This has not been an average week for Charlotte Hounds mainstays Matt Danowski and Ryan Flanagan.
Between their day jobs – Danowski is an assistant coach on Duke’s men’s lacross team, Flanagan is an analyst with Bank of America in Charlotte – they’ve also had to adjust their schedules to fit in two Major League Lacrosse games.
After playing in the MLL All-Star Game on Thursday night, Danowski and Flanagan have a more important game 48 hours later when the Hounds host the Boston Cannons at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
“We last played two games back-to-back like this in last year’s MLL playoffs,” Danowski said. “But it doesn’t happen very often for us anymore.”
Danowski and Flanagan were among four Charlotte players – the others were defender Brett Schmidt and midfielder Kevin Drew – picked to play for Team MLL in the MLL All-Star Game.
Every MLL team had at least four players involved in Thursday’s matchup, either playing for Team MLL or Team USA, which is in final preparations for next month’s World Cup in Denver. The Cannons had seven players participate.
“I’m in the gym every morning and on the field every night working out,” Flanagan said. “I’ll just take it a little lighter than I usually do, just to make sure my legs stay fresh.
“But everyone’s in the same boat – everybody plays Thursday and everybody plays Saturday. The goal is to keep guys as fresh as possible.”
It also meant a quick turnaround for Saturday’s game against the Cannons, who are 5-0 all-time against the Hounds, including a 14-6 victory five weeks ago.
“We all have people in there, so it’s going to be a unique situation,” Charlotte coach Mike Cerino said. “I’m not sure any of us have been through this before. No one knows what condition we’ll get the players in at this point.
“I guess on Saturday, we’ll all look around and see who’s available and who’s not hurt, who can play in that game. There’ll be people on the other side looking at things that way, too.”
The Hounds (3-5) chances of making the MLL playoffs were damaged with last week’s 14-12 loss to the New York Lizards, ending their two-game winning streak and bumping them down into a tie for sixth with the Ohio Machine in the league standings.
Meanwhile, the Cannons (4-4) helped their playoff chances with a 17-16 overtime victory over the Machine, moving them into a tie for third with the Lizards and the Florida Launch.
Saturday’s game with Boston opens an important five-game stretch for Charlotte, according to Cerino. The Hounds have two more home games remaining – July 5 against the Rochester Rattlers, and Aug. 1 vs. New York – and road games against Ohio (July 19) and the Rattlers (July 26).
“Getting past Boston at home is going to be important to keep our playoff chances alive going forward,” Cerino said. “But we’ve got a totally different lineup now … and I love the way the lineup is balancing out.”
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