The Denver Outlaws try to remain undefeated as the Boston Cannons come to town Friday in the MLL.

In Week 4, Boston handed the Chesapeake Bayhawks their first loss of the season. After starting out 0-3, the Cannons are starting to gel, and players like Mike Stone and Paul Rabil are putting the scoring on their shoulders. They will travel this Friday to Denver, CO to take on the red-hot, undefeated 4-0 Denver Outlaws. The Outlaws beat the Cannons 14-10 in Week 3 and this time around it is most likely going to be a closer score. The Outlaws are truly clicking on offense….getting contributions from nearly every short-stick touching the field. The Outlaws have never beaten the Cannons at home in Denver….will they break that tradition?

Keys to victory:

GOALIE PLAY

This one is going to be a shootout! Paul Rabil can shoot the ball from about midfield and his comrades Kevin Buchanan and Mike Stone are squirmy dodgers that finish. Jesse Schwartzman is going to have his hands full with these guys, but if his defense (Lee Zink, Dillon Roy, Bocklet and Guadagnolo) plays any bit like they did in the last game versus Rochester, the Cannon attack is in trouble. Schwartzman has a .547 save percentage in his first 4 outings, but he hasn’t really been tested with outside shooters. I expect Jesse to play big and come up with some big saves in the fourth quarter to seal his team’s victory.

On the other side of the field, it could be Mike Gabel starting or possibly….Jordan Burke will be all healed up from his broken thumb injury. Gabel has stepped in for the injured starter and played ok….but it really is a reflection on his close defenders  why they lost the first few games. Burke is definitely the better talent in the net, but if he isn’t healthy and comfortable, it isn’t worth losing him for the rest of the season by playing him. Denver has one of the most dangerous attack units in the MLL with Boltus, Mundorf and Bocklet…so whoever is in the net, will have to stand on his head.

DENVER’S ATTACK OR MIDFIELD?

It appears in almost every outing for the Outlaws this season, either the attack have been shutoff and the midfielders stepped up, or vice versa. Last game, the trio of Bocklet, Boltus and Mundorf did the heavy lifting and scored 15 of the 20 goals scored. In Week 3 versus Boston, Snider, Seiverts, and Zack Greer put on a show at the midfield position. Boston will need to come out with a balanced defensive strategy to ensure that neither unit gets a leg up and runs the score up. I expect the Cannon’s defense to be pretty aggressive but still this is going to be a high scoring match.

PAUL RABIL

After watching this guy through college and in the pro’s, I still believe he is the most dynamic game changer in the lacrosse world. With this past NLL season, his Philly Wings only played well when Rabil had big games. He might be a leader on the field, but he needs to step up as a vocal leader for his entire offense and be a true quarterback that his Cannons team needs. Rabil needs to test out Jesse Schwartzman by shooting hard and often from the outside to keep him honest. If big Paul can play well, the Boston Cannons will have a shot in the game.

 

PREDICTION

Boston is riding high off of that last win versus the Bayhawks, but Denver is potentially the best offense in the league this season. I think this will come down to who has the better goaltending and defense!

Close-one all the way down to the final few minutes!……Denver Outlaws 18------Ohio Machine 15