Over the past few years, the presence of major professional sports leagues in North America playing games outside of the countries they have franchises in has become quite common. The NBA, NHL, and NFL have all done this. Whether it is a pre-season showcase or a regular-season tilt, each of those three leagues have played a game outside of the United States or Canada at some point in time over the past five years. Continue reading “Will Pro Lacrosse Ever Go Global?”→
The Chesapeake Bayhawks prevailed through a huge second half comeback from the Denver Outlaws to finish the game on top, securing the win and capturing the Steinfeld Cup. Rookie Andrew Kew scored the game-winner for Chesapeake in the final minute of the game, putting in an absolute rocket of a shot. Continue reading “Chesapeake Dethrones Denver to Claim Sixth MLL Title”→
It is MLL Championship weekend with the semifinals taking place on Friday and the championship on Sunday. Friday’s semifinals get underway with the Chesapeake Bayhawks taking on the Atlanta Blaze in the first semifinal game at 7PM ET. The Denver Outlaws will face the Boston Cannons in the second semifinal at 10PM ET. Continue reading “One Key For Each Team To Make An MLL Championship Run”→
Japanese lacrosse took another big step in the right direction on Friday night as Denver Outlaws attackman Kohta Kurashima made his MLL debut and scored in the Denver Outlaws 13-11 loss against the Chesapeake Bayhawks, becoming the first Japanese-born player to score a goal in the professional lacrosse history.
Kurashima making history as the first Japanese-born player to score a goal in professional lacrosse comes just one year and 60 days after Denver Outlaws reserve goalie Kaisuke Iwamoto made history as the first Japanese-born player to play in a professional lacrosse game. Iwamoto was also suited up on Saturday, making it the first time in history that two Japanese-born players appeared on the same game day roster, as well.
“He is the pioneer of Japanese players in the MLL and I have so much respect for him, I was so glad to be suiting up with him during the same game.”, Kurashima said when asked about being on the same team as Iwamoto, who is also roommates with Kurashima in Denver.
The attackman was signed to the Outlaws roster at the beginning of the 2019 season after open tryouts and spent the first 15 weeks of the season on the practice roster. He was promoted to the active roster on September 17th before making his MLL debut in Friday’s game.
When asked about his reaction when he first heard he was going to suit up on Saturday, Kurashima said, “When I first heard that I was suiting up I was surprised and couldn’t stop smiling, but honestly, I was pretty nervous. I have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time so I made up my mind to play aggressive.”
Kurashima had never played lacrosse until he got to college at Seikei University in Musashino, Tokyo, Japan. “When I first saw the game, I thought it was the coolest and most exciting sport that I had ever seen.”, said Kurashima when asked about his start in lacrosse.
Kurashima’s goal came early in the game as he put Denver back up 2-1 after Chesapeake had just tied it. Posted behind the cage at X, Jack Jasinski feed Kurashima the ball and then replaced him at X as Kurashima drove towards the cage and ripped it before the Chesapeake defender could ever make contact with him, stinging the top right corner.
When asked about scoring that goal, Kurashima said, “After I scored, I felt I was the happiest guy in the world. It was absolutely the best moment I’ve ever had.”
Kurashima’s goal sent shockwaves across the lacrosse landscape. The video of his goal made its way around social media all weekend and captured the lacrosse community across the globe. Kurashima said that he had more than 100 messages after the game and that he felt like he had made history.
While the celebration and acknowledgment from those afar meant a lot to Kurashima, he said the celebration with his teammates was most special. “My teammates were celebrating with me after I scored the goal and after the game, too. Those moments were special to me and I want to say thanks to my teammates and coaches who supported me.”
Following the action during week 14 of the MLL season, the four team playoff field has been officially set and all that is to be decided is the seedings of each team. Those will unfold over the course of the final weeks of the season.
The four teams that have clinched a playoff berth this year are the Atlanta Blaze, Boston Cannons, Chesapeake Bayhawks, and Denver Outlaws. The four will descend upon Denver, Colorado October 4th-6th for championship weekend.
Of the teams that have made the playoffs this season, Atlanta is the only one making their debut. The Blaze have missed out on the playoffs in each of their three seasons prior to this year. Atlanta currently sits in second place with an 8-6 record and one of the league’s deepest and most electric offenses.
Denver, the defending champs, sits in first place with a 9-5 record. The Outlaws have never missed the playoffs in franchise history and have the second most titles with three. The Chesapeake Bayhawks are in third place with an 8-6 record and have clinched a playofd berth for the tenth time in franchise history. The Bayhawks have the most MLL titles (5) with their last coming in 2013. Boston sits in fourth place with an 8-6 record. The Cannons have made the playoff eleven times in franchise history and have one championship (2011).
The Dallas Rattlers’ seemingly unthinkable winning streak has come to an end with their 11-10 home loss against the New York Lizards on Saturday night. The hottest streak in sports may be dead, but not forgotten.
Until Saturday, Dallas enjoyed sis straight wins that saw their team as a whole really come together, mature, and start to play some of the best and smartest lacrosse of any team in the MLL. Let’s take a trip back and look at each of those wins during Dallas’ streak that was.
July 21st: Dallas 11, Denver 8
It was the upset of the season as the Dallas Rattlers took down the defending champions Denver Outlaws, snapping their seven-game losing streak and starting their six-game winning streak.
The Rattler’s defense had their best game to date, holding their opponent to single digits for the first and only time this season. Also, rookie goalie Sean Sconone made 20 saves and solidified himself as the primary starter.
Aug. 3rd: Dallas 16, Atlanta 14
The Rattlers were able to pull out a close one on the road in Atlanta against a red hot offense to secure their second win of the season and really start to turn some heads.
Dallas’ offense struck early and kept them alive, despite Atlanta being able to get plenty of possessions with Alex Woodall going 26-33 at the faceoff dot. Bryce Wasserman had one of the best games of his career, tallying seven points (5G/2A) to lead the Rattlers’ to victory.
Aug. 10th: Dallas 15, New York 11
Following this win, you could officially call it a streak. The Rattlers secured their first home win of the season against New York to push the win streak to three games.
Rookie Bradley Voigt took the New York Lizards’ defense by the tail and threw them around every which way as he unloaded six points (4G/2A) to help lead Dallas to victory. Also, it was another great performance for the Dallas defense and their offense really started to show their depth of scoring.
Aug 17th: Dallas 17, Denver 12
Denver would not find the revenge they were looking for as Dallas kept their streak alive with the 17-12 win.
With Jack Curran leading the way, Dallas outplayed Denver in pretty much every aspect of the game. While Curran was the Man in this game for the Dallas offense, Ryan McNamara and others also contributed heavily, as well. Again, Dallas just looked like the better team and played smarter against the defending champs.
Aug. 24th: Dallas 13, Boston 10
Going on the road against the top team in the league is never easy, but Dallas survived and proved all the hater wrong.
The Rattlers showed that they knew how to win close games and that their two-goal win over Atlanta was no fluke. Dallas didn’t win in every category, but the contributions they got from Bradley Voigt and Jack Curran gave them a huge boost against a tough Boston defense.
Aug. 25th: Dallas 14, Chesapeake 13
On the road in their second game in as many days, Dallas showed everyone what they are made of as they came from behind and exploded in the fourth to secure the win.
In addition to the offensive depth they showed, Jake Pulver and the Dallas defensive unit stepped up big time once more. They held Lyle Thompson to just two goals, even with Sconone not having his best performance in goal.