May 30, 2014 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) - Charlotte Hounds
A late-game comeback from the Charlotte Hounds fell just short on Friday night, as the Denver Outlaws came away with a 13-11 victory to remain undefeated on the 2014 season. The Hounds drop to 1-4. The game was played in front of 7,118 fans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver. The Outlaws' John Grant Jr. was named Coca-Cola Player of the Game for his five point performance (4g, 1a), while the Hounds were led by rookie Justin Ward, who tallied four points (1g, 3a) in his MLL debut.
The Hounds opened the scoring, as Ward dished to John Haus who was able to dump it past Jesse Schwartzman for a 1-0 lead just 2:34 into the game. But the Outlaws two minutes later forced a turnover and Michael Simon buried a shot to tie the game. It marked the start of a five-goal run for the Outlaws - which featured two goals from Grant Jr. - to build a 5-1 advantage after 12:45 of play. Mike Sawyer finally stopped the bleeding, missing his first shot but picking up the rebound to score his first of the night with less than a minute remaining in the quarter. But with five seconds to go, Eric Law buried his second of the game to close the quarter with the Outlaws up 6-2.
Much like the opening quarter, the Hounds struck first in the second, as Sawyer made an Air Jordan-like move to cut the Outlaws lead to three. Thomas DeNapoli made it two in a row for the Hounds as he slammed home a shot on the run to make it a 6-4 game. The Outlaws snuck in one goal - courtesy of Jeremy Sieverts - before the Hounds rattled off two more, including Ward's first-ever MLL goal and Haus' second of the night to make it a one-goal game with 4:29 to play in the half. But the momentum didn't last long, as Grant Jr. and Law each completed a hat trick to put the Outlaws ahead 9-6 at the half.
Things kept clicking for the Outlaws, as Cameron Flint scored just 50 seconds out from the break to push the lead to four. However, it would be their only goal of the quarter thanks to a superb effort by Adam Ghitelman. The third-year goalie had four incredible saves in the quarter, and thanks to a ferocious 2-point goal coming out of transition by long-stick defender Brett Schmidt, the Hounds pulled within one heading into the final quarter.
Defense led the way in the fourth, as the first 6:36 of action went scoreless before Matt Danowski ripped a 2-pointer to put the Hounds in front 11-10. But the Outlaws tied it less than 30 seconds later with a transition goal from Matt Bocklet. It was the Outlaws' first goal in over 21 minutes. The game then started to slip away for the Hounds, as Ryan Flanagan was hit with a slashing call that lead to the go-ahead power-play goal from Chris Bocklet. After back-to-back saves on each end, Grant Jr. scored his fourth of the night to seal a 13-11 victory for the Outlaws. It marked their 25th-straight regular-season win. Ghitelman was a bright spot in the loss, making 17 saves on 30 shots after a rough first out in Boston.
These two teams don't have to wait long for a rematch, as the Outlaws will travel to Charlotte next Saturday, June 7th. The game will be played at 7:30pm ET at American Legion Memorial Stadium.