The Denver Outlaws denied the Charlotte Hounds second chances.
The Hounds were the best offensive rebounding team in 2016, turning 29.2% of opponents’ saves into second chances. Those precious shot clock resets were nowhere to be found on Saturday. Only three of Outlaws goalie Jack Kelly’s 12 saves were rebounded by the Hounds. BJ Grill led the defending champs with two defensive rebounds.
Myles Jones shot 3-for-8 off the dodge, but his teammates only shot 1-for-7 on feeds from him.
Even when the Lizards slide to Jones, he ran by the extra defender. The Lizards weren’t able to squeeze double teams when they slid, and Jones made them pay for that. He sees this slide the whole way, and he wisely rolls back to avoid it.
He doesn’t need a pick to beat his defender, but putting him in high pick-and-rolls opens up the field even more. The way he manipulates the field and the players on it is incredible. Watch him direct traffic to set up the pick then freeze the hedging defender with a pump fake.
Jones won’t get credit for an assist on that Nathan Lewnes goal, but he made it possible. Despite only being in his second year, Jones is more than ready to run the show in Chesapeake.
Head coach Jim Stagnitta’s Hounds are built much like his former Outlaws squads, especially at the midfield.
Joey Sankey may be the Hounds’ leading scorer, but they go as their midfield goes. Mike Chanenchuk (33.3% dodge-to-shoot in ’16) and John Haus (23.3%) need to win their matchups and make the defense scramble. The Outlaws double-poled these two (with a short-stick on attackman Nick Doktor) and locked them down. Chanenchuk shot 2-for-8 off the dodge; Haus shot 0-for-4. If those two can’t get their hands free, then the Hounds’ attackmen need to make them pay for bumping an extra pole upfield.
Jimmy Dailey (1G, 2A) gave the Florida Launch an offensive spark out of the box.
More teams should invert the Boston Cannons’ two-way midfielders. It’s not that they can’t defend behind the cage, rather that they can’t break out into transition from below goal-line extended. The Cannons led MLL with 3.8 fast break goals per game in 2016. Any strategy that slows them down is a viable one. Plus, inverting provides a presence at X that is usually shut down by Brandon Mullins. Cannons’ opponents shot a league-worst 21.6% when initiating from behind the cage last summer.
Dailey dances around at X until he draws a slide. He assisted Steve Pontrello (3G, 1A) twice yesterday. Each time, Pontrello followed the slide for a layup. The Cannons’ second slides were nonexistent all day long without Brodie Merrill in the lineup.
Later in the game with a pole on him, the Cannons dared Dailey to become a scorer. He’s a career 4-for-19 shooter off the dodge, but he made his chance count on Sunday.
It was no surprise that head coach Tom Mariano brought in Dailey this offseason. Both were in Ohio in 2015, and the Launch offense desperately needed dodging presence while Kieran McArdle wraps up his indoor season. The decision to bring in Dailey is paying off.
Greg Gurenlian’s last ride is off to a great start.
Gurenlian won 20-of-31 of face-offs (64.5%). The Lizards scored on an absurd 42.1% of possessions following those face-off wins, accounting for more than half of their offense. Part of Evan Washburn’s rant on face-off specialists touched on their impact in the pro game. With the 60-second shot clock, teams can more easily overcome face-off disadvantages – with the exception of Gurenlian. He wins at such a high rate (and his offense scores at a similarly high rate) that even with the shot clock his impact is enormous.