Denver attackman, John Grant Junior’s record-setting performance turned out to be the difference for the second place Outlaws as they held on to beat the struggling Chesapeake Bayhawks. The veteran attackman, and former Bayhawk’s, second goal of the night tied the game at 3 and propelled Grant Jr. to 1st place in MLL career goals, besting Kevin Leveille with 278 career tallies. Denver would not trail from that point on and Grant Jr. would add 2 more to his total before the night was done.
Denver (9-4) and Chesapeake (4-9) would ordinarily be a crucial match up this late in the MLL season with playoff seedings at stake. This year, thanks in large part to a host of injuries, the Bayhawks are headed in an entirely different direction than the playoff bound Outlaws. The Bayhawks are playing purely for pride.
The first half for the host Bayhawks looked like a microcosm of their forgettable season. Despite Stephen Robarge’s dominance at the face-off X (29/36 on the night), the Bayhawks found themselves in a 10-4 hole with their starting goalie pulled by halftime after a 6-1 second quarter outburst by the Outlaws. The Bayhawks were man-down repeatedly and couldn’t get much going in settled offense. After a 3 goal run in the first quarter put the Bayhawks on top for the only time all night, the Bayhawks sticks went quiet. The Outlaws went on an 8 goal run to end the half and seemingly put the game away.
Dave Cottle’s halftime speech must have resembled one of George S. Patton’s, because the Bayhawks came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders. The Bayhawks reeled off 8 goals of their own in the third quarter to breathe life back into a game that looked to be getting away from them in a hurry. Drew Westervelt and Ben Hunt both tallied twice in the third to bring the Bayhawks even at 12 by the end of the quarter. Tyler Fiorito, who was replace by Jack Runkel late in the first half, re-entered the game and along with Chesapeake’s defense, clamped down on the Outlaws and held them to a pair of transition goals.
Grant Jr. and the Outlaws attack woke up in the fourth just in time to save victory from the
jaws beak of defeat. Eric Law scored on a Junior assist and then Grant Jr. added to his MLL career-high total on a low angle rocket in tight to stretch the lead to 2 for the Outlaws before Ben Hunt answered. Then, Chris Bocklet added back to back scores on a crank from downtown and sneak from behind where Grant Jr. found him on the crease for a relatively easy one. Grant Jr. stretched the lead to 4 on his fourth of the night on a nice pick and roll with Zach Greer. Chesapeake’s Matt Mackrides tallied for the Bayhawks followed by back to back EMO goals by Westervelt and Brendan Mundorf, both on Joe Walters assists. The three straight tallies by the Bayhawks, combined with Robarge’s faceoff dominance put Chesapeake right back in the contest. However, the Outlaws gained possession and Eric Law added an insurance goal to seal the win Denver.
The Bayhawks close their 2014 campaign at home on Saturday, August 9th at 7PM versus the Charlotte Hounds.
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