Thursday, May 30, 2013

Game Preview: Denver vs. Boston

Opponent: Boston Cannons (1-3)
When: Friday, May 31, 7:30 p.m. MDT
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver
 All-time vs. Boston: 5-8 (Home: 0-5)

Promotions: $1 hot dogs (while supplies last) and the Guys/Gals Night Offer: For $29.00, fans receive two general admission tickets, two hot dogs, and two beers or soft drinks.
Matchup: After a bye week for both teams, Denver and Boston will meet for the second -- and final -- time in the 2013 regular season. The game marks the second straight home contest for the Outlaws after the team played the first three games of the season on the road.
“Someone told me yesterday that we have never beat Boston in Denver," Stagnitta said. "There is history – and we have enough veteran leadership – our guys understand the quality of (the Cannons). I don’t think you could ever look at a Boston-Denver game and think it would be a trap game for either team. No, I don’t see that coming into play at all. Particularly with the fact that they beat the Bayhawks two weeks ago. Certainly they are going to have our full attention.”
Last Time They Played: Denver earned a 14-10 victory in the Week 3 meeting between the two teams, which represents the closest margin of any contest in the team's 4-0 start to the season.
Midfielder Drew Snider was named the player of the game after finishing with a career best five goals and five total points.
Despite the fact that Cannons attackman Ryan Boyle became Major League Lacrosse's all-time leading scorer in the game, Outlaws defenseman Lee Zink kept him without a goal, limiting the explosive attackman to just two assists and three shots on the night.

The Outlaws also managed to limit midfielder Paul Rabil to two goals on 11 shots in the contest as goalie Jesse Schwartzman earned Defensive Player of the Week honors with 17 saves on 27 shots.

Last Week: Both teams are coming off a bye week that was preceded by a victory. 
The Outlaws earned the franchise's second-largest margin of victory with a 20-7 win vs. Rochester in the team's 2013 home opener. Attackman Chris Bocklet led the way with his second six-goal outing of the year to go with two assists for a career-high eight points, attackman Jeremy Boltus added five goals and two assists and attackman Brendan Mundorf threw in four goals with two assists to finish with six points.

Zink earned the league' Defensive Player of the Week Award after holding Rattlers attackman Ned Crotty to zero points and just one shot on the night.

Boston earned its first victory of the season in dramatic fashion over the defending MLL Champion Chesapeake Bayhawks.

Boyle notched the overtime winner 1:26 into the extra session to give the Cannons the 15-14 victory. Boyle was rewarded with MLL Offensive Player of the Week honors.
History: The Outlaws have never defeated the Cannons in Denver, dropping all five games in the Mile High City. Denver is enjoying its first win streak in the series between the two teams having won the final matchup against Boston in 2012 and defeating the Cannons again earlier this season. 
Overall, the Outlaws are 5-8 against the Cannons. Boston had won three straight games and six-of-seven before Denver's current two-game win streak in the series. 

Preview: As teams around the league continue to gel as roster pieces are added from NLL and NCAA action, the Outlaws have been able to earn victories throughout the process.

Denver will look to continue its franchise-record win streak that reached 10 games with the club's Week 4 win over Rochester as Boston comes to visit on Friday night.
Throughout the early portion of the schedule, consistency has been a point of emphasis from the Outlaws' coaching staff has been consistency. 

“Last weekend, I thought that we did a really nice job of being consistent throughout the game," Head Coach Jim Stagnitta said. "I think it was our first time this year we played consistently for multiple quarters without having any real lapses. I think that has to do with the fact that it was game four and we are getting more accustomed to playing with each other. But again, I think that our best days are in front of us and I expect us to continue to improve and become more comfortable and in sync each week.”
When Denver Has The Ball: Through five weeks of play, the Outlaws lead the league with 68 points scored and also in scoring margin with a +27 mark. Denver is also on top of the MLL with a .374 shooting percentage.
The team's dangerous offense is led by five players who rank in the league's top 13 for goals scored. Chris Bocklet leads all MLL players with 15 tallies. Mundorf is tied for the league lead with seven assists.

Drew Snider has netted both of his career high scoring outputs against the Cannons -- a three-goal performance in 2012 and a five-goal game earlier this year. 
Cannons defenseman Ryan Nizolek, who has appeared in all four games to start the season, will miss this week's contest as he serves a one-game suspension from the MLL.

When Boston Has The Ball: Once again, it's Rabil and Boyle who handle most of the scoring for the Cannons, combining for 28 total points on the year.

Boyle, who became the league's all-time leading scorer earlier this season, is the reigning MLL Offensive Player of the Week. Rabil ranks second in the league with 18 total points.
In the team's Week 3 matchup, Zink and Boyle matched up throughout the game with Boyle managing just two assists.

Zink is the defending MLL Defensive Player of the Week, setting up the second-straight Outlaws contest featuring the league's Offensive Player of the Week against the Defensive Player of the Week.

When Nobody Has The Ball: Anthony Kelly continued his early-season success in Denver's win over Rochester, pulling in 21-of-31 (.677 pct.) of faceoffs. That winning percentage ranked fifth in team history and the 21 total faceoff wins tied for ninth.
"Anthony is healthy this year," Stagnitta said. "And he’s a veteran who gives us not just a great faceoff guy but gives us great leadership in the locker room."

On the season, Kelly is 69-of-107 (.645 pct.), which ranks second in the league. His 69 wins are the most in the league and his 107 attempts rank second.
“I think we’re powerful enough and explosive enough on offense that if we have possessions and have the ball, we’re very capable," Stagnitta said. "Anthony has been able to get us the ball consistently this season.”

Chris Eck is also coming off a successful outing for Boston in which he own 20-30 (.667 pct.) in the Cannons' overtime win vs. Chesapeake. Eck ranks third in the league with 42 wins in 82 attempts (.512 pct.) thus far.
Battle In Net: Outlaws goalie Jesse Schwartzman has saved 27-of-42 shots on goal (.643 pct.) over the past two games. He stopped 10-of-15 shots (.667 pct.) against Rochester in Week 4 and turned away 17-of-27 (.630 pct.) against the Cannons in Week 3.
Cannons goalie Jordan Burke is expected to return to the lineup after missing two games while on injured reserved. Before his injury, he saved 21-of-44 shots (.477 pct.) and allowed an average of 15.24 goals per game.
“Jesse has been great back-to-back weeks," Stagnitta said. "He’s beat up, he’s getting hit with the ball, he’s been consistent. What you don’t recognize is how great he’s been in the clearing game. We don’t turn the ball over there at all. He leads the defense. I think he’s been playing as well as he had at any point last year.”

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