Second Half Comeback Falls Short as BayHawks Lose
Annapolis, MD - Midfielders Peet Poillon and Joe Walters totaled a goal and an assist apiece for the Chesapeake Bayhawks in a tough 9-6 loss to the Denver Outlaws at Sports Authority Field. Trailing by five goals at halftime, the Bayhawks outscored the Outlaws 5-1 over the opening 21 minutes of the second half to pull within one, but could not complete the comeback.
"I thought we competed our tails off. We hustled from beginning to end. Our guys played with great character, great energy and great intensity," Head Coach Dave Cottle said. "I was really, really proud of our team. We fought and battled like crazy."
Goalie Jesse Schwartzman was simply spectacular for Denver, making a whopping 28 saves to frustrate Chesapeake's shooters. The Bayhawks outshot the Outlaws 54-35, but had just six goals to show for it.
"Jesse Schwartzman was the best player on the field tonight. It was not only all the saves he made, but the fact he forced us to shoot for corners and we hit a couple pipes," Cottle said.
Chesapeake (2-6) came into the contest missing five starters due to injuries and suffered another tough loss in the first half when goalkeeper Kip Turner sustained a broken thumb. Turner, a starter on the Bayhawks' back-to-back championship clubs, showed a lot of heart by playing the final 12 minutes of the second quarter in severe pain and finished with seven saves.
Tyler Fiorito replaced Turner in the second half and recorded nine saves in just his third appearance for the Bayhawks. "I thought Tyler played a great game. He came off the bench and really gave us a lift. He made some outstanding saves and stole a couple goals."
Denver (7-1) raced out to a 5-0 lead as Anthony Kelly dominated the face-offs and midfielder Justin Pennington scored two goals. Chesapeake was held scoreless for the opening 25 minutes before rookie attackman Brandon Benn finally put the visitors on the board with a rebound goal. Benn snatched a carom off Schwartzman's stick out of midair and quickly side-armed a short shot into the net.
Midfielder Drew Snider closed the first half scoring with an unassisted goal off a crank shot to give Denver a 6-1 lead at intermission. During the break, Chesapeake learned that Turner had broken his thumb and Cottle said during a television interview prior to the second half that the two-time defending champs had to dig deep and show some pride.
That is exactly what happened as midfielder Ben Hunt opened the second half by blowing past his defender and bulling his way to the cage for an unassisted goal. First line running mate Matt Mackrides followed with an unassisted goal off a crank shot to cut the deficit to 6-3.
Denver attackman Eric Law briefly broke the run with a tremendous individual effort - diving from behind the goal and absorbing a crushing hit to score unassisted. However, Chesapeake kept coming as Walters and Poillon both scored unassisted off nice dodges while attackman Ben Rubeor fired in a short shot from the crease off a great inside feed from Walters. That 3-0 run pulled the visitors to within 7-6 with just under 10 minutes remaining.
Unfortunately, Chesapeake would not score again and a rare 2-point goal by long stick midfielder Michael Simon gave Denver a 9-6 lead with 6:15 to go. The Bayhawks had chances to get closer, but were repeatedly stymied by Schwartzman.
Not to be overlooked in the loss was a superb effort by the Chesapeake defense, which held Denver five goals below its season average. The Outlaws got just seven goals out of their potent offense.
"Our close defense dug down and did an excellent job of containing a very dangerous attack," Cottle said. "Nicky Polanco did a great job on John Grant, Brian Megill did a great job on Curtis Dickson and Jason Noble did a great job on Eric Law."
The Bayhawks return home on Thursday, July 17th, against the Rochester Rattlers at 7:00 PM at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Bayhawks 2014 Season Tickets are still available and can be purchased over the phone by calling the box office at 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.
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