ILA Men’s Summer League finished Week 1 with the Four Horsemen riding on top and the Kings being crushed beneath the heels of the peasantry. Did anything change? Let’s find out together.
First, the results; second, the commentary; third, some metrics.
Manly Men 9, Bombers 13
Four Horsemen 9, Kings 7
Flying Dutchmen 13, Scoundrels 13
Oat 8, Whalers 9
Kings 7, Oat 11
Scoundrels 10, Manly Men 17
Whalers 15, Flying Dutchmen 13
Bombers 17, Four Horsemen 5
*Standings are determined first by winning pct, and next by scoring ratio.
|Team||Wins||Losses||Winning Pct.||Goals||Against||Average Score||Average Goals Against||Scoring Ratio|
The pecking order is beginning to become apparent, though the explanation is less than clear in some cases. On paper, our 7th and 8th place teams are fearsome but the potential isn’t translating into results.
The Broadway Bombers (#1 at 3-1) are offensive juggernauts, averaging 14.5 goals per game and a 1.41 Scoring Ratio, both of which are a league-best. Attackman Grant Band alone is scoring 8 goals every time he takes the field. This week the Bombers were lucky enough to borrow Kevin Kaup (2012 PNCLL Defensive MVP) on Tuesday and Shawn Carman (2009 PNCLL Defensive MVP) on Thursday to man the cage while the Bombers’ rostered goalie was on vacation. Meanwhile the Bombers’ pole core arrived on Tuesday to relieve the patchwork defense that had been pieced together in Week 1. Finally, the Bombers’ sideline in Week 2 was noticeably more well-stocked than many other teams; aside from goalies, the Bombers have not yet had to bring in ringers to reach the 13-player minimum. This formula yielded formidable results, as the Bombers defeated the #2 Manly Men 13-9 and then dominated the #1 Four Horsemen (who were short-handed and weren’t as lucky in their recruiting) 17-5.
The Warm Springs Ave. Whalers (#2 at 3-1) aren’t blowing anybody out but they’re beating good teams with timely scoring and a tough defense. On Tuesday the Whalers cracked the Oats 9-8 in the last minute of the game. On Thursday, the Whalers overcame a short roster with some good recruiting and with the help of the Manly Mens’ Jon Mundy, and the Scoundrels’ Joe Eck and Brian Sanderson, outgunned the Flying Dutchmen 15-13.
The Whalers are sporting the #2 defense in the league, as opponents are averaging only 9.5 gpg. This is all the more impressive considering the team’s defensive anchor, Josh Rude, has been out with a minor knee injury. When Josh returns, the Whalers might get real tough to score on.
The Franklin Four Horsemen (#3 at 3-1) were continuing to do “just enough.” In Week 1 they squeaked by Oat 9-8 and the Whalers 9-7. The harbingers of the apocalypse continued this trend in Week 2 by holding off the Kings on Tuesday by a score of 9-7. This left the Horsemen as the only remaining undefeated team going into Thursday’s game against the Bombers. Unfortunately, the Four Horsemen weren’t able to rally all of the necessary ponies and found themselves short-handed and out-recruited by the then-#2 Bombers who dominated the game 17-5. In fairness, the Horsemen were without their stud goalie, Lee Shaw, and midfield standout and faceoff man Jake Christensen. Meanwhile the Bombers managed to finagle Shawn Carman into the cage while Brandon Payne was on vacation. It doesn’t take a swami to see how that might be a recipe for disaster. The Bombers were able to dominate possession and the unscrupulous Band(itos) Bros. took advantage of the situation by tallying 14 out of the Bombers’ 17 goals.
Despite being tied for the best record at 3-1, the Four Horsemen have the second-worst scoring ratio at .79 and are averaging only 7.75 goals per game. If the Horsemen want to hang at the top, they’ll need to find a way to put the biscuit in the basket a few more times each game.
The Milwaukee Manly Men (#4 at 2-2) are better than their record and have scored league-second-best 51 goals thus far. The mustachioed gents are also playing strong defense and have a second-best 1.214 scoring ratio. Led by lax maestro Jon Mundy, the Manly Men have fantastic goalkeeping courtesy of Shawn Carman and a lumberjack defense anchored by Leland McCluskey (whose handiwork is still visible on this writer’s arms, back, chest, and shoulders several days later).
When the Manly Men are hummin’, they’re hard to stop. The Kings and Scoundrels are keenly aware of this, having lost 16-8 and 17-10 respectively. However, MMM has struggled with consistency on offense and put up only 9 against both the Whalers and Bombers. If these Men can iron out the kinks, watch out.
