Much to the dismay of the vocal hometown fans, the Rochester Rattlers fell to the Los Angeles Riptide 15-14 at Paetec Park in Rochester Saturday. The win propels the Riptide to their first championship appearance in only their second year of existence. If Los Angeles can defeat the defending champion Philadelphia Barrage they will be the first team from the new Western conference to attain the title of MLL Champs.
MLL PRESS RELEASE-Rochester Rattlers v Los Angeles Riptide
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Attackman Chazz Woodson scored a game-high four goals to lead the Los Angeles Riptide to a 15-14 victory over the Rochester Rattlers in the second semi-final of NB ZIP MLL Championship Weekend at PAETEC Park on Saturday evening.
With the win, the Riptide advance to their first MLL championship game where they will face the defending league champion Philadelphia Barrage on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 HD.
Attackman Terry Riordan and midfielder Anthony Kelly gave the Riptide a quick 2-0 lead by scoring back-to-back goals in the first two minutes of the first quarter. The Rattlers countered with goals from midfielders Pat Dutton and Gavin Prout to tie the game at 2-2. Following a Woodson goal, the Rattlers scored five straight goals to take a 7-3 lead with 1:22 left in the first quarter. Attackman Brandon Spillett scored two goals during the run while three other players scored a goal.
Midfielder Graham Gill scored an unassisted goal with 22 seconds left in the first quarter, igniting a six-goal spurt by the Riptide which gave them a 9-7 advantage. Woodson scored two goals while attackman Spencer Ford added a goal with two assists during the rally.
With 59 seconds left in the first half, Prout narrowed the Rattlers’ deficit to 9-8 with an unassisted goal.
Dutton and attackman John Grant, Jr. opened the third quarter scoring with back-to-back goals to give Rochester a 10-9 lead, but Gill and Woodson answered with consecutive goals to regain the one-goal advantage.
Attackman Wes Green scored an unassisted tally just 52 seconds into the fourth quarter, upping Los Angeles’ lead to 12-10 before Dutton and rookie Brian Clayton answered to tie the game with 10:22 left in regulation.
Riordan and Gill tallied back-to-back markers to give the Riptide a two-goal lead, but the Rattlers battled back to tie the game with 3:45 left in the fourth quarter. Attackman Jeff Zywicki scored an unassisted goal with 5:09 left before midfielder Colin Doyle converted a Prout pass, tying the game for the seventh time.
With 1:21 left, attackman Michael Watson scored an unassisted goal to give the Riptide a one-goal lead they did not relinquish. With less than ten seconds left, Doyle had a chance to tie the game, but his shot went wide to the right of goalkeeper Mickey Jarboe and the Riptide held on for the victory.
“Everybody sticks together,” Woodson said. “We’re unselfish and that’s been our game plan all season. We play our game.”
Woodson was named the Bud Light MVP for his four-goal effort while Riordan and Gill each added three goals. Making his MLL postseason debut, goalkeeper Mickey Jarboe made 12 saves in the victory.
Dutton led the Rattlers with three goals while three other players added a pair of markers.
Major League Lacrosse Semi-Finals: Los Angeles Riptide 15, Rochester Rattlers 14