KENNESAW, Ga. - The Lizards captured their third Major League Lacrosse championship Saturday night, scoring the game's final four goals and beating the Rochester Rattlers, 15-12, in front of 8,647.
Attackman Rob Pannell (Smithtown) scored four goals for the Lizards, who also captured the Steinfeld Cup in 2001 and 2003.
"Long Island is the hotbed of lacrosse, and to win and bring this trophy back to Long Island means everything,'' Pannell said. "I've been waiting for this for a long time.''
Midfielder Paul Rabil had three goals and three assists and was named the game's MVP.
When asked if he expected to have an MVP performance, Rabil said, "No way. I just wanted to win. We've got plenty of MVPs on this team.''
The Lizards came back from 6-2 and 10-8 deficits. "We had the will to win,'' Rabil said. "I don't know what it is, but we just had the will, same as the last two games.''
The Lizards claimed their first lead of the night at 13-12 when Pannell scored for the fourth time to tie it with 11:51 left and Mike Stone added a goal 43 seconds later. Attackman Tommy Palasek and Rabil then scored to put the game away.
Rochester's Mark Matthews scored his second and third goals to give the Rattlers a 10-8 lead. But from the ensuing faceoff, Lizards faceoff specialist Greg Gurenlian rushed downfield and scored with his team down a man.
The Lizards tied it at 11 on Matt Gibson's goal with 26 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Rochester opened the game with unassisted goals from six players and took a 6-2 lead into the second period. But the Lizards scored four times in a span of less than four minutes to tie the score at 7 with 7:02 left before halftime. Pannell struck twice unassisted in the rally.
"We've been doing this all season, not starting games the way we should,'' Pannell said. "The offense picks up the defense and the defense picks up the offense.''
The Rattlers regained the lead with about one minute left in the half, with Jack Near scoring at close range.
With 12:35 left in the third quarter, Pannell tied the score again with his third goal.
Notes & quotes: Jordan Wolf scored twice for Rochester, which scored 11 unassisted goals. JoJo Marasco had three assists for the Lizards . . . The Atlanta Blaze will begin as an MLL team in 2016.