About the New York Lizards
The New York Lizards, formerly the Long Island Lizards are one of the three original MLL franchises along with the Boston Cannons and Chesapeake Bayhawks. The organization is based in Garden City, New York, where it has become an active member of the community. The Lizards have, through the years, assembled teams with many of the top players in the world, including many born and raised in Long Island. The Lizards have established a winning tradition, taking home the prestigious Steinfeld Cup three times.
2001 MLL Championship
The inaugural season of Major League Lacrosse was dominated by Coach John DeTomasso and his Long Island Lizards. The Lizards were an offensive machine in 2001, scoring a league-best 244 goals and finishing with the division’s best record at 10-4, with a 7 game lead over Boston for the American Division. The Lizards dropped their first game in franchise history against the Baltimore Bayhawks 16-13. After jumping out to a quick 5-2 lead, the Lizards would fall behind, as Tom Marechek led his squad back, scoring 6 goals in the win. However, this loss was just one of the few for Long Island, whose offense could not be tamed in the end. Casey Powell emerged as one of the true leaders for this squad, scoring 30 goals and 22 assists, as he led the team in points with 53. Terry Riordan and Gary Gait also fueled the attack for the Lizards, scoring 36 goals and 30 goals, respectively. When the playoffs rolled around, the Gait brothers would be instrumental, as their combined five goals helped Long Island come back and defeat Rochester in the 13-12 OT thriller. It would be Paul Gait who provided the heroics, as he caught a pass from Powell and fired it into the lower left corner of the cage past Brian Dougherty, sending the Lizards to the first MLL Championship game. After being named the Bud Light MVP of Long Island’s semifinal game, Paul Gait would then continue his spectacular play at Kennedy Stadium, scoring seven goals and one assist in the Championship Game against Baltimore, as Long Island avenged its two regular season losses to the Bayhawks. Sal LoCascio saved 19 shots in the game, helping to slow down the lethal Baltimore attack.
2003 MLL Championship
The Lizards and Bayhawks entered the 2003 MLL Season as the only two teams to ever make the Steinfeld Cup and the only two teams to have won. With the score set at 1-1 for MLL Championships, Long Island looked to rebound after a crushing defeat to their rivals in 2002. Before the season even began, the Lizards made t heir biggest splash, acquiring the Virginia Mountaineer great, Jay Jalbert, from the New Jersey Pride. Jay Jalbert would go on to have one of the finest seasons in MLL history, with a Lizards’ high 32 goals and 47 points. Not only was he a force offensively, but he also proved to be the defensive force that Long Island needed, as he forced numerous turnovers and picked up a Lizards’ single season record 105 groundballs. For his tremendous all-around season, Jalbert was named the 2003 Bud Light MVP. The Lizards also went out and got Brian Dougherty from Rochester. Dougherty, as he had in two prior seasons with Rochester, held the lowest Goals Against Average for Long Island at a mere 12.87. He also led the league in Save % and Wins. With such great additions, the Long Island Lizards easily won the division with a 10-3 record. The Lizards proceeded to win their semifinal matchup against Boston, as Tim Goettelmann’s 5 goals gave them an easy 20-14 win. The final would be a familiar one, as Long Island faced off with Baltimore for the third straight year, this time in Villanova, PA. After a deadlock in the first half, Long Island jumped out to a 10-8 lead going into the 4th. Despite Dougherty’s 9 saves in the 4th, however, Baltimore tied it up before the end of regulation, as former Lizard Gary Gait led all players with 6 goals. Just as quickly as the overtime started, however, Long Island found themselves back on top of the MLL, as Jay Jalbert set up teammate Kevin Lowe for the game-winning goal. The win marks the first MLL Championship to ever be decided in OT, as it goes down as the greatest game in Long Island Lizards’ history.
