April 27, 2013

MLL Week 1: Bayhawks, Outlaws, Lizards Win Openers

from staff reports

The 13th Major League Lacrosse season opened over the weekend, with the Chesapeake Bayhawks and Denver Outlaws earning wins on Saturday and the new-look New York Lizards besting the visiting Boston Cannons on Sunday.

Bayhawks 17, Rattlers 14

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Veteran midfielder Kyle Dixon piled up seven points and tied a Major League Lacrosse record with three 2-point goals as the Chesapeake Bayhawks opened the 2013 season by beating the Rochester Rattlers 17-14 in a wild shootout in front of 3,940 fans at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"It was a typical first game. We didn't play great, but fortunately we got the win and that's all that matters," Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle said.

Dixon, in his eighth MLL season, had his cannon crank shot on target and increased his MLL career record for 2-pointers to 50. The perennial All-Star also dished off an assist as Chesapeake began defense of its MLL championship with a thrilling victory.

"I guess you could say I was feeling it tonight," said Dixon, who was named Bud Light Player of the Game. "Teams just continue to back off and give me space beyond the arc. Coach Cottle has given me the green light to shoot whenever I'm open out there and tonight I was fortunate to connect on a few."

Midfielder Ben Hunt fired in a pair of 2-pointers of his own in totaling six points for the Bayhawks, who won without seven players who are still involved in the National Lacrosse League playoffs. Among that group were two returning starting attackmen in Drew Westervelt and John Grant, Jr.

Matt Mackrides, a second-year pro out of Penn State, started on attack and came up big with three goals and four ground balls. Mackrides scored two extra man goals in the fourth quarter to give the Bayhawks breathing room.

"I can't say we're pleased with the way we played offensively. That was a really ugly offensive effort in a lot of ways," Dixon said. "You take away the twos by me and Ben and we only had two other goals in the first half. We need to get some things cleaned up before next weekend."

Nicky Polanco was all over the field and played like a man possessed in anchoring a defense that rose to the occasion and shut out Rochester in the fourth quarter. Polanco provided great man-to-man coverage on Rochester attackman Mark Millon, caused several turnovers and gobbled up three ground balls.

"I thought Nicky was tremendous tonight. He was extremely active, very aggressive and really owned Mark Millon," Cottle said.

Attackman Ben Rubeor contributed a goal and an assist while midfielder Steven Brooks dished off two assists for Chesapeake, which outshot Rochester 58-36. The Bayhawks put a whopping 38 of those shots on goal and might have won easily had Ratters keeper Jason LaShomb not made 27 saves.

Rookie Tyler Fiorito started between the pipes for Chesapeake, but was replaced in the second quarter by second-year man T.C. DiBartolo, who finished with nine saves.

Dixon blasted in two of his 2-pointers during the first quarter as Chesapeake raced to a 7-3 lead. Hunt also had a 2-pointer in the opening period. Rochester responded by opening the second quarter on a 6-0 run that featured a pair of 2-pointers from 10th-year midfielder Matt Striebel.

Suddenly trailing 9-7 with 4:10 elapsed in the second stanza, Chesapeake closed the first half with a 5-0 run that was highlighted by 2-pointers from Dixon and Hunt. Rubeor fed Hunt for another goal as the Bayhawks took a 12-9 lead into intermission.

Hunt added another goal and long stick defensive midfielder Michael Simon scored in transition and Rubeor tallied unassisted as Chesapeake opened the second half with a 3-1 run to take a 15-10 lead. Rochester refused to fold, closing the third period on a 4-0 run to get within one at 15-14.

DiBartolo made two saves to anchor a suffocating defense while Mackrides found openings in the defense for the two power play goals that provided the necessary cushion.

"We could have very easily scored 20 goals, but we missed some easy opportunities," Cottle said. "I don't think we did all the little things on offense. We weren't always in the right spots, our stick-work wasn't great and we made some bad decisions. We have plenty of things to work on during practice this coming week."

Bayhawks face-off specialist Adam Rand won his faceoff battle with John Ortalani, 15-13, while Cottle felt defensive midfielders Barney Ehrmann (long stick) and Danny Burns (short stick) both played very well.

