Thursday, June 27, 2013

Game Preview: Charlotte at Denver

By: Lopa Rahman

Denver's Anthony Kelly facing off against Charlotte's Tim Fallon in the Outlaws' season-opening win against the Hounds on April 27
Opponent: Charlotte Hounds (4-4)
When: Saturday, June 29, 7 p.m. MDT
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colo.
Broadcast: CBS Sports (National)
All-time vs. Charlotte: 3-0

Matchup: Coming off a 19-5 win against the Ohio Machine in a record-breaking defensive performance, the Outlaws (8-0) remain at home this weekend against the Charlotte Hounds. When the two teams last met in the Outlaws' 2013 season opener, Denver beat Charlotte 21-16 on the road. Last weekend, the Hounds captured a 16-15 overtime win against the Chesapeake Bayhawks, the reigning national champions.

“We’ve just got to focus on getting better and be ready to play, and be ready to play for four quarters,” Outlaws attackman Chris Bocklet said. “There are a lot of games where we haven’t had to play for that fourth quarter, and I’m expecting a battle throughout all four quarters.” 

History: Since the Hounds’ inception in 2012, they have lost all three of their games against the Outlaws.

Last Week: Denver continued to hold a two-game lead atop the MLL standings with a 19-5 win against a struggling Ohio squad.  

“We did some things that I really was pleased with. We ran the field, we probably had six or seven pure fast-break goals,” Outlaws Head Coach Jim Stagnitta said. “That’s something that we strive to do and it’s part of our makeup. But again, we had some stretches where we turned the ball over and we were inconsistent. We still have some work to do. We’re pleased with the progress, but for us – and the approaches we take – it’s week by week. I don’t think our guys look at it that we haven’t lost a game yet. I think they look at it as being part of the season and that we haven’t reached our first goal yet, which is to qualify for that Final Four weekend.”

Bocklet led the way for Denver with six goals, becoming the first Outlaw to record three six-goal games in a single season. Eric Law and Drew Snider each completed a hat trick. Seven of Denver’s 19 goals were scored in the second quarter.

“We were getting some fast-break opportunities [in the second quarter] because our defense was playing so well, and we were able to capitalize on them and run away with the game,” Law said.

While the Outlaws preserved their undefeated record with their eighth win of the season, the Hounds moved up to third in the league standings with their 16-15 win against the Bayhawks. Matt Danowski paced Charlotte’s offense with seven points, earning him MLL Warrior Offensive Player of the Weekhonors.

When Denver Has the Ball: With 140 tallies on the season, the Outlaws lead the MLL in goals scored by a large margin. Denver boasts three of the league’s top-five points leaders. Chris Bocklet ranks third with 32 points this year, Drew Snider sits at fourth with a point total of 30, and Brendan Mundorf rounds out the top five with 29 points. Bocklet is tied with Hamilton’s Kevin Crowley in goals scored with 26 on the season.

When Charlotte Has the Ball: With 104 goals this year, the Hounds are the second-highest scoring team in the MLL. Their biggest offensive threats are Danowski, whose 25 points tie for sixth in the league, and Ryan Young, who has registered 24 points.

When Nobody Has the Ball: Denver’s Anthony Kelly continues to rank second in the MLL in faceoff percentage. He has won 133-of-223 attempts for a percentage of 58.5. Sitting in the middle of league in that category, the Hounds have posted a faceoff percentage of 46.4, good for fifth in the MLL. Kelly’s 19-of-27 (.704 pct) outing at the X against the Machine last weekend ranks fourth in franchise history. Charlotte’s Tim Fallon also had a strong showing at the X, winning 19-of-31 attempts (.613 pct) against Chesapeake.

Battle in Net: Saturday’s matchup will pit two top-four goalies against each other. Schwartzman’s goals-against average of 9.66 ranks first in the league, while the Hounds’ Adam Ghitelman has recorded a goals-against average of 11.81, good for fourth in the MLL. Schwartzman surrendered just three goals to Ohio through three quarters before he was relieved by backup goalie Charlie Cipriano, while Ghitelman stopped 15-of-28 (.536 pct) of Chesapeake’s shots on goal.


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