Denver Caps MLL's Final Day With Perfection
from LaxMagazine.com Staff Reports
|Denver completed the league's
first unbeaten regular season on Saturday with its 18-12 win over
© Greg Wall
The Denver Outlaws completed a perfect regular season - the first in Major League Lacrosse history - by toppling the second-ranked Hamilton Nationals 18-12 on Saturday, finishing advancing to the MLL Championship Weekend with a 14-0 record.
A win by 16-14 win by Chesapeake over Charlotte solidified the pairings for the weekend, as the Bayhawks clinched third place in the league, with the Hounds slotted in fourth. At the championship weekend, which takes place at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., Denver will take on Charlotte in the first semifinal on August 24th at 1:00 p.m., followed by defending champion Chesapeake playing No. 2 seed Hamilton at 4:00. The first semifinal will be broadcast on ESPN2, with the second on the CBS Sports Network.
The MLL Championship will be played on Sunday, August 25th at 3:00 p.m.
Denver goalkeeper Jesse Schwartzman was key in the net on Saturday as the Outlaws cruised, making 16 saves on 27 shots, finishing the season with a league-record 9.67 Goals Against Average, joining his own 2011 season as the only sub-10 goal goalie seasons in league history.
Chris Bocklet had five points for the Outlaws, opening the scoring in the first quarter off a Terry Kimener feed and contributing a goal and an assist to a 7-0 Denver run that spanned the first and second quarters to turn a 2-2 game into a 9-2 game before Hamilton responded with two goals before halftime to send it into the break at 9-4.
Bocklet finished with four goals and an assist, leaving him tied with Kevin Crowley of Hamilton for the league lead in points after the Nationals' star finished with six points in the contest. The pair finished the regular season knotted at 55 points apiece, one ahead of Boston's Paul Rabil for the points title. Bocklet won the league's goal-scoring race with 42 on the season.
Eric Law (4G, 1 2-pointer, 2A) and Drew Snider (2G, 3A) also had banner nights for the Outlaws.
Mike Poppleton had a dominant night at the X for Hamilton, winning 24-of-31 draws and scooping seven ground balls, but his team couldn't rally from the big deficit at the half even with the advantage at the circle. Cody Jamieson and Kevin Cunningham chipped in three goals each for Hamilton, while Joe Walters had a pair of goals and a pair of assists, the latter clinching for him the league's assist title with 26, four ahead of Cunningham.
Chesapeake 16, Charlotte 14
The Bayhawks were victorious in the battle to determine third place - and importantly who would get to avoid facing Denver in the semifinals - scoring the final seven goals of the contest to rally from a 14-8 deficit at home. John Grant, Jr., Ben Rubeor and Drew Westervelt each had six points in the victory, with Rubeor and Westervelt notching four goals and two assists and Grant potting two and assisting on four.
Kip Turner earned the win, stopping 13 shots, including five in the fourth quarter shutout for the Bayhawks.
Charlotte spread the scoring, with nine people contributing points, led by four from Matt Danowski on two goals (one 2-point goal) and two assists. Geoff Snider went 18-for-28 to help Charlotte dominate the face-off game. The Hounds outscored the Bayhawks 11-4 over the second and third quarters, but couldn't hold on for the win and will face top-seeded Denver at the MLL semifinals in two weeks.
Rochester 23, Boston 14
The Rattlers exploded for a season-high 23 points to route Boston in the season finale for both teams, having fallen short of the top four spots in the league for a berth at Championship Weekend. Midfielder Matt Striebel led the charge with seven points, hitting on three 2-point goals in the contest. Dave Lawson had five points on three goals and a pair of assists, while John Galloway earned the win with eight saves in goal.
Boston was never able to recover after going down 7-2 in the first quarter, but got four goals from Will Manny and another three from Kevin Buchanan. Paul Rabil had five points on a pair of goals and three assists, but fell short of the league points title by just one, finishing behind Kevin Crowley of Hamilton and Chris Bocklet of Denver.
New York 14, Ohio 11
The Lizards rallied from a 7-4 halftime deficit to score a three-goal victory, scoring ten in the second half and limiting Ohio to just four to close their season with a win at home.
Rob Pannell had three goals and three assists to lead New York, which got four goals from Stephen Mock and a five point day (3G, 2A) out of Jo-Jo Marasco. Drew Adams made 16 saves to earn the win in net, while Greg Guerenlian won 19-of-28 face-offs for the Lizards.
Kiel Matisz had a hat-trick for Ohio and Steele Stanwick added a pair of goals, but the Machine couldn't keep up in the second half.