By William Griffin | 8/11/13 12:20 AM
After four close quarters of intense lacrosse, the defending MLL Champion Chesapeake Bayhawks defeated the visiting Charlotte Hounds by a score of 16-14, in Annapolis, MD on Saturday night. With the win, Chesapeake clinches the number two seed for MLL’s Championship Weekend, Presented by Smartlink, in Philadelphia August 24th and 25th.
While both teams had already clinched a spot in Championship Weekend, the game was critical for standings implications. After Hamilton’s loss earlier in the day to the undefeated Denver Outlaws, Chesapeake had the opportunity to clinch the two seed, but also had the chance to fall to the four with a loss to Charlotte, meaning that if Charlotte won, they would be the three seed and the Nationals would retain the two seed. Simply put, the winner wouldn’t have to face the 14-0 Outlaws in the semifinals.
Chesapeake got out to a quick start, as Player of the Game Ben Rubeor netted the first goal, and the Bayhawks went on to score the next four to jump out to a huge five goal lead, 5-0, halfway through the first quarter. Charlotte responded however, with three of the next four goals of the quarter, as John Haus, Josh Hawkins and Ryan Flanagan each netted unassisted goals, pulling the Hounds back within three as the quarter closed, 6-3 Chesapeake.
The second quarter was much more back and forth than the first frame, as Jake Tripucka scored for Charlotte to close the gap to two goals, but Drew Westervelt and Rubeor added two of their own for the Bayhawks to push the lead back to four. Charlotte would go on to score five of the next six goals, including a two-pointer from Matt Danowski, to take the 10-9 advantage into the locker room.
Charlotte stretched their lead, right away in quarter number three, with Mike Sawyer, Tripucka, Ryan Young, and Kevin Drew all netting goals less than four minutes into the half. Charlotte led by five and looked to be in control, but the defending champs felt differently and used the rest of the game to show why they’re a force to be reckoned with come Championship Weekend. Drew Westervelt scored his third goal of the contest almost halfway through the third to cut Charlotte’s lead to four, 14-10, heading into the final period of play.
The fourth period was all Chesapeake. Rubeor scored just 30 seconds into the quarter and was followed by goals from Matt Mackrides and John Grant Jr. to pull the Bayhawks within one goal, with a little over 10 minutes left to play—plenty of time for the defending champs. Michael Kimmel ripped a two-point goal a shortly, and Rubeor added another a few minutes later, to give the Bayhawks a two point lead with three minutes to play. Charlotte had a few chances on the offensive end to tie the game, but failed to convert and the Bayhawks went on to win the game, 16-14.
Both goalies were solid between the pipes. Kip Turner of the Bayhawks recorded 13 saves on 26 shots, while Charlotte’s Adam Ghitelman recorded 12 saves on 27 shots.
With the win, Chesapeake clinches the two seed in Championship Weekend and will face the Hamilton Nationals in the second Semifinal game, on August 24 at 4 p.m. ET; the game can be seen live on CBS Sports Network. Charlotte on the other hand, falls to the fourth seed, and draws the undefeated Denver Outlaws. They will play in the first semifinal at 1:00 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN2. For more information about Champ Weekend or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.majorleaguelacrosse.com/championship-weekend.
· Danowski’s 4 points gave him 45 for the season, good for 6th best in the league and Westervelt’s 6 points gave him 42 for the season, 8th best in the league
· Westervelt’s 4 goals gave him 36 on the season, elevating him to third best in the league for the season. Rubeor’s 4 and Young’s 1 goal gave them each 30 for the season, good for 7th best
· Danowski’s two point goal gave him six for the season, second best in the league
· Tripucka, Rubeor and Westervelt had Hat tricks
· Attendance: 10,831
· Game MVP: Ben Rubeor