Dallas Does it Again 6/23/18

Photo Credit: John Zumbado

Tom Coyne, Beat Writer Dallas Rattlers
Lacrosse is Awesome

Major League Lacrosse was busy Saturday June 23 and so were the Rattlers or as I like to refer to them as the “Battlers”.  If you have not been paying attention, there is a new sheriff in town. The Dallas Rattlers (8-2) the first team to win eight games in 2018.  They won their third in a row and continue to hold onto first place in the MLL standings all alone in the Lone Star State.  Playing in Atlanta against the Blaze (3-6) whose first-year Head Coach Liam Banks (Ward Melville High School alum/lax legend in my opinion is currently ranked No. 1 in the universe) promised a battle and that it was.  Final Score:  Dallas 16—Atlanta 14.

Starting out the first, the Ratz scored in the first minute from Jordan Wolf (3G, 3A) the team’s leading scorer with 46 points so far netting one unassisted at the 1:00 mark. Atlanta would score off an unassisted shot by Christian Cuccinello (1G, 1A) at the 3:02 mark tying the game up for the Blaze.  What happened next was a harbinger of things to come. At 4:45 John Ranagan (5G, 1-2PtG) would put Dallas on top to stay scoring his first of five goals one of which a key two-pointer late in the game. Dallas would score again at the 5:48 mark on a goal by rookie sensation Ben Reeves (1G, 3A) off of an assist from Ty Thompson (1A) his second apple of the season. Entering the game, Thompson was in a three-way tie for most goals scored this season with 28 but only 1 assist. The Rattlers would hold the lead the remainder of the contest maintaining sole possession of first place as well. The score at the half was 11-6, in favor of Dallas.

The Blaze made good on their rookie head coach’s pre-game remarks as it was quite a battle indeed.  They outscored the Ratz 5-1 in the third making it just a one-goal affair 12-11 with the Rattlers hanging on to the vanishing lead.  Jack Near (1G, 1-2PtG) and Ranagan would both score two pointers off  assists; Near’s in the second quarter assist Reeves; Ranagan’s in the fourth assist Wolf giving Dallas the cushion they would need to stay ahead.

The two teams traded goals after that both scoring twice though Atlanta’s final goal with just: 55 seconds remaining, was a two-pointer by rookie Connor Kelly (4G,1-2PtG) making it 16-14 with under a minute to play.  In the game, Kelly would double his goals scored this season and then light up the scoreboard with two more bringing his season total to six.

Photo Credit: John Zumbado

Drew Simoneau (11GB, 18-31 FO) has been a key to the Rattlers success and won the crucial final battle at the faceoff “X” allowing Dallas to preserve the lead, the victory and first place.

Of course you don’t just win with great offense, it takes a great defense, a hot goal keeper and Dallas has both. John Galloway (18SV) as always leads the defensive charge by example hustling to the end line after the opponent shoots off cage, picking off passes near his crease, directing the defense like a conductor, and making pin-point accurate outlet passes.

The Rattlers and Blaze ironically play each of their next games against the Charlotte Hounds (6-4).  The Hounds slipped in the standings losing to the Florida Launch in Charlotte 21-17, leaving them tied for third with the red-hot Denver Outlaws (6-4) who defeated the Ohio Machine (2-7) leaving the champs alone in the MLL cellar. Coupled with a win from the Boston Cannons (3-6) over the New York Lizards (4-5) by a score of 15-13, the Chesapeake Bayhawks (6-2) hold onto second place just a game back from the Ratz.

The Blaze (3-6) head to Charlotte to play the Hounds on June 30th; and the Rattlers will host Charlotte in Dallas on July 7th.

Tom Coyne, Beat Writer Dallas Rattlers
Lacrosse is Awesome

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