The season slows down a bit this weekend so that we can all come together and enjoy Memorial Day Weekend with our families and keep tabs on the NCAA Championships. It was great to get in four solid games with less than half of the league playing next weekend. Only the Outlaws remain undefeated, they’ll get the chance to test that on Saturday. Before then, let’s look back at the week.
Blaze 11, Bayhawks 13
There’s no better way to get a fan engaged into a lacrosse game than 10 goals between two teams in the first quarter. The scoring started early and often for the away team, leading a 5-1 run in the first 7 minutes. A balance of two middies, two attackman, and a long pole found success for Atlanta. After the fifth goal, Chesapeake responded with a quick spree of their own, packing in a goal from each of their attackmen. The last of the streak was Canadian box lacrosse superstar Shawn Evans’ first career goal in the MLL, but it wouldn’t be his last. Bailey Tills would sneak one in for Atlanta to close the quarter with a, 6-4, lead, before we’d get to see Evans again. Just 30 seconds in, he found the ball right where he wanted it and let it fly. Minutes after another Bayhawk tally,, Myles Jones would find Evans sneaking on the backside of the crease, beating Adam Ghitelman one on one for his hat trick. Evans was already proving his worth to Bayhawks, connecting with twine from range and in tight. Powell athlete John Maloney stepped in to follow Evans’ lead and sunk his first of the season to stretch a two goal lead. Tills would come knocking again, cutting the deficit to one, before Matt Abbott struck back to make it 9-7, Bayhawks ahead at the half.
The pace would significantly settle in the second half after both teams got a better feel for each other, or in Evans’ case, field lacrosse in general. Most of the quarter drifted by with nothing particular to write home about Ghitelman made a few nice stops to put some life back into his boys and longstick Scott Ratliff worked that energy down to Powell athlete Chris Bocklet for his second goal of the night. Jeff Reynolds followed suit with a goal of his own and tied the game up nines. Those pesky last possessions are everything and when the ball is in Myles Jones’ stick, expect something nasty. The big man took the ball from up top, got a head of steam, and bucked straight over Ratliff at the 2-point line to get inside and mail one straight past Ghitelman to steal back the lead.
Once the fourth quarter hit, it looked like it was all Chesapeake to close things out. A steady three goals worked their way in for a four goal lead that would hold out to until the very last minute. Playing desperate, Bocklet found Dylan Donahue with about 30 seconds left, cutting things to three. Not giving up, the Blaze kept the attack on and James Pannell would drop another with just 4 seconds left this time. With not enough time to make anything happen, the Bayhawks were able to start celebrating their third win of the season with the home crowd. It just seems unfair that the Blaze are 1-3 and at the bottom of the league. They’re not even playing sloppy lacrosse and at times that look like a force to be reckoned with. After the big jump in the beginning of the game, this was all theirs to lose. Both squads have the weekend off to reflect on things.
Lizards 13, Cannons 16
Lots of goals make the fans happy and that’s just what they gave them in Harvard Stadium on Saturday. A pretty strong crowd filled part of the stands to watch the shootout, starting with a pair of quick tallies from the Lizards to get going. Matt Gibson and Joe Walters started the show, both the trail end of excellent team ball movement. Former Zard Max Seibald put a quick halt to things with the first Boston goal of the game. Throwing his name in the ring, middie Tyler Albrecht punched in his first career goal halfway through the quarter, but it would be the last of three for New York. The rookie needs to learn one thing, don’t steal Seibald’s thunder. The speedy veteran turned around and mailed in two straight missiles from beyond the arc to tie the game, then steal a two-point lead in a matter of minutes. His comrade, Davey Emala turned a slash into a goal and suddenly the Cannons were up, 6-3, at the end of one.
The party just kept going, Emala going again just 50 seconds into the frame. Justin Turri and Scott Bieda both got a turn and the Cannons had built themselves a 6 goal lead. It’s always a game of runs, especially in the MLL, before long Gibson was turning things around, followed by Paul Rabil’s only hit of the night and a tally from longpole Joe Fletcher. Just to put a break in things, Will Manny got himself on the board for Boston, only to be followed with another trio from New York. Now with the lead nearly spent, Manny would follow up again with a late strike to keep the lead at two heading into the break. Chris Madalon got the start for the Lizards between the irons and really started to dial things in over the third quarter. Both teams pulled back on the reigns quite a bit and it resulted in another Manny goal and one from Kevin Buchanan, with Dave Lawson and the Lizards only raking in one.
