Chesapeake Suffers First Loss, Falls 13-11 to Visiting Boston
Midfielder Joe Walters scored two goals and assisted another in his season debut, but a bad second quarter doomed the Chesapeake Bayhawks in a 13-11 loss to the visiting Boston Cannons at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Thursday night.
Midfielders Matt Abbott and Matt Mackrides, along with attackman Brendan Mundorf, all scored two goals for Chesapeake, which suffered their first loss after opening the season 2-0. Goalie Brian Phipps put forth another strong outing with 14 saves for the Bayhawks.
Boston goalie Tyler Fiorito, acquired from Chesapeake in an off-season trade, recorded 20 saves to earn Player of the Game honors. Fiorito made numerous spectacular stops in stealing several sure goals from the Bayhawks.
Attackman Drew Westervelt had a goal and an assist for Chesapeake, which was outscored 7-1 in the second quarter. Faceoff specialist Charlie Raffa started and finished strong in winning 13 of 26 draws.
"We played a bad second quarter. There was about a five-minute span when we played bad offense and bad defense," Chesapeake Head Coach Brian Reese said. "We kept fighting, but just could not dig ourselves out of the hole. We had a couple opportunities to either tie it up or get within one and we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot."
Reese was disappointed the Chesapeake shooters did not follow the game-plan, which called for rapid ball movement to get Fiorito unsettled in the net. The Bayhawks put 31 shots on goal, but far too many were from far out and directly at Fiorito.
"I thought offensively we didn't do a good job of spacing and moving the ball. If Tyler sees the shooter, he's going to make the save," Reese said. "We didn't get him going side-to-side. We gave him some easy ones that got him into a rhythm."
Raffa was the catalyst in the first quarter, winning 4 of 6 faceoffs while also totaling a goal and an assist. Raffa won the opening faceoff, scooped the ground ball, raced into the heart of the defense and bounced a shot past Fiorito just six seconds into the contest. The former University of Maryland All-American closed the opening period scoring by winning another faceoff and feeding Mundorf on the wing for a low-to-high laser that gave the Bayhawks a 3-2 lead.
"I thought Charlie played pretty well. I don't know what the final stats were, but I thought he did a good job," Reese said. "He got us going early and won some big ones at the end to help us come back a bit."
Midfielder Matt Danowski also put a bouncer past Fiorito, who allowed goals on the first shots he saw then responded with seven straight saves. Will Manny scored both goals for Boston in the first frame.
The Cannons scored two goals in the span of 33 seconds to start the second stanza, taking its first lead at 4-3. Having allowed a 4-1 run, Chesapeake capitalized on a couple superb saves by Phipps to respond. Westervelt found Mundorf open just inside the 2-point arc for an overhand crank shot that tied the score at four.
Unfortunately, that is when the floodgates opened with Boston closing the second quarter with five unanswered goals. Emala and Turri scored two goals apiece during the decisive stretch, which gave the Cannons a commanding 9-4 lead at intermission.
Chesapeake, which was unable to score a goal for the final 9:50 of the first half, snapped the drought with just under two minutes elapsed in the third quarter. Walters took a nice cross-field pass from midfielder Nick Ossello and sent a sidearm blast past Fiorito to cut the deficit to 9-5.
The Bayhawks missed several golden opportunities to get closer with Ossello, fellow midfielder Matt Mackrides and defenseman Kyle Sweeney all getting robbed by Fiorito on cannon crank shots over the next four minutes.
Two-way midfielder Matt Abbott finally managed to beat Fiorito, dodging a defender and driving to the doorstep for a point-blank attempt that pulled Chesapeake within three, 9-6 at the 6:45 mark of the third period.
Chesapeake's comeback continued three minutes later when Westervelt finished a picture-perfect fastbreak by sticking a short shot into the top corner. Long stick midfielder Jason Noble started the transition by snagging a ground ball and clearing ahead to close defenseman Jesse Bernhardt, who raced into the offensive zone and drew a defender before dumping down to Westervelt for an easy goal that made it 9-7 with 3:48 to go.
A critical turning point came at the 1:20 mark of the third quarter when Will Manny scored an improbable 2-point goal off a restart to up the Boston advantage to 11-7. Manny noticed that Phipps was out of the goal and rifled a shot that arced overtop the Chesapeake defense and went into the goal on one bounce. Phipps raced back toward the cage, but could not get enough of the ball to knock it off course.
"They outplayed us for about a five-minute span of the second quarter and got a big lead. It was kind of frustrating to see it get away like that," Phipps said. "I was proud of the guys for battling back, but we just came up a little short at the end."
Boston led 13-8 with just under four minutes remaining in the game, but Chesapeake did not fold the tent. Mackrides beat a short stick defender twice for unassisted goals that came 40 seconds apart to give the home team some life.
"I was opportunistic with that shorty on me behind the cage. In those situations, you can't really sit back and run your offense. You just have to go to the goal, which is what I did," Mackrides said.
Abbott then gobbled up a ground ball off the faceoff and made a determined drive to the cage for unassisted tally that made it 13-11 with 2:01 to go. Chesapeake won the ensuing faceoff and Raffa was charging toward the net when Reese called timeout.
"I called that timeout there when I probably should have let Charlie go. In hindsight, it looked like he was going to get a really good shot off," Reese recalled. "We showed some heart. We didn't give up. We could have easily said it wasn't our day, but we kept fighting and gave ourselves a chance."
Mackrides agreed with Reese that what happened during the second quarter proved decisive in the end. "It was just a little lull for us. We gave up some transition goals that really hurt. It's a game of runs in the MLL and Boston got the biggest one tonight," he said. "Our defense did a great job in the third quarter to hold Boston at nine and give us a chance to come back."
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