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One potent '0' plus one solid 'D' equals 6-0 start for Lizards

Paul Rabil #99 of the New York Lizards

Paul Rabil #99 of the New York Lizards celebrates his second half goal with teammate JoJo Marasco #1 against the Chesapeake Bayhawks at James M. Shuart Stadium on May 16, 2015 in Hempstead. Credit: Getty Images / Mike Stobe

The Lizards are off to a 6-0 start but their record is hardly the only number indicative of how dominant the club has been this season.

Take, for example, their plus-4 goals per game scoring margin, which leads the league and is 2.4 goals per game better than the second-ranked Chesapeake Bayhawks.

The Lizards' margin of victory is also the sixth-best mark since the league expanded to 10 teams in 2006 (it has since contracted to six teams in 2009 before re-expanding to eight teams in 2012).

This figure is indicative of the team's strengths on both ends of the field, as they are best in the league in both goals per game (14.7) and goals allowed per game (10.7).

Strong performances from Smithtown's Rob Pannell (14 goals, 14 assists), Paul Rabil (14 goals, 10 assists), and Matt Gibson (13 goals) have contributed here, as has goalie Drew Adams, who has averaged 12.7 saves per game.

An additional number, the Lizards' 59.1% shots-on-goal for ratio, helps explain the gaudy goal differential. The number of shots a team takes relative to its opposition has a high correlation with victory, and is a better indicator of possession than goal differential (which can be influenced by both shooting and save percentages).

The Lizards are ahead of the second-ranked Bayhawks by a wider margin in this area (7.4%) than Chesapeake and the seventh-ranked Rochester Rattlers (who are separated by 4.1%).

Domination at the faceoff 'X' has been a key factor, as the Lizards' 70.0% faceoff success rate leads the league.

Specialist Greg Gurenlian, who boasts a league-best 79.7% faceoff percentage, offered additional reasoning for the Lizards' hot start.

"The biggest thing we have is chemistry," he said. "People worry 'there are too many alpha males in the locker room,' but the truth of the matter is we have guys that like being together and playing with each other. That leads to wins and the team that wins the championship every year is always the team with the best locker room. I think we finally have that."

By mixing these intangibles into an equation that also includes significant advantages in terms of scoring and possession, it's easy to calculate why the Lizards have been so strong.

Up next: The Lizards travel to Charlotte to face the 1-4 Hounds on May 30 at 7 p.m.

New York Sports