Week six of the MLL season saw a lot of action, and it all started on Thursday night with the Denver Outlaws annual Fourth of July game. This year Denver hosted the Chesapeake Bayhawks and secured the 14-13 win.
In the lone Saturday night game the Chesapeake Bayhawks beat the Atlanta Blaze 16-13. On Sunday the Boston Cannons defeated the Dallas Rattlers 15-11 and the Atlanta Blaze beat the New York Lizards 12-11.
Here are some players that really stood out during week six of the MLL season.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
It’s been said over and over again. Lyle Thompson is the best player in the world. That statement rang true this weekend as he put on an absolute show in both of the Bayhawks games.
The attackman lit up the crowds in both games with his usual insane finishes and impressive plays that look nearly impossible. Thompson was the focal point of the offense, but as usual he did much more than just put up points.
Thompson, as usual, was the hardest working player on the field at any given time. The attackman was not only scoring, but riding harder and more efficiently than other players in transition. As a result he also racked up a few caused turnovers and ground balls in both games.
In the Chesapeake loss against Denver on Thursday, Thompson had six points (5G,1A). In the win against Atlanta he tallied eight points (5G,3A). Thompson is now first in the league in points with 25.
DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
On Sunday the Boston Cannons sent the Dallas Rattlers searching elsewhere for their first win of the season. While Boston got the win by a score of 15-11 this game was pretty wide open until the final period.
Veteran defenseman PT Ricci can be given a ton of credit for Boston pulling out this one as he really helped lead the defense. Ricci’s performance helped the Cannons really get their transition started quickly, especially in the second half when they needed it most to start pulling away.
Ricci was giving every opposing player a very tough time getting anything going at all. He was all over the defensive end and really showed why he has been successful in this league for such a long time.
In Boston’s win over Dallas Ricci recorded one caused turnover while also scooping up four ground balls.
GOALIE OF THE WEEK
On Thursday night Dillon Ward yet again proved to the lacrosse world why he is considered one of the best, if not the best, goalie in the sport right now. Ward stood on his head, helping to lead the Denver defense all game.
While the weather delay did seem to mess with Ward a tad bit due to how the ball was bouncing he recovered quickly. Ward’s dominance came out early when he shut the door on Lyle Thompson, even after a few fakes were thrown. It was simply a world class play by a world class player.
He also got hot down the stretch when the game was in the balance, helping to pull out the Denver win. Ward finished the game with 12 saves off of 26 shots on goal.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Atlanta was put in a difficult situation this weekend when Randy Staats – the team’s leading scorer – was ejected in the second quarter of Saturday’ game against Chesapeake and given a one-game suspension.
With that hole to fill rookie midfielder Brendan Sunday stepped up to the challenge and absolutely delivered with his play on the offensive end. Sunday was not only a contributor, but a key figure in both games for Atlanta over the weekend. He thrived as both a passing and scoring threat, and no one seemed to be able to slow him down.
In Atlanta’s loss against Chesapeake Sunday tallied five points (3G,2A). The midfielder had three points (2G,1A) while also scooping up 3 ground balls in Atlanta’s win against New York.
Can Dallas Finally Get Things Clicking?
The Dallas Rattlers have been one of the more depressing stories of the season as they have yet to win a game, sitting at 0-6 on the season. While Dallas hasn’t won a game they have shown signs of growth as a young team and the future is certainly bright.
Dallas showed again this weekend against Boston that they can play with anyone. The question that many have is can Dallas finally put together a full game? They have had great quarters and can hang for a half, but past that something is just not clicking as of yet.
On defense for Dallas they have been pretty decent with Christian Carson-Banister in cage while Jake Pulver, Craig Chick, and others lead that close defense group. Also, Eli Salama has been a stellar LSM getting it done each and every week.
While Dallas has had a somewhat impressive defense, it’s the offense that seems to still be lagging behind. Even with Bryce Wasserman, Lucas Wittenberg, and others points are still hard to come by. They have improved and shown great promise but those chances have been very minimal. Dallas has the ability to push their foot on the gas and go in the fast lane all game long.
The only thing stopping them is their own mistakes and growing pains. It’s a slow process, but things can look much better in Rattler land.