance writer and The Father Life‘s resident beer columnist and sports editor. He also writes about fine beverages for drinkingmadeeasy.com and Chilled Magazine. On top of that, he writes about college and professional lacrosse for insidelacrosse.com. He’s also written for Genesee Valley Parenting Magazine, the Democrat and Chronicle Newspaper and ESPN.com. “Osburn on Tap” appears monthly in THE FATHER LIFE. For questions, comments, or if you have a story idea for Chris, throw him an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on twitter http://www.twitter.com/chrisosburn