Overland Oat (#5 at 2-2) is another team not to be judged by their record and are mere percentage points in the scoring ratio behind the Manly Men (they trail the Manly Men by a minuscule 0.002 in this category). They have the league’s best defense, having given up only 33 (8.25 per game), an especially impressive fact given that not all of their poles have checked in and they’re consistently playing with the minimum roster of 13. What Oat hasn’t been able to do is win the close game. Each of Oat’s two losses (to the Horsemen and Whalers) was by a mere 1-goal margin, while each win (over the Dutchmen and Kings) was by 4 goals or more.
What Oat has going for it is consistency all the way through its roster and performance at each position. Krieg “the Daywalker” Shaw anchors the midfield and is nigh impossible to stop on a clear and BSU trio Taylor Stover, Dillon Guth, and Ryan Lindsay are all two-way threats and solid in transition. Tyler Reitz, Gabe Border, and Gunnar Guth are proven finishers on attack; and the Broncos’ fittest pony Blaine Ottinger leads a relentless defense alongside Utah’s James Hardy.
Oat takes on the Bombers in the late set on Tuesday in a game featuring the #1 offense against the #2 defense. If both teams show up, it ought to be interesting.
The Fairview Flying Dutchmen (#6 at 2-2) are difficult to predict. Having won twice by 1-goal margins, and lost twice by an average of 3, you can count on them to be in the game. On Tuesday the Dutchmen outlasted the Scoundrels 14-13, but with Sayre Thomas out of the lineup on Thursday, the Dutchmen was unable to compensate for the Whalers’ recruiting efforts. Unable to contain Huckvale, Mundy, Eck, Sanderson, and Misner, the sea mammal murderers fell 13-15.
So far, the Dutchmens’ clear weakness is defense, having given up a league high 54 goals. Accordingly, this team lags behind its other 2-2 companions, Manly Men and Oat, with a 0.91 scoring ratio. That said, they’ve shown that they can beat anybody and only once have they failed to generate at least 13 goals on offense. The Dutchmen have highly capable defenders but chemistry may be an issue. Goaltender Bob Suchy might have to step it up and marshal this crew into some sort of cohesiveness if the Flying Dutchmen are going to make a run.
The State Street Scoundrels (#7 at 1-3) are a damned mystery to me. I’ll reveal to you that this team has the highest average rating in the league, and yet they’ve been unable to find much success. After a narrow victory over the Kings on opening night, the Scoundrels are 0-3. The Scoundrels opened Week 2 with a 13-14 heartbreaker to the Dutchmen and then were blown out for the first time on Thursday by the Manly Men 17-10 (though it is noteworthy that the Scoundrels were without their goalie and longpole Nate McIntyre bravely stepped into the cage).
While the Scoundrels can score, they need better results on defense and have given up a second-worst 52 goals. To compensate for the lack of a strong 3rd defender, key midfielders Oat McIntyre and Brian Sanderson have been taking shifts at longpole. This formula doesn’t appear to be paying off. All that said, aside from the Manly Men game where the Scoundrels were without a true goalie, they have yet to lose by anything other than a close margin.
The Scoundrels aren’t out of it, but need to rally before morale declines. They open Week 3 against the offensively-anemic Four Horsemen on Tuesday.
And finally, we come last to the Coal Road Kings (#8 at 0-4). I don’t know what to say about these Kings. In Week 1, they scored 14 goals without the Williams Bros, Mitch Hawk, and Ian Williams. A sharp increase in offense was anticipated when those players joined the roster in Week 2. However, in Week 2, the Kings again only scored 14 goals. On Tuesday, the Kings fell 7-9 to the then-#1 Horsemen; on Thursday these royals lost 7-11 to Overland Oat. At 28 goals total, the Kings have the lowest scoring total and lowest scoring ratio in the league.
The defense isn’t performing poorly so the problem may be found between the lines. The Kings are getting minimal results from their middies on faceoffs and consequently are not seeing lots of possession. It may be time to switch things up and see if some offense can’t yet be generated.
Next week’s schedule looks like this:
6:30 – Manly Men @ Flying Dutchmen
6:30 – Kings @ Whalers
7:45 – Scoundrels @ Four Horsemen
7:45 – Bombers @ Oat
6:30 – Oat @ Scoundrels
6:30 – Four Horsemen @ Manly Men
7:45 – Whalers @ Bombers
7:45 – Flying Dutchmen @ Kings
The Thursday games might be a crapshoot, as several players from each teams’ rosters will be heading to the Lake Tahoe Lax Tournament.
On a final note, we ran our giveaway raffle on Thursday. Mitch Hawk won the lax goal donated by Lacrosse Idaho and Michael Baker took home the Cascade CPX-r with LAS wrap donated by LaxAllStars.com.