Last Week: 1- 2 Season Record: 13- 15
There are only three games left in the MLL season and no playoff spots are secure.
The final three weeks will be very telling on who will succeed in Championship Weekend.
Momentum at the end of the season is key to having success in Championship Weekend. Last year, the two hottest teams at the end of the regular season were the Lizards and the Bayhawks. Those two teams faced each other in the finals to the chagrin of the Cannons and Outlaws, the two best teams in the league at the end of the regular season.
As of right now, the Nationals and the Lizards are the two hottest teams in the league, while the Cannons and Outlaws are beginning to struggle. Will it stay this way three weeks from now?
In case you missed it, here are my Week 9 picks.
Rochester Rattlers (2- 7) at Long Island Lizards (4- 5) – Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET
My Pick: Long Island Lizards
Two straight wins over the Denver Outlaws keeps the Rochester Rattlers playoff hopes alive. While I highly doubt they will end up making the playoffs, it is pretty remarkable how Head Coach Tim Soudan has turned their season around.
“They are really excited about the fact that we are still in playoff contention,” said Soudan in the MLL Coach’s Conference Call. “This is a great group of guys, they never give up. They never get down, they just keep plugging away.”
This is great news for a team whose core is built around rookies and second year players.
Soudan said the Rattlers need to “get better defensively and focus on that.” Last week they held a potent Outlaws offense to just 8 goals. Pretty impressive and very encouraging for the franchise looking forward.
But will they beat the Lizards in Long Island, a team who is coming off back-to-back wins over the Cannons and Bayhawks? Nope.
Hamilton Nationals (5- 4) at Chesapeake Bayhawks (5- 4) – Saturday at 7 p.m. ET
My Pick: Hamilton Nationals
The Hamilton Nationals are 4-1 in the last 5 games, their one loss coming in a heartbreaking 12- 11 defeat against the Bayhawks in Week 8.
Right now the Nationals are the hottest team in the league. While 80 percent (estimate) of their roster are rookies, they have all adjusted to the speed and difficulty of the league.
Now they will add Casey Powell, one of the league’s all- time best players, who, Inside Lacrosse has confirmed, will report.
There is just no stopping the Nationals right now.
Boston Cannons (6- 3) at Denver Outlaws (5- 4) – Saturday at 9 p.m. ET
My Pick: Boston Cannons
This is a pivotal game for both teams. Both franchises have a history of free falling at the end of the season. Both teams were riding pretty just before the All- Star break. Since, they are both 0- 2.
The Cannons can clinch a playoff spot with a win, the Outlaws need to win to stay afloat.
The fact of the matter is one team with head into week 11 with a ton of confidence and the other will be gasping for air.
Follow me on twitter: @DerekB_McLean