The Rochester Rattlers host the Long Island Lizards at 7PM on Friday, July 6 th in Sahlen’s Stadium. The Rattlers started off the season slowly due to NLL and NCAA obligations for almost two-thirds of the players currently on their roster, but they have rebounded to be 1.5 games out of the fourth and final MLL playoff spot. The Long Island Lizards are currently in second place in the league with a 5-2 record, but Rochester is unbeaten in Sahlen’s Stadium this season.
“After our draft in January we knew we were going to have a good team that could compete for a playoff spot.” Rattlers head coach Tim Soudan said. “We had to be patient at the start of the season as all of our pieces reported and started playing games for us, but I think we’re ready for a really good run in the second half of the season. Long Island is a good team, but if you want to make the playoffs then you have to be able to beat good teams.”
Superstar A Ned Crotty is expected to return to the line-up after recovering from an ankle injury that he suffered in a 16-12 loss to the Outlaws in Denver on June 16
th. Crotty, who leads the team in points (14) and assists (6) while he is second on the team in goals (8). Crotty led MLL in assists (29) and tied with Paul Rabil for the league’s scoring title on the way to being named an MLL All-Star and All-MLL for the first time in his career. He was also recognized as the Rattlers team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 2011. Crotty is expected to play in at least one of this weekend’s two games with Long Island.
Last week the Rochester Rattlers acquired M Rob Rotanz in a trade with the Ohio Machine. Rotanz was a two-time All-American with Duke University. He scored 40 goals and added eight assists on the Blue Devils Final Four team this spring. The Rattlers had to send the Machine both of their second round picks in the 2013 MLL Draft to get Rotanz. They are hoping he can be the dodging midfielder that they have been looking for this season.
Rotanz will be joining a midfield that is developing a number of attacking options. While Crotty missed the Rattlers 17-10 victory over the Hamilton Nationals in Sahlen’s Stadium on June 23
rd, the offense put together one of their best games of the season. M Jordan MacIntosh scored five goals and added one assist for six points. He currently leads the team in goals with nine. The week before new acquisition M Brad Ross scored a hat trick in Denver. Veteran M Matt Striebel was back in the 2012 MLL All-Star Game last weekend after scoring seven goals (4 2ptG) and adding two assists in the first half of the season. Two way middie Roy Lang has three goals and three assists this season, but one of those goals was the overtime game-winning goal in a 17-16 victory over Boston on June 1
“We’ve got an almost entirely new midfield from the one we started the season with.” Soudan said. “As we’ve made some trades and had some guys report we’ve become more athletic. As a result we’re creating and scoring more goals. With Kevin (Leveille) and (Ned) Crotty in the attack we’re going to score goals, but if the midfield can continue to contribute we think we’re going to be tough to beat.”
A Kevin Leveille has continued his renaissance in his return to MLL. Leveille scored 224 goals in his first seven seasons with Boston and Chicago, but sat out the 2011 season. He scored two goals in his first three games with the Rattlers. He has five goals and two assists in his last two games.
CBS Sports Network will be nationally televising the game, and live stats will be available at mll.stats.pointsbreak.com. Tickets are still available for Friday, July 6
th’s game with the Long Island Lizards. Tickets can be ordered by calling585.454.5425or by visiting rochesterrattlers.com.