The Boston Cannons defeated the Rochester Rattlers 15-3 in their season opening game in Harvard Stadium on April 28 th. The Rattlers were able to upset the Cannons and end their ten game winning streak dating back to last season on Friday, June 1 st in Sahlen’s Stadium thanks to five new faces who made game changing contributions.
5 – Mike Manley
The rookie from Penn Yan Academy and Duke University was starting his first professional lacrosse game for his home town team. Manley was matched up against A Ryan Boyle in close defense. Boyle tied the MLL record for career assists in the first quarter and then became the all-time leader with 3:17 left in the first half. He would not record another point, and he only had one shot in the game.
The two-time All-American with the Blue Devils was the top rated defensemen available in the 2012 MLL Draft, and proved his pedigree with a dominant debut against a star opponent.
4 – Joel White
White drew Paul Rabil duty in the match-up with the Boston Cannons on Friday, June 1
st. Rabil entered the game as MLL’s leading scorer with 24 points in his first four games. White and the Rattlers defense limited him to one assist in the first half, and Rabil only had one goal and one assist through the first three quarters. The Cannons were trailing the Rattlers 14-11 entering the fourth quarter and turned to their superstar in nearly every possession for the rest of the way. He had two goals and one assist on Boston’s five goals in the final quarter. However, White shut him down in crunch time and he did not score in the final 6:13 of regulation and overtime.
White was a superstar in college with Syracuse University. He was a three time All-American with the Orange, and he earned First Team All-American honors as a junior and as a senior. White was the first defensive middie to be selected as the National Midfielder of the Year after his junior year. He won two national championships at Syracuse as a freshmen and as a sophomore. White was the Rattlers Coach’s Choice Award winner after his rookie season in 2011, and he won a NLL Championship with the Rochester Knighthawks this spring.
3 – John Galloway
A bit of a stretch since Galloway technically played in the first game against the Cannons in Boston, but Friday night’s 17-16 (OT) victory marked his return to form for the 2012 season. Boston scored on Galloway 15 times, but he still needed to record 17 saves including eight saves in the fourth quarter and overtime when Boston was rallying.
During a key stretch in the third quarter the Rattlers were in the middle of a run where they would end up scoring five of the last six goals in the quarter. Galloway was out of his crease to the left of his goal, and in possession of the ball when he turned it over to the Cannons. The Rattlers defensemen scrambled to try to stop the Cannons attack, but they seemed destined to score an empty netter. Galloway sprinted back into the goal to make a sliding save on Boston’s empty net effort, and then made a second save on the rebound.
When teams have been losing, it’s moments like Galloway’s turnover where things typically start to unravel. He was able to save Rochester’s momentum in the third quarter, and then saved the game with eight saves in the fourth quarter.
2 – Roy Lang
Roy Lang was the Rattlers Second Round Pick (11
th overall) in the 2012 MLL Draft. He was a highly regarded two way midfielder out of Cornell who was a two-time All-American with 22 points and 23 ground balls this spring.
The 2012 MLL rookie had two points and four ground balls in his first two professional games with the Rattlers. Even though Lang had four shots and four ground balls when the Rattlers called time-out before their final possession in overtime, it’s highly unlikely that Rochester’s #48 was a major topic of discussion in the Cannons defensive huddle.
That’s what made the last twenty seconds of the Rattlers 17-16 overtime victory so improbable. Lang took the ball from the official, ran right at the heart of Boston’s defense, split and dodged two defenders, and ripped the game winning goal over the head of Cannons goalie Jordan Burke.
The Rattlers have been back in Rochester for seven games. Lang’s goal joins Grant Catalino’s nine goal game and the Rattlers 15-8 victory over Denver as the iconic lacrosse moments in Sahlen’s Stadium since their return in 2011.
1 – Ned Crotty
Crotty missed the Rattlers 15-3 loss to the Cannons in Boston due to the NLL playoffs, and then he only had six points in his first two games of the season. He responded to his head-to-head battle with Paul Rabil by putting together his best performance of the season with three goals and two assists.
The key to Crotty’s performance wasn’t just the number of goals and assists that he put up – it was when he scored them. In the first half each of Crotty’s two goals and his one assist came in response to a Cannons score. With Crotty’s timely scoring preventing the Cannons from running up a lead with a long rally, the Rattlers were only down 9-7 at the half.
In the third quarter the Rattlers put together their best 15 minutes of the season when they outscored the previously undefeated Boston Cannons seven to two. Crotty’s assist opened the quarter’s scoring and his goal ended it.
Ned Crotty is now tied for 22
nd in MLL in scoring but his 11 points have come in only three games. He trails Rabil by 18 points for the MLL scoring title, which is going to be a difficult gap to close. If Rabil is definitively the number one player in the world right now, then Crotty is number 1A after Friday night.