By Heather Crowley
The match up between the MLL All-Stars and the USA National Team offered nothing but the best competition and drama as the back and forth affair provided suspense, action and enthusiasm.
Down by two with just 3:15 remaining Team USA needed a comeback and found it. The National Team pulled within one on a Max Seibald goal to make for a dramatic finish. The six goal star and Bud Light MVP of the game, Denver Outlaws attacker Brendan Mundorf, again came up big as he tied the game up 12-12. After that, USA never looked back.
Ryan Powell pounded home the game winner with just a minute remaining and the score would stay at 13-12 to give USA the win.
Team USA survived a valiant effort from the MLL All-Stars in a match up that saw 11,771 fans pack Harvard Stadium for a Cannons record. The contest had been in question from the very beginning as the game saw four ties and three lead changes.
The MLL All-Stars put together a more balanced attack as Kevin Leveille, Anthony Kelly and Peet Poillon each scored two goals. But it wasn’t enough for the win.
“This gives us the confidence that we can survive a situation like this,” Mundorf said of the pressure Team USA faced late. “This is good for our team knowing that we can be down and get out of a situation like that.”
It took almost half a quarter until the game saw its first goal which was scored by Kevin Leveille off a Chris Rotelli assist. The opportunity was created by Matt Bocklet picking off an errant Team USA pass.
The MLL All-Stars were able to shut down Paul Rabil early with an effective double team but could not stop Mundorf with their zone defense. The reigning MVP could not swim dodge or slice his way past the MLL defense as Denver’s Matt Bocklet and Toronto’s Brodie Merrill kept the attackers at bay. Bayhawks Chris Garrity turned away shots early to set a positive tone for the MLL All-Stars.
Garrity shut out Team USA in the first quarter but could not keep up the stellar pace for the entire game. In his Independence Day game just four days earlier Garrity made 21 saves against a dangerous Denver team. Team USA’s talent overtook the goalie as Ryan Boyle scored USA’s first two goals within two minutes of each other, early in the second quarter.
Despite getting shutout in the first quarter USA found their rhythm through quick timely passes. Alex Smith won faceoffs to get USA possessions. Max Seibald made his presence felt by scoring the go ahead goal in the second quarter for Team USA.
The All-Stars put up a valiant fight as Peet Poillon tied the game at three all with 5:27 before halftime. Poillon proved that despite three unanswered goals from Team USA the All-Stars would not go out quietly.
The game turned chippy just before halftime as Matt Danowski and Chris Schiller mixed it up after Stephen Berger got knocked to the ground by Sean Nadelen. Both Nadelen and Berger got hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
USA made sure to go into halftime with a lead as Brendan Mundorf scored two goals in 40 seconds to put team USA up 5-3. The ability to score in bunches helped keep Team USA running as USA again poured on two quick goals before the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth to tie it all up at 9-9.
Danowski’s two point goal tied the score up at 6-6 in the third quarter and then the MLL All-Stars went on a three goal run after halftime. Mundorf would not let the USA get put to bed early and put in two of the USA’s three unanswered goals of their own. Brian Dougherty came back in to replace goalie Adam Fullerton while All-Star goalie Jesse Schwartzman was the man in the second half for the MLL All-Stars. Schwartzman gave up goals late to USA.
Fun and games dominated halftime as Paul Rabil successfully defended his fastest shot crown in a shootout with Max Seibald. His fastest shot clocked at 111 mph tying last year’s winning shot. Chicago rookie Ned Crotty took home the 2 point contest title while the Cannons’ Kevin Buchanan dethroned Toronto’s Brett Queener as the freestyle champion.