It’s been a long season for the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Riddled with injuries, suffering 6 losses by 3 goals or less and losing 5 starters to the FIL World Games in mid July, the 2013 MLL Champs limped through a ’14 season that saw them finish with a 9 losses in 14 outings, their worst season since 2008.
But for Chesapeake and 3rd year head coach Dave Cottle, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel, some of which was evident in last nights 19-13 season ending victory over the visiting Charlotte Hounds (4-10).
Despite the absence of Brendan Mundorf, the Hawks posted a season high 19 goals (scoring all 19 in 3 quarters), led by Ben Hunt’s 4 goals and 1 assist. Drew Westervelt chipped in 3 goals to go along with 3 assists, as the Hawks netted 4 goals before Matt Danowski scored the Hounds first tally with 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Hawks transitioned from defense to offense seamlessly all night and were crisp on offense, making the extra pass to the open shooter and sticking shots past Hounds netminder Adam Ghitelman (9 saves) when given the open look. The Hawks scored just :24 into the first, and racked up a 12 goals by halftime.
Rookie Jack Rice (Boys’ Latin) netted 3 goals in his Bayhawk debut, while Matt Abbot dished out a season high 5 assists to go along with a late 4th quarter goal. Joe Walters added another 2 assists for Chesapeake to add to his team high 22 on the season.
On the other end of the field, the Bayhawks defense and net-minders were giving the Hounds little room to operate. Tyler Fiorito was impressive in goal, playing for the injured Kip Turner, who sustained a broken thumb midway through the season. Fiorito stopped 14 shots in the first half before giving way to rookie Jack Runkel. Runkel gobbled up 8 saves in his longest stretch of playing time this season. Chesapeake’s close defense held Charlotte’s youthful dodgers like Ryan Young, Justin Ward and middie Mike Chanenchuk to 1 goal on the night.
Despite the large deficit after 3 quarters of play, the Hounds refused to go quietly into this good night. Charlotte shutout the Hawks for the final quarter, while netting 5 goals of their own. Danowski lead Charlotte with 3 goals, including a 2 pointer.
With the victory, Chesapeake finishes the 2014 season at 5-9, and squanders their chance to select first in the next seasons college draft, which will now go to the Florida Launch. The MLL post season begins August 16th. For a complete run down on who’s in and who plays who, check the MLL homepage for the latest.
Like the photos you see on 24 Seven Lax? Then follow 24 Seven Sports Photography on Facebook.