The Rochester Rattlers have turned around their season with a 3-1 run after their 2-4 start to the season. They are currently one game behind the Boston Cannons and Long Island Lizards for the fourth and final Major League Lacrosse playoff spot with four games left in the regular season. On Friday, July 20 th the Rattlers host the Charlotte Hounds in Sahlen’s Stadium at 7PM. Charlotte has a 3-7 record in their first year in the league, but one of those three wins came against first place Chesapeake.
“There’s no such thing as an easy game in this league.” Rattlers coach Tim Soudan said. “With only eight teams in the league there is a lot of talent on every roster. Charlotte has three guys who have already scored 30 points. At the same time if we want to be a playoff team this year, then this is a key game for us.”
Veteran M Matt Striebel enters Friday night’s game in a tie with Long Island legend Tim Goettelmann for the most games played in league history with 132. Five minutes into the third quarter Striebel will officially become MLL’s all-time leader in games played. He has nine goals, five two point goals and five assists for the Rattlers this season, and he was named to the 2012 MLL All-Star game. His five two-point goals lead the team and are third in the league.
“This is a great accomplishment (for Matt), and it’s going to be an honor to be on the field when he breaks the record.” Soudan said. “Matt Striebel is the leader of our team on and off the field, and he’s the perfect example of what it means to be a professional.”
Striebel was joined by Rattlers SSDM Steve DeNapoli and D Joel White in the 2012 All-Star Game. White and DeNapoli have joined Striebel as key players in the Rattlers turn around this season. White has four goals and five assists while his 37 ground balls are good for eighth in MLL. DeNapoli has eight transition goals (one two-point goal) and one assist this season, and he has scooped 27 ground balls. Both players were named to the All-Star Game for the first time in their careers this season.
Rattlers A Ned Crotty has re-emerged as Rochester’s star player after missing all or part of three games earlier this season. He missed the Rattlers 15-3 loss in Boston to open the season on April 28
th because of an NLL playoff game scheduled on the same night. On June 16
th Crotty had to leave the Rattlers 16-12 loss to the Outlaws in Denver with an ankle injury. The injury also forced him to miss the Rattlers 17-10 win over Hamilton on June 23
rd. Despite missing nearly a quarter of the season to date, Crotty leads the Rattlers in points (24) and assists (12) while he is third on the team in goals (12).
Crotty has been joined in the attack by veteran Kevin Leveille and Steve Boyle this season. Leveille has ten goals and two assists in six games. He entered the season with 230 career goals in eight seasons, and trails Goettelmann by 11 goals for the all-time record. Leveille sat out the 2011 MLL season, but Rochester retained his rights and has benefitted from his return in 2012. Boyle was the Rattlers first round selection (third overall) in the 2012 MLL Supplemental Draft, and he has scored 13 goals and added five assists in his first year with Rochester.
The Charlotte Hounds enter the game with three players with 30 or more points this season. A Matt Danowski has 14 goals (three two-point goals) and 18 assists for a team high 35 points – which ranks third in the league in scoring. M Stephen Berger leads the Hounds with 18 goals (three two-point goals) and nine assists for 30 points while A Jeremy Boltus has 17 goals (one two-point goal) and 12 assists for 30 points. Former Rattlers M Jovan Miller has 11 goals (two two-point goals) and five assists for 18 points. While the Hounds have players who can find the back of the net, they have also given up a league high 153 goals this season.
Tickets for Saturday night’s game against Charlotte are available by calling 585-454-5425 or by visiting rochesterrattlers.com