Thompson Totals Five Points on Native American Celebration Night as First-Place BayHawks Beat Outlaws, 12-9
ANNAPOLIS, MD - Attackman Lyle Thompson continued his pursuit of the Major League Lacrosse single-season scoring record by amassing five points as the Chesapeake Bayhawks beat the Denver Outlaws, 12-9.
With this win and the Boston Cannon's loss to the Atlanta Blaze, the Chesapeake Bayhawks (7-3) have claimed sole possession of first-place in Major League Lacrosse. Boston and Denver now sit even at 6-4.
It was Native American Celebration Night at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and it was quite fitting for Thompson to put together another breathtaking performance. A product of the Onondaga Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy, Thompson scored three goals and assisted on two others to lead the Bayhawks en route to their third straight victory. Thompson's first goal of the game marks his 100th MLL career goal.
"I just love playing this game. I think about that every time I step on the field," Thompson said. "You add a special event like this, it just adds another log to that fire and fuels it. Mentally, I had a little more focus for this game."
Prior to the game, the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, the Chesapeake Bay region's local tribe, performed an "Edge of the Woods" ceremony with the full Bayhawks team and staff. This ceremony served to welcome the Bayhawks into the Piscataway Conoy's territory and place a blessing on those involved.
An elaborate halftime ceremony featured members of various Native American tribes from Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia performing traditional chants and dances.
Following the game, Thompson and Bayhawks' midfielder Brendan Bomberry, who hails from the Mohawk Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy, participated in what is known as a "blanket ceremony."
Thompson, who leads MLL in scoring with 52 points, was thankful to Chesapeake Owner Brendan Kelly for putting together the Native American Celebration Night.
"It was special and shows that Brendan (Kelly) really cares about this game and its heritage. By honoring native Americans tonight, he helped tell the story of this great game," Thompson said. "That was important to me and meant a lot to all the Native Americans who were here tonight to take part in this celebration."
Attackman Colin Heacock scored two goals and assisted another for Chesapeake. Attackman Steele Stanwick scored two goals while midfielder Shane Simpson added a goal and assist for the Bayhawks, who used a 9-0 run to take control of the contest.
Goalkeeper Niko Amato stopped 14 shots while close defenseman Chris Fennell and Jesse Bernhardt combined to gobble up eight ground balls as Chesapeake shut down Denver's potent transition attack.
"That's what we wanted to do, eliminate the transition and make them play six-on-six. For the most part we were able to do that," Chesapeake Head Coach Dave Cottle said. "I thought Niko was very good tonight and Jesse provided great leadership. That's three games in a row that we've held the opponent under 10 goals. We're doing a better job on that end of the field."
After falling behind 2-0, the Bayhawks got on the board with 4:42 remaining in the first quarter off a strong individual move by Thompson, who drove his defender below the goal then rolled back and got to the front of the cage for a short shot.
Simpson tied the score with an unassisted goal of his own, getting a step on his defender then exploding down the left alley for a bounce shot off the goalie's hip.
Chesapeake closed the opening period with three straight goals as Heacock capped the rally with an absolute cannon blast with 11.6 seconds left. That go-ahead goal was scored on an extra-man opportunity for the Bayhawks, after Bomberry was hit in the head by a Denver defender.
Chesapeake carried that momentum into the second stanza and increased the advantage to 6-2. Heacock beat his defender from the wing and unleashed a sidearm shot from short range just over two minutes in. Stanwick juked a defender so badly he fell, then used two fakes from the doorstep to beat opposing goalie Dillon Ward.
Bomberry launched a rocket into the top corner after Heacock dodged to the crease, drew a slide and dished a pass to the waiting midfielder. Thompson continued the onslaught with an assist and goal on consecutive possessions.
John Wagner was the beneficiary of a tremendous look and feed by Thompson, who threaded the needle through traffic to the cutting midfielder. Thompson then gained leverage on his defender and got to the middle of the field to score for the second time.
Andrew Kew then used a nifty shot fake to get past a defender and into the heart of the defense for a point-blank attempt as the Bayhawks closed the first half with nine unanswered goals and took an 9-2 lead into intermission.
Amato and the defense had a big hand in the decisive run, holding Denver scoreless for a span of almost 27 minutes, stretching from the first quarter into the third. Denver midfielder Jack Jasinski finally ended the Outlaws drought by finishing a fastbreak at the 9:09 mark of the third period.
"I thought we moved the ball well on offense and played good team defense. We had our sticks in the passing lanes and deflected a lot of balls," Cottle said.
The Bayhawks answered quickly with short stick defensive midfielder Isaiah Davis-Allen going coast-to-coast. Davis-Allen cleared the ball into the offensive zone then fired on the run to score just the second goal of his three-year pro career.
A two-pointer by long stick midfielder Brandon Jones, followed by a power play goal from John Grant Jr. cut the Denver deficit to 10-6 going into the final frame. The Outlaws continued their rally early in the fourth quarter by scoring twice in the span of 34 seconds to get within two.
Looking to change momentum, the Bayhawks put the ball in the stick of Thompson, who found Stanwick all alone on the back side for a point-blank shot. Thompson then finished a fastbreak created by defenseman Jesse Bernhardt with a sidearm missile that made it 12-8 with 9:39 remaining.
"I thought we got tired from playing so much defense. I thought we got a little full of ourselves and almost let this one get away," Cottle said. "Fortunately, we held on and won a game we really needed to win."
Chesapeake outshot Denver and forced the Outlaws into 24 turnovers while committing only 10 themselves.
Cottle was pleased with the win, but has his mind set on the future and hopes to win his next game as the MLL post-season quickly approaches.
The Chesapeake Bayhawks will suit back up on Saturday, August 17th to take on the Boston Cannons at 7:00 PM EST for Military Appreciation Night. Tickets for this game are available at thebayhawks.com/tickets or can be purchased through the Chesapeake Bayhawks Ticket Office by calling 866-99-HAWKS or emailing email@example.com.
The Military Appreciation game will feature a free, post-game fireworks show and will have the return of the skydiver who appeared in the home opener.
The Lexus Tailgate Zone will open at 4:30 PM and feature a live DJ, photo booth, games for kids and complimentary Bud Light for ticket holders 21 and older.
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Major League Lacrosse Stories from August 10, 2019
- Thompson Totals Five Points on Native American Celebration Night as First-Place BayHawks Beat Outlaws, 12-9 - Chesapeake Bayhawks
- Blaze Use a Team Effort to Outlast Boston - Atlanta Blaze
- Four Rattlers Record Hat Trick in First Home Win - Dallas Rattlers
- Denver Outlaws Lose 12-9 to Chesapeake BayHawks Despite Record-Breaking Performance from Max Adler - Denver Outlaws
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