By Natalie Johnson | 6/14/14 10:30 PM
It was a close game and a highly physical matchup, but the Charlotte Hounds ultimately defeated the Florida Launch 14-13 on Saturday night to record a win for the second consecutive week and move to 3-4 on the season.
Mike Sawyer opened scoring in the second minute of the game, and Charlotte quickly added another point on a Ryan Young goal. After two early penalties on Florida, it looked as though it could be a long night for the Launch (4-3). However, All-Star Kevin Crowley came up with two goals in succession to tie the game at 2.
Florida struggled throughout the early minutes of the game, finding it difficult to sustain possession and get quality shots off. Charlotte extended their lead to 5-2 on goals from Matt Danowski and rookies Justin Ward and Mike Chanenchuk. Midway through the second quarter, the Launch offense seemed to finally show up, as Kevin Cunningham and Kieran McArdle each found the back of the net off a pass from Casey Powell. Stephen Keogh, appearing his first game of the season, added another goal for Florida to tie the game once again. Each team scored once more in the quarter, and the game went to halftime with a score of 7-7.
The Launch took their first lead of the night on another goal from McArdle shortly after halftime, but that lead didn’t last long, as they allowed six points in the third quarter while only scoring two. Charlotte seemed to thrive on the physical style of play, and the fans at Memorial Stadium made it even more difficult for the visiting Launch. Sawyer put on a show in the final moments of the third quarter, scoring twice within fifteen seconds, including a 2-pointer as time expired to push Charlotte’s lead to 13-9.
Florida wasn’t done yet, though, as Keogh added his second and third goals of the night and Crowley netted his game-high fourth goal to bring the Launch within one point with seven minutes remaining. Unfortunately for Florida, Adam Ghitelman was having a great night in the net. He made incredible saves when the Hounds needed it most, including several stops on shots from point-blank range that could have given Florida the lead.
For the Hounds, the game-winning goal came from an unlikely suspect, as rookie Pat Laconi made a spectacular play on defense to strip the ball from Crowley, then scored his first career goal on the ensuing Charlotte possession. That goal was Charlotte’s only point of the final quarter, but it proved to be enough for the win. Although Florida had opportunities in the last minute, they couldn’t get the ball past Ghitelman to force overtime, instead taking their third loss of the season.
Next week, Florida returns home to face the Rochester Rattlers in the lone Friday night matchup. That game will be aired live on CBS Sports Network at 7:30 ET. The Hounds will go on the road against the New York Lizards next Saturday, which can be seen at 7:00 ET on ESPN3.
- Mike Sawyer was named Coca-Cola Player of the Game after recording 4 points. It was his highest-scoring game of the season.
- Casey Powell was the high point scorer of the game, with 5 points on 2 goals and 3 assists.
- 5 first-year players scored in the game: Ward, Laconi, and Thomas DeNapoli each scored a goal for Charlotte, while Chanenchuk recorded two goals. Kieran McArdle had two goals for Florida.
- Chris Mattes won the battle at the X for Florida, taking 16 of 29 face offs from Charlotte’s Tim Fallon.
- Although there were plenty of flags thrown, neither team did particularly well on the power play. Florida converted 2 of 9 man-up opportunities, while Charlotte was just 1-for-6.
-The 2014 MLL All-Star Game, which will feature Team MLL vs. Team USA, is just around the corner on Thursday, June 26, at 7:30 p.m. at Harvard Stadium in Boston, MA. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.comor by calling 617-746-9933.