May 10, 2014 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) - Charlotte Hounds
After a two-hour weather delay on Saturday afternoon, the Charlotte Hounds defeated the defending MLL Champion Chesapeake Bayhawks 12-7 for their first win of the 2014 season. The Bayhawks fall to 1-2. Mike Sawyer was named Player of the Game for a three-goal performance, while Ben Rubeor led the way for the Bayhawks with two goals and an assist.
The opening faceoff, originally scheduled for 3:37pm, did not take place until 5:42pm due to severe thunderstorms in the Charlotte area. Tim Fallon won the draw, and just a minute later the Bayhawks' Brian Megill was hit with a holding penalty to set up Sawyer with a power-play goal to give the Hounds an early 1-0 lead. During the Bayhawks' ensuing possession, Mason Poli -- making his first appearance for the Hounds this season -- forced a turnover to set up Dean Gibbons with his first goal of the game. Sawyer followed that up with his second of the night, and an additional goal from John Haus gave the Hounds a 4-0 lead just 4:48 into the game. Drew Westervelt finally snuck a goal in for the Bayhawks with 58 seconds left in the quarter.
The Hounds kept it rolling in the second, as Thomas DeNapoli -- making his first MLL appearance following the completion of his collegiate career at Towon -- scored 1:08 into the quarter. Five minutes later Gibbons tallied his second of the night to push the Hounds in front 6-1. The Bayhawks responded with a goal from Rubeor to make it a 6-2 game. Brett Schmidt was then hit with a costly penalty for an illegal body check, which set the Bayhawks up for a power-play goal from Peet Poillon to close the half with the Hounds ahead just 6-3.
The Bayhawks scored their third unanswered to open the third, as Brendan Mundorf rifled a shot past Pierce Bassett, making it a two-goal game. But while Poli was working in transition, he ripped a shot from long range to score the Hounds' first 2-pointer of the season and give the team an 8-4 lead. The next 5:39 of the game went scoreless, beforeJake Smith scooped up a loose ball, dished it off to Haus, who then passed to Jake Tripucka for the goal to push the Hounds in front 9-4. Sawyer completed his hat trick with 2:46 left in third to give the team a six-goal advantage. But the Bayhawks started a mini-run, as Poillon faked a high shot and released low to beat Bassett. Rubeor then scored as time expired to make it a 10-6 heading into the final quarter.
Matt Abbott scored the Bayhawks' third unanswered to open the fourth and cut the Hounds lead to three. The game started to turn chippy, as Brian Spallina and Matt White both were hit with unsportsmanlike penalties. But the Bayhawks' Dan Burns also was called for interference, which set up a man advantage for the Hounds. Ryan Youngcapitalized off a feed from Tripucka to push the lead back to four goals, 11-7. The next 10 minutes went scoreless, as both Bassett and Kip Turner came up with big saves at their respective ends of the field. Josh Hawkins added an insurance goal with under a minute to play to seal the Hounds' 12-7 victory.
Bassett finished the game with 10 saves on 17 shots, while Turner had 17 saves on 28 shots. The Hounds controlled possession in large part to a 14-21 performance at the X from Fallon, who came out over 50% for the second-straight week after a rough season opener.
The Hounds (1-2) next week travel to Boston to face the Cannons in a 6:00pm game at Harvard Stadium. The Cannons currently are 1-1, with a game against the 2-0 Denver Outlaws to be played this evening.