Outlaws 21, Hounds 16

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Hounds on Saturday night dropped their opening game of the 2013 season, falling 21-16 to the Denver Outlaws in front of 3,192 fans at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte. The Outlaws' Chris Bocklet was named Player of the Game for a five-goal performance, while Matt Danowski led the Hounds with seven points on five goals and two assists.

The Hounds won the opening faceoff and got on the board first, thanks to an unassisted goal by Danowski just 1:40 into the game, and then pushed that lead to 3-0 with 2:02 to go in the first on scores from Jovan Miller and Kyle Wimer. However, the Outlaws were able to pull within one on back-to-back goals less than a minute apart by Justin Turri and Bocklet to end the quarter with the Hounds up 3-2.

Bocklet then scored the opening goal of the second quarter to tie the game at 5 with 13:07 to play in the half. The Hounds responded with back-to-back goals from Josh Amidon and Ryan Young, his first with the team, but momentum then shifted in favor of the Outlaws. They scored three straight, including a goal from Terry Kimener in which he faked low and scored high to give the Outlaws their first lead of the game, 6-5, with 8:29 remaining in the half. Danowski got the Hounds right back in it, first working his way from behind the cage to rip a one-hander by Outlaws goalie Jesse Schwartzman, then followed up with an assist on Chris Cudmore's first MLL goal, which put the Hounds back in front 7-6. But Jeremy Sieverts then scored two straight, including a 2-pointer, to give the Outlaws a 10-7 lead with 1:02 remaining in the half. The Hounds cut the lead back to two, 10-8, with a goal in the waning seconds from Joe Cinosky.

Kimener less than a minute into the second half started a three-goal run for the Outlaws that extended their lead to 11-8. It was Danowski who again stepped up for the Hounds, stopping the run with back-to-back goals, the second thanks to a forced turnover by Kevin Drew. The Hounds kept it rolling as Peet Poillon scored his first with the team and Young his second, to pull back within one, 13-12, with 7:01 to play in the third. But the Outlaws finished the quarter with a three-point advantage, 15-12, after goals by Turri and Bocklet.

The Outlaws kept it rolling into the fourth, with three more goals, including Kimener's third of the night, to push the lead to 17-12. The Hounds cut that in half with a 2-point goal from Amidon, but the Outlaws rattled off another three goals to take a 20-14 advantage with 3:47 left in the game. Bocklet scored his fifth of the night sandwiched between Hounds goal from Ricky Pages and Danowski to account for the 21-16 final. Hounds goalie Mark Manos in his first full MLL game finished with 15 saves on 35 shots.

The Hounds next week travel to Rochester, NY to face the Rattlers in a Sunday matinee game at Sahlen's Stadium. The Rattlers are coming off a 17-14 loss to the Chesapeake Bayhawks.

Lizards 14, Cannons 11

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The Boston Cannons (0-1) lost the 2013 season opener to the New York Lizards (1-0), 14-11, at Hofstra University's Shuart Stadium. Paul Rabil led the Cannons with four goals and Ari Sussman added three, but the Lizards never trailed after the beginning of the second quarter to secure the win.

Rabil opened the scoring for the Cannons with two goals in the first quarter. Eventual player of the game Tommy Palasek completed a hat trick for the Lizards, but with one each from Sussman and Brian Farrell, the Cannons ended the quarter with the advantage, 4-3. New York then outscored the Cannons 6-1 in the second quarter to take a 9-5 lead into halftime. The Cannons' only goal was Rabil's third of the game, with an assist from Mike Stone.

The Lizards held the Cannons to just one goal again in the third - Rabil's fourth - and scored three of their own to increase their lead to 12-6. After a Lizards goal from Joe Yevoli early in the fourth, the Cannons went on a four-goal run to pull within three, with goals from Colin Briggs, Stone, Ryan Boyle and Sussman to make it 13-10 with just over three minutes to play. But Vito DeMola scored one more for the Lizards to secure the win.

Boyle's goal and assist brought him to 397 career points, just two away from tying the MLL all-time record of 399, held by Casey Powell.

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