08/09/2015 9:07 AM
Brian Spallina hoists his 7th championship cup as he celebrates with brother and Head Coach, Joe Spallina
From Inside Lacrosse's Dave Rosenthall
The New York Lizards defeated the Rochester Rattlers 15-12, in front of 8,674 at Kennesaw, Georgia’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium, future home of the expansion Atlanta Blaze.
The win marked the Lizards’ third championship in franchise history, and their first since 2003. For the Rattlers, it was their second championship loss in as many years, having fallen 12-11 to the Denver Outlaws in 2014.
Paul Rabil earned championship MVP honors with three goals and three assists, while Mark Matthews led Rochester with three goals in the losing effort.
The Rattlers set the offensive tone early in the game, outscoring New York 6-2 in the first quarter, thanks in part to extra-man goals from Mark Matthews and Jordan Wolf (2g). The Lizards weathered the storm and gradually chipped away at the lead, with nearly identical Rob Pannell goals tying the game at 7 halfway through the second quarter.
While neither team was able to significantly break away offensively after the first quarter, the Lizards controlled possessions for significant portions of the game, largely thanks to a dominant performance by faceoff specialist Greg Gurenlian. The Rattlers had no answer for the 2015 MVP, who won 16 of 23 faceoffs, scooped 11 ground balls and added a goal for good measure.
Tied at 11 heading into the final quarter, the Rattlers broke the stalemate with a Wolf goal that proved to be their final tally of the evening. The Lizards went on to score four goals in a row, with midfielder Mike Stone’s righty shot bouncing off John Galloway’s stick and putting the Lizards up 13-12 for their first lead of the game.
Rochester’s comeback hopes were ultimately dashed by a combination of Drew Adams saves and unforced turnovers; Wolf inadvertently stepped into the crease with just under two minutes remaining, and a Donny Moss slash on the ensuing possession allowed the Lizards to retain possession for the remainder of the game to secure the victory.
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