The Rochester Rattlers are hosting the Hamilton Nationals on Friday, June 24 at 7:30PM in Sahlen’s Stadium. The Nationals defeated the Rattlers 14-13 in their first-ever meeting in Rochester on June 10 th. Rochester’s one goal loss was the closest margin of defeat that they have suffered this season. The Rattlers have lost their last two games by a combined three goals.
The Rattlers have developed a new attacking trio over the last two weeks. Second-year attacker Ned Crotty had the best game of his career against the Nationals on June 10
th with five goals and two assists. Even though he has played one less game than the league leaders, Crotty still ranks second in the MLL in goals (12) and fifth in points (17). Crotty was joined in the attack last week by rookies Jordan McBride and Grant Catalino, who were both making their MLL debuts. McBride earned the Cascade MLL Rookie of the Week award with four goals and two assists in his debut. Webster, New York native Grant Catalino recorded his first professional point on an assist to Anthony Kelly in the final minute of the first half. “I think our attacking group is good at this point. Ned Crotty is among the leading scorers in the league. Jordan McBride had a huge impact in his debut and (Grant) Catalino showed that he can play and contribute at this level. We’re really excited about the potential of this young attacking trio.” Rattlers coach BJ O’Hara said.
There are talented young players throughout the Rochester Rattlers roster at this point in the 2011 Major League Lacrosse season. Thirteen of the nineteen players expected to dress on Friday are in their first or second year in the league. “We have pretty much finished overhauling the Chicago Machine roster from last season, and we are excited about the talent that we have in Rochester at the moment. While there’s a lot of talent and a lot of guys with a bright future in Rochester right now, there are times when I’ve got six or seven rookies and two second-year guys out on the field. The only veteran out there will be Matt (Striebel), or (Greg) Bice or Joe Smith. This really is a young group learning as they go.” O’Hara said.
In 2005 Rochester’s then second-year coach BJ O’Hara got off to an 0-5 start losing their first five games by a combined margin of 28 goals. The 2005 edition of the Rattlers ended up turning things around by winning six of their last seven games to qualify for the MLL playoffs that year. O’Hara is the only coach in MLL history to accomplish such a feat.
The 2011 edition of the Rattlers are off to an 0-4 start, but posted a season high in goals and points in their 16-14 loss to the Boston Cannons on June 17
th. “We’re getting closer. We have the talent in place, but we’re still making mistakes that young players in this league make. We’re getting caught in changes or changing where we shouldn’t be. These are all things that we can learn about the game and make the appropriate adjustments.” O’Hara said.
The Rattlers and Nationals have a unique home and home series this weekend. Rochester’s next game is Saturday, June 25
th at 7PM against the Nationals in Hamilton. The series gives Rochester the chance to catch up to the Long Island Lizards who are currently a game and a half in front of the Rattlers for the last playoff spot. “The two games definitely offer a unique challenge. We’ll rotate our guys and maybe mix up the line-ups a little bit to try to keep our guys fresh. It’s a challenge that both teams will face.” O’Hara said.