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Atlanta Blaze Beat Florida Launch with Playoffs in Sight

July 29, 2018 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) - Atlanta Blaze News Release

Kennesaw, GA-The Atlanta Blaze (7-6) defeated the Florida Launch (5-8) last night at FAU Stadium, 16-13, bringing them one game away from the first playoff appearance in franchise history. Despite a rain delay, the Blaze beat the Launch behind stellar play in goal by Adam Ghitelman. Ghitelman, earning his fourth win of the season, stopped 15 of 28 shots, including three crucial saves in the final two minutes. Rookies Christian Cuccinello and Connor Kelly along with Daniel Eipp led the team with four points each; Cuccinello had three goals and one assist while Kelly had one goal and three assists and Eipp netted four goals.

The Blaze, who have moved into fourth place in a league where the top four teams go to playoffs, outlasted the Launch offensively and defensively. Long stick midfielder and home-grown player Scott Ratliff and scored two goals on two shots and had three ground balls. At the faceoff X Joe Nardella won 26-32 faceoffs securing possession for the Blaze and enabling the win while earning Coca Cola Player of the Game honors.

Ghitelman turned away four Lizards' scoring chances in the third quarter, two by Paul Rabil and two by Rob Pannell, to swing the momentum back in Atlanta's favor. Pannell led the N.Y. attack with five goals and JoJo Marasco added a pair.

The Blaze, one game away from securing a playoff berth, are in action again Saturday August 4that 7 p.m. against the third-place Denver Outlaws. The final game of the summer will decide the fate of the Blaze's playoff dreams and provide the chance for the team to make history.

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