June 30, 2012

Old School Edges Young Guns 18-17 in MLL All-Star Game

Brooks nets winner, Berger named MVP

Chesapeake's Steven Brooks scored the tie-breaking goal with 56 seconds left in regulation to lift team Old School to an 18-17 win over the Young Guns on Saturday night at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

by Santos A. Perez | LaxMagazine.com | Photo Gallery

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- In the previous two Major League Lacrosse All-Star games featuring the Old School-Young Guns format, four periods were not sufficient to determine the outcome.

MLL had another veterans versus young players set-up in its 11th All-Star Game Saturday night at Florida Atlantic University Stadium. And again it appeared as if this version seemed headed to overtime until Chesapeake Bayhawks midfielder Steven Brooks settled matters during regulation.

Brooks scored the tie-breaking goal with 56 seconds remaining to lead Old School to an 18-17 victory before an announced crowd of 7,854.

"I didn't even realize in that situation that I had an open chance," Brooks said. "I was just lucky that it went in. I don't know what it is - the ball seems to find my stick in that situation."

Brooks found his opening and drove in toward the crease with a shot that eluded Young Guns goalie Drew Adams of the Long Island Lizards. Old School won the ensuing face off and ran out the clock.

"We just finished like we were supposed to – us old guys," said a smiling Brooks.

Young Guns had tied the game on a 2-point goal by Brian Farrell of the Boston Cannons. Farrell's shot from beyond the arc tied the game, 17-17, with 4:42 remaining in regulation.

"That's the thing about this league, you're never out of it, especially with the 2-pointer," Farrell said. "And with these kinds of athletes that we have, it was a great game.

"The old guys were a bit more wise and savvy vets. It sucks but it was fun."

Young Guns began the fourth period with a 15-13 deficit but tied it on Max Seibald's two-point goal with 8:11 remaining.

Old School built another two-point advantage on Brooks' first goal at the 9:54 mark. Chazz Woodson added what seemed to be an insurance goal with 4:09 remaining.

"We tried to make it entertaining," Charlotte Hounds attackman Billy Bitter said. "It was definitely competitive."

Playing the game in a non-MLL venue may have served as a barometer to determine the future of the pro game in lacrosse-growing Florida.

"Every year it's getting bigger and bigger," Bitter said. "Tonight was a great job. MLL did a great job with the fans."

Woodson, of the expansion Ohio Machine, believes the sport has a future in Florida. After the game, Woodson, whose highlight reel goals have made SportsCenter multiple times this season, was one of the popular players sought for autographs.

"I think Florida would be a good market," Woodson said. "It all depends where they put the team but I think it's a great place. You have the athletes. It is a great spectator sport. They love football down here but we've got the physicality of football.

"The fans were into it. I wouldn't say it was better than I expected but it was definitely better than anything I was hoping for."

Farrell also would welcome future MLL trips to Florida.

"I am all for it," Farrell said of expansion. "A lot of good lacrosse players can't play every week because of the rosters. Trying to break a roster is so difficult.

"I think expansion is so great for the sport."

The current All-Stars gave South Florida fans an offensive treat through the first three periods until the pace lessened in the fourth.

Stephen Berger scored his third goal on a two-point shot that gave Old School an 11-9 lead 36 seconds into the third period. Berger was named the game's most valuable player.

Young Guns responded on Jim Connolly's goal 23 seconds later. Both teams traded goals in the next five conversions until the Boston Cannon's Kevin Buchanan scored with 3:40 remaining for a 15-12 Old School lead.

Denver attackman Jeremy Sieverts scored with 42 seconds remaining as Young Guns ended the period at a two-goal deficit.

Young Guns rallied from a three-goal deficit early in the second period with three consecutive goals from Hamilton's Stephen Keogh, Long Island's Matt Gibson and Ohio's Jim Connolly. Connolly's goal with 8:05 remaining in the second tied it, 7-7.

Hamilton's Casey Powell gave Old School the lead again after his goal with 7:03 left.

Later in the period, Charlotte's Jovan Miller and Denver's Peet Poillon scored consecutive goals to give the Young Guns their first lead. Poillon's behind-the back shot near the crease beat Old School and Denver goalie Jesse Schwartzman for his second goal and gave Young Guns a 9-8 advantage with 3:17 remaining in the period.

Young Guns seemed headed to a halftime lead but Berger scored his second goal of the game with 31 seconds remaining in the second.

Old School struck quickly on Chris Eck's goal seven seconds into the game. Berger and Brian Langtry followed with two additional goals within a minute span for an early 3-0 lead.

Sieverts opened the scoring for Young Guns on a two-point goal with 11:50 remaining in the first that cut Old School's lead to 3-2. Sieverts converted on a shot a couple of feet beyond the top of the arc.

Young Guns erased a two-goal deficit on consecutive goals from Peet Poillon and Max Seibald. Seibald's goal with 1:52 remaining in the first period tied it, 4-4.

Hartzell Ties Rabil's Record For Fastest Shot

Ohio Machine defender Kyle Hartzell won the fastest shot competition during the halftime skills competition. Hartzell's best shot was clocked at 111 mph, which ties him for the world record for fastest shot with Paul Rabil. ... Rochester Rattlers defender Joel White won the obstacle course competition with a time of 14.62 ..... Hamilton Nationals goalie Brett Queener was selected the winner of the free-style challenge. Queener raced toward the goal, did a complete turn as he tossed his stick in the air and in one motion dropped the stick to the ground and kicked it into the goal.

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