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Lizards have playoff mentality for MLL regular-season finale

Jo-Jo Marasco of the New York Lizards, left,

Jo-Jo Marasco of the New York Lizards, left, takes control of the ball at midfield as Jake Bernhardt of the Ohio Machine defends in the first quarter on July 18, 2015 at Selby Stadium in Delaware, Ohio. Credit: Getty Images

Tommy Palasek isn't thrilled with what's gone on lately for the New York Lizards, who have lost three out of their last five games.

After starting out 8-0, the Lizards lost focus, Palasek said, down the stretch.

"There's nothing fundamentally wrong, we're just trying to move on quickly," said Palasek, of Rocky Point. "We lost to some teams in the bottom of the standings and you can't do that in this league. If you slip up for a second, you can lose to anyone."

Palasek and the Lizards (10-3) look to get back to their winning ways against Denver in the season finale at 5 p.m. Saturday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.

The Lizards handed Denver, the defending champs, an 18-15 defeat on July 9. Despite missing out on the postseason this year, Denver is the right opponent for the Lizards at this time, New York's Jo-Jo Marasco said.

"The guys have circled this date on the calendar," said Marasco, who has 20 goals and eight assists. "It's another chance for us to knock them off. We really need to take this one serious."

Marasco believes the playoffs start for the top-seeded Lizards on Saturday.

"We proved that we're the best team, but we've got to clean things up and take things one game a time," Marasco said. "It's about taking care of the simple things, taking care of the groundballs, bringing that energy level up, and just picking each other up in general. I think we'll bring that next game."

Palasek, who is third on the Lizards in scoring with 28 goals and four assists, agreed with Marasco's latest assessment.

"Playoff wins and championships build legacies and there are guys in our locker room who have been there and done that," Palasek said. "I want to see our team playing its best ball now and I know we can do that. It's a focused group looking to play a full 60 minutes."

Behind MLL-scoring leader Rob Pannell (37 goals, 26 assists) and top goalie Drew Adams (.570 save percentage, 192 saves and 11.49 GAA), anything's possible.

Following their road game with Denver, the Lizards will host a semifinal game at 6:30 p.m. against either Ohio, Rochester or Boston depending upon seeding.


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