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Lizards take care of business in home opener vs. Denver

The Long Island Lizards opened their season at home as they defeated the Denver Outlaws.

The first game of the MLL season is always an important one. It may be a long season, but getting off on the right foot is vital to success further down the road. The Lizards did not get off to a good start last season and missed the playoffs because of it. They ended the season at 7-7 but started the season off at 2-4. They wanted to get off on the right foot with a win against the Denver Outlaws, and boy did they do that, winning 19-15 in front of a cold Long Island crowd of 3,748.

As cold as it was throughout the night, the Lizards offense got off to a blazing hot start. Will Manny tallied seven points in total, including five goals with three coming within the first 17 minutes. Rob Pannell had eight points, with six assists to boot. Joe Locascio started off the season with a two-point goal from far out. Newcomer Mike Bocklet stuck it to his old team with four goals of his own.

This team is going to be fun to watch, as they can score with anyone in the MLL. The defense was alright, holding the lead wire to wire.  However, at times the defense was lackadaisical letting the Outlaws run their offense right through the middle of the zone. Matt Kavanaugh and Jeremy Sieverts gave the Lizards’ defense fits, scoring five goals each and tying the game multiple times in the second and third quarters.

The star of this game was goaltender Drew Adams, who made 16 saves and was excellent throughout. The former All-Star looks to have returned to form, as he stopped a few rallies from Denver late in the second quarter. The game was much closer than the score indicates, as the teams were within one goal for a good portion of the game.  Without Adams, the outcome could have been entirely different.

An area of improvement for the Lizards would be at the face-off circle, where Wantagh native Brendan Fowler is now the man.  However, Fowler lost 24 of 36 face-offs, including seven false starts.  It could have been the jitters of playing in front of his hometown crowd. It should not be a problem going forward, as Fowler is one of the very best in the world and has done it at a championship level multiple times.

They Said It

“It’s a great way to start 2018.  The Outlaws are one of the perennial powerhouses in the MLL and it’s good to get a win. We have a lot of things to work on but we led from start to finish and Drew was excellent for us.” – Paul Rabil on what it means to get off to a good start

“Bocklet is one of the best players in the league. He does everything.  He’s a veteran and extremely selfless. That’s a big one for him (against his former team) and we didn’t even think about it. As for Fowler, he’s got such a good motor. He’s a great locker room guy and we’re happy to have him. He leaves it all out there and he just scraps. He even took a couple of shots out there tonight.” – Kyle Hartzell on new additions Mike Bocklet and Brendan Fowler

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