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SportsLacrosse

Lizards getting hot at the right time

New York Lizards teammates celebrate after a goal

New York Lizards teammates celebrate after a goal by Paul Rabil, second from right, in the second quarter of a Major League Lacrosse game against the Boston Cannons at Shuart Stadium on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Photo Credit: James Escher

The Lizards had been a disappointment through the season’s first 10 games, but now after winning two straight, perhaps they’re catching fire at the right time.

After a much needed win over the Charlotte Hounds on Saturday, the Lizards got back to .500 with a 16-14 win over the last-place Boston Cannons at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium Thursday night.

At 6-6, the Lizards are tied for third with the Florida Launch and Rochester Rattlers with four playoff spots available after 14 regular-season games. Before the two-game winning streak, the Lizards were eighth out of nine teams in the standings.

Coach and general manager Joe Spallina had called Saturday’s tilt against the Hounds a “must win” after dropping a heartbreaker against the Atlanta Blaze July 13. With two consecutive victories, the Lizards are back to where they’d hoped to be after the trade deadline in which they acquired impact players Will Manny and Joe LoCascio.

The Lizards are 0-2 against the Launch this season and 1-0 against the Rattlers. The Lizards play at the second-place Ohio Machine (7-4) next Saturday and host the Hounds (5-6) on Aug. 5 to wrap up the regular season.

Manny leads MLL

Manny, a St. Anthony’s High School graduate from Massapequa, scored four goals against the Cannons, his former team, and now leads Major League Lacrosse with 31 goals.

His prowess on attack has been crucial in the Lizards’ turnaround from 3-5, providing instant offense and craftiness inside.

After the trade on June 27, Manny said he was excited for the opportunity to play on the Lizards’ offense.

“This offense, I have good connections with those guys,” he said. “I’m just going to play my role. I don’t need to be a ballcarrier on this team. I’m just going to get open.”

Tough Test in Ohio

In the first game after acquiring Manny and LoCascio, the Lizards beat the Machine, 15-14, on LoCascio’s game-winning two-point shot with under a minute to play.

More statistical notes

Paul Rabil leads MLL in points (45) and two-point goals (three). Manny’s 43 points rank second . . . Rob Pannell (19) and Rabil (17) are third and fourth, respectively, in assists . . . Greg Gurenlian, who said he will retire at the end of this season, leads the league in ground balls (107) and total faceoffs won (205).

New York Sports