Denver Outlaws Week 5 Preview
By Heather Crowley
Saturday night the Denver Outlaws proved they could win on the road in their 15-10 victory over the Long Island Lizards at James M. Schuart Stadium. Since dropping their first game of the season to the Boston Cannons the Outlaws have won three straight games with a margin of victory of at least three goals. The Outlaws currently have the longest winning streak in the league at three games and with the win moved to 7-0 all-time against the Lizards.
Through three quarters the Denver defense managed to hold Long Island to just four goals, establishing a commanding 13-4 lead entering the fourth quarter. One major way the Outlaws managed to shut down the Long Island offense was neutralizing the power play. The Lizards failed to score on the power play, going 0-7 on the night.
While managing to take away the Long Island power play, the Outlaws again took advantage of their own opportunities with an extra man. Denver scored on all three power plays in the game, improving their percentage to a league best 47% on the season.
The Outlaws offense relied on attacker Matt Brown, who shot just five times but connected on every attempt. Brown’s efforts earned him Bud Light Player of the Game and MLL Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Brown’s accuracy was contagious, Brendan Mundorf also posted a perfect shooting evening as the going 4-for-4 from the field. Mundorf added three assists for a seven point game and moved into second place in the scoring race with 19 total points on the season. Chesapeake’s Peet Poillon currently sits atop the standings with 22 points.
“I think we’re getting better every game,” Mundorf said. “We’ve improved on the defensive end as well as on the offensive end. We’re starting to play a little better as team. Offensively we’re moving the ball well and defensively we just continue to shut people down.”
Next the Outlaws will travel to the site of its only loss, Harvard Stadium, to take on the Boston Cannons. After starting out 2-0 Boston has struggled of late, dropping its last two games. However, Boston’s high octane offense thrives at home and will pose a challenge for Denver.
Luckily for Outlaws, their defense just got a boost.
In Saturday’s game the Outlaws will showcase their newest members that were selected in the 2010 MLL Draft that took place on Sunday. In the draft the Outlaws selected four time All-American defenseman Ken Clausen from Virginia with the fifth overall pick. The Tewaaraton finalist played in all 70 games of his collegiate career and brings an element of security for the Outlaws. Clausen will get his first taste of the MLL when he makes his debut for the orange and black against the Cannons on Saturday.
“I just want them to go out there be aggressive, play your game and have fun,” head coach Brian Reese said. “Don’t try and fit in with everyone. Just play your game. You don’t need to give the ball up to anyone because they’re older. Go out there and play the way you did in college.”
If an area for improvement needed to be chosen, face offs have been the weakest part of the Outlaws game. With normal face offspecialist Shane Walterhoeffer out dut to injury Will Dalton will likely handle faceoffs again, Reese said. “He’s (Dalton) picked it up a lot recently,” Reese said. “He’s a smart guy and figures people out. He usually gets better as the game goes along. If we can be 50% or above I’m happy.”
As the Cannons take on the Outlaws, both teams’ high octane offenses will be firing away. Boston’s Paul Rabil and Ryan Boyle will pose a serious threat along with Matt Poskay who leads all MLL goal scorers with 16 through 4 games.
The game on Saturday is set for a 3 pm EST start and will be shown live on ESPN2.