Understanding the three goal lead was anything but safe, Seibald took it upon himself to sling in his sixth goal. It came in perfect time as Gibson was just putting together his third and fourth goals, adding to one from Walters and suddenly the game was back to a one point differential. Hearts raced for nearly five minutes, but the home crowd got behind the Cannons and sparked two late goals from Joe LoCascio and Emala to break the Lizards’ hearts, shutting off any chance of a comeback. Both of them are fortunate enough to get to the upcoming weekend off to watch some college lacrosse, although not many of their alma maters stuck around.
Hounds 10, Machine 8
The Machine are fighting off bad vibes now, still hungry to get that first win in the new Fortress complex. Hats off to Charlotte for keeping themselves out of extremely high water, in jeopardy of falling to 1-5, but pulling it together after a slippery start. There were few penalties for either team and it was a fairly mistake free game, for the most part. Right away, it was Ohio controlling the tempo of the game. The core of the Machine offense, Marcus Holman, Peter Baum, and Mark Cockerton, all got on the board in the first quarter. Meanwhile goalie Scott Rodgers and the defense only had to turn away three shots on goal to hold the period to 3-0. Second quarter, Homan and Cockerton got after it again to make it 5-0, but that didn’t sit well with the Hounds by this point. The script was flipped and five different scorers chugged out a 7 minutes, 5 goal comeback to lock the game at 5 to go into halftime. Talk about killing a team’s momentum, it took Ohio a quarter and a half to put up those goals and Charlotte stole them away in a third of the time.
Brandon Mangan tried to raise the Machine sails again, but his opening strike of the half was matched by Kevin Crowley second finish and an immediate connection from face-off athlete Brendan Fowler on the following whistle. WIth the Hounds now ahead by one, Logan Schuss, back in his first MLL game since 2014, ripped off one of the strongest one-handed cranks past Pierce Bassett to get the game evened out. Charlotte would be patient and Sankey would find Pay Young for another go-ahead goal. Up by one to start the fourth, the Hounds were firing on all cylinders and producing a whole new brand of lacrosse.
They just kept working and it paid off for John Haus first, before Fowler could follow the goal with yet another of his own. The Machine had to be in mental turmoil, now down by three and nothing to show for it for over 15 minutes. With about 5:30 left in the game, Holman would round out his hat trick, making it a two goal game. Unfortunately for Ohio, no one had it in them to break down the Charlotte defense one last time. Charlotte can celebrate the win and focus on what was going right for one extra week, while the Machine will play host to the Launch on Saturday.
Launch 9, Rattlers 8
What a game! Well, what a finish! When the goals came out in this one, they were beauties, but they didn’t come often. Connor Buczek single-handedly put the Launch up 2-0 in the first leg of the game. From there, goaltender John Galloway turned away around 10 more shots on goal, letting no one else from Florida join the party in the first half. This allowed for a solid response from the Rattlers, picking up goals from Conor Gately and Dhane Smith to close the first with a tie. The two new additions of Gatley and Smith have been working out well for Rochester, the two connected for Gately’s second goal. Mistakes were costing the Launch, exemplified by an offsides call that resulted in a powerplay goal for Jeremy Boltus.
The third quarter was more of the same. Each team could only find twine once through 15 minutes to keep the game moving. Jovan Miller hit first for the Launch, before Gately could follow up with his first career hat trick. Almost 9 minutes disappeared in the fourth quarter before things started to get entertaining. Florida attackman Jimmy Dailey kicked off a tug-of-war that Dhane Smith would respond to immediately. Then Chazz Woodson got one for the Launch, before Kip Orban would match it. Ready to be a hero, Steven Brooks loaded up the cannon and let it rip, sinking a game-tying 2-pointer with a minute left. But, Rochester had a wildcard in face-off man Drew Simoneau. Winning the ensuing draw, the trucked the ball straight down Main St. and buried it to give the home team a late lead.
Time was ticking away, but Florida came up with the ball and was taking a long possession to work out the chess match with the Ratz defense. Moving the ball around the horn, the found Brooks again for a slingshot past Austin Kaut with just 10 seconds left to force overtime. Both teams had their chances, but Florida was willing to take a risk for a big reward. Dodging to the goal, Connor Buczek was in position to try to work one past Galloway, but he sends a rainbow to Woodson on the backside island, to let it fly straight into the netting for the instant winner. The win puts Florida at 2-2, while Rochester falls below the line to 2-3. Now they’ll both go on the road this weekend against teams that will make them pay for the same mistakes. The Launch head to Ohio and the Rattlers to Denver, big tests for each of them.
Saturday, May 27th
Launch @ Machine – 6 pm, The Fortress, Obetz, OH
Rattlers @ Outlaws – 10:30 pm, Sports Authority Field, Denver, CO