2015 MLL Championship
The 2015 Major League Lacrosse season proved to be a dominant one for the New York Lizards. From the very beginning the Lizards were the team to beat. They came out of the gates with an eight-game winning streak and finished in 1
place, clinching the top playoff seed, with a record of 10-4. They would also lead the league in many categories including goals (206) with many team members achieving league-wide record setting stats. Rob Pannell was the league scoring leader with 38 goals and 30 assists during the regular season. Greg Gurenlian broke all face-off records in MLL history with 73.2 percent win average. The Lizards produced five members of the All-MLL team – Paul Rabil, Rob Pannell, Greg Gurenlian, Joe Fletcher, and Drew Adams. However, the accolades did not stop there.Fletcher was named 2015 Warrior Defensive Player of the Year, Adams was named 2015 MLL Maverick Goalie of the Year, and Gurenlian took home the 2015 MLL Coca-Cola MVP, 2015 FOAthlete of the Year, and 2015 MLL Sportsmanship Player of the Year. In the playoffs, the Lizards would show a combination of heart and skill that would be unmatched. In one of the most memorable and nerve-wracking playoff games in MLL history, the Lizards faced off against the Boston Cannons in a seesaw affair. The game would begin with Boston getting off to a fast 3-0 lead. The Lizards would storm back in the 2
quarter by taking a 7-6 lead into halftime. New York then continued their strong play into the 2
half and took a 14-10 lead with 8:42 left in regulation. But Boston wasn’t dead yet. Just five minutes later Boston was within one and they eventually forced the game into OT with 36 seconds left, tying the game at 15. As they had done all year, the Lizards found a way to win. At 2:46 into overtime Matt Gibson scored a pass from Paul Rabil to send the Lizards to their first championship game since 2010. The Lizards would then capture the 2015 MLL title and first since 2003 against the Rochester Rattlers in Georgia. In a game that looked to be in the Rattlers favor, New York struggled through the first three quarters and were unable to produce a lead. In the final quarter, Rochester finally seemed to run out of steam. The team would score three unanswered goals to win by a score of 15-12. Drew Adams made 11 saves and Greg Gurenlian went 16-for-23 in face-offs against Rochester’s Mike Poppleton. Paul Rabil won the 2015 MLL Championship MVP Award with 3 goals and 3 assists. Originally called the Long Island Lizards, this win marks the first for the newly rebranded New York Lizards but the third overall in franchise history.
About Major League Lacrosse
During the summer of 1998, Jake “Body By Jake” Steinfeld was inspired to start a professional outdoor lacrosse league after reading a magazine article about the growth of the sport of lacrosse. Steinfeld sought out a contributor to the article, Owner and President of Warrior Lacrosse Dave Morrow, a leading lacrosse equipment manufacturer, to discuss formation of such a league.
In February 1999 Steinfeld and Morrow joined forces with Steinfeld’s friend and business associate Tim Robertson, Chairman of Bay Shore Enterprises and former CEO of the Family Channel, to form Major League Lacrosse, LLC, a Virginia limited liability company. In 2003, New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. came on board as a Founding Member of Major League Lacrosse, as well as an Anchor Level League Sponsor.
Major League Lacrosse began play in 2001 to capitalize on the growing demand for world-class field lacrosse driven by dramatic growth in the U.S. lacrosse market. The MLL was praised and heralded for its on-field play, regarded as the best ever seen. With a year-on-year attendance increase, Major League Lacrosse has continued to lead the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports.
Major League Lacrosse is comprised of eight teams across the US and Canada. The Boston Cannons, Chesapeake Bayhawks (formerly Baltimore and Washington), New York Lizards (formally Long Island) and Rochester Rattlers are original teams starting in 2001. The Denver Outlaws began play in 2006 as part of the League’s western expansion. The Hamilton Nationals (formerly Toronto) joined MLL in 2009 as the League’s first international team. The Charlotte Hounds and Ohio Machine began play in 2012 as a part of the League's expansion initiative to have 16 teams in the next decade.
For more information on Major League Lacrosse, along with its teams, sponsors and vision,