May 3, 2014 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) - Chesapeake Bayhawks
Annapolis, MD - Midfielder Stephen Peyser scored the winning goal with 1:31 elapsed in overtime to lift the Chesapeake Bayhawks to a thrilling 12-11 victory over the New York Lizards in front of 6,423 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
Peyser beat his man from up top and slipped inside the defense to get an open look from about 8 yards away and fired a bounce shot past New York goalie Drew Adams to give the Bayhawks their first win of the season in the home opener for the two-time defending champions.
"I'm glad Coach Cottle had the confidence to give me the ball there at the end," said Peyser, a six-year veteran in his first season with the Bayhawks. "I dodged from up top and we had a bunch of cutters to set picks. I got through to the middle of the field and it was just wide open. I had time and space to really focus on where I wanted to shoot."
Matt Mackrides, a midfielder playing his second straight game at attack in place of regular starter Drew Westervelt, scored three goals and dished off an assist for Chesapeake (1-1). Peyser and attackman Brendan Mundorf scored two goals apiece for the Bayhawks, who rebounded from a disappointing season-opening loss to Boston.
"We were better today, but we're still not great. We've got a long way to go," Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle said. "We lost three overtime games last year so to be able to win our first one this season is a positive. It might be putting lipstick on a pig right now, but a win is a win and we're happy to be 1-1."
Short stick defensive midfielder Matt Abbott dished off two assists and gobbled up four ground balls while midfielder Steven Brooks totaled a goal and an assist for the Bayhawks. Goalkeeper Kip Turner made 20 saves, several of the spectacular variety, to anchor the defense.
"For the first three quarters, we played Bayhawks' lacrosse. We slipped up a little in the fourth quarter, but fortunately we got it going again when the game was on the line," Turner said.
Greg Gurenlian dominated the faceoffs for New York, winning 19 of 26. Attackman Rob Pannell had two goals and an assist for the Lizards (1-1), who fell despite also winning the ground ball battle 39-24.
Midfielder Michael Kimmel got Chesapeake off to a great start, rearing back and ripping an overhand crank shot from beyond the 2-point arc. Long pole Jesse Bernhardt provide an additional spark by finishing a fastbreak with a rocket crank shot as the Bayhawks took an early 4-1 lead.
After New York scored two straight to pull within one, Chesapeake went on a 5-1 run that featured numerous nice goals. Brooks made a nice move to score while Mackrides tiptoed the crease and used a great fake to beat Adams. Defenseman Nicky Polanco fired up his teammates by hustling downfield on a fastbreak, taking a feed from Abbott and scoring on a sidearm shot.
Mundorf capped Chesapeake's dominant second period by cutting to the crease and scoring off a nice look from fellow attackman Ben Rubeor then sticking a sidearm cannon blast from a poor angle by using the far pipe, sending the home team into halftime with a 9-4 lead.
It turned into a defensive struggle in the third quarter with each team scoring just one goal. Gurenlian scored directly off the opening faceoff while Mackrides answered with an unassisted goal at the 8:55 mark. Mackrides beat his defender from behind with a beautiful swim move at full speed then stuck a short shot into the top corner as Chesapeake took a 10-5 lead into the final frame.
Max Seibald scored unassisted on a crank shot from up top and fellow midfielder Matt Striebel netted back-to-back goals on sidearm crank shots from the right wing as New York used a 3-0 run to pull within 10-8 at the 9:34 mark of the fourth quarter.
Turner held the visitors at bay by making two terrific saves, stoning short stick defensive midfielder Steve DeNapoli on a one-on-one shot off a fastbreak. However, Rob Pannell beat his defender from the wing and stuck a point-blank shot that got the Lizards within one with 4:45 remaining in the game.
New York then completed the comeback when Seibald went coast-to-coast, rolled off an attempted body check and fired a short shot into the cage. That 5-0 run tied the score at 10 with 2:04 to go and coincided with a lengthy offensive drought by the Bayhawks.
Things got even worse for the Bayhawks moments later. Gurenlian won another faceoff and got the ball behind to Ned Crotty, who waltzed unimpeded to goal-line extended and flipped an underhanded shot through the five-hole of Turner to give the Lizards an 11-10 lead.
Chesapeake broke a 20 1/2 minute scoreless stretch just in the nick of time with Mackrides taking a pass from Brooks and firing a 6-yard shot into the top shelf despite having defenseman Kyle Hartzell right in his face - tying the score at 11 with 31.5 seconds left.
Short stick defensive midfielder Dan Burns made a huge play by checking the stick of Shamel Bratton from behind just as he was about to launch an 8-yard shot in the waning seconds. That hustling defensive play sent the contest into overtime.
Adam Rand won a faceoff when it really counted, getting the clamp and coming away with the ball to begin the extra session. Kyle Dixon took a crank shot from just inside the 2-point arc that was snuffed by Adams.
New York cleared the ball and had two players wide open, but Hartzell's threw the ball out of bounds, giving Chesapeake possession again. Abbott cleared the ball out of the New York zone and got it to Peyser, who dodged his defender and slipped inside to score the game-winner.
The Bayhawks 2014 Season Tickets are now available and can be purchased over the phone by calling the box office 866-99-HAWKS (42957). Visit us at www.thebayhawks.com for the full schedule. This season, the Bayhawks and Lexus are giving away an ES350 to one lucky Season Ticket Holder at the last game of the season. Every Season Ticket purchased will amount to one entry into the giveaway.