ANNAPOLIS – The Chesapeake Bayhawks came out of the all-star break and won two crucial games in pursuit of their first playoff berth since 2013 by defeating the Boston Cannons and the New York Lizards to extend their winning streak to seven games this past week.
Former University of Maryland standout Colin Heacock has become one of the Bayhawks’ go-to goal scorers and had two stellar performances scoring nine points in two games.
“We’re just playing unselfish lacrosse and doing the little things,"”Heacock said. “We’re sharing the ball on offense and helping each other out on defense. It all starts with Stephen Kelly at the faceoff stripe, and (goalie) Niko Amato is playing the best I’ve ever seen him in the goal. We’re really playing together and playing as one, which is why we’re so successful right now.”
The game on July 2 against Boston was an exciting one. The Cannons started off the scoring and came out with a lot of early energy before the Bayhawks settled in and took a commanding 6-2 lead after the first frame.
With 6:35 remaining in the first half, Boston was able to get its third goal of the contest, but that did not slow the Bayhawks’ intensity as they quickly responded and made it 8-3.
The second half was all Bayhawks as they added four more goals in the third quarter while holding the Cannons to just two goals the entire period for a 12-6 lead heading into the fourth leading to their 15-8 victory.
“I always worry in this league when you have a layoff because you never know what you’re getting into, but thankfully we had some players on Team USA and Team MLL, so they got to get some play in there.” Chesapeake Bayhawks coach Dave Cottle said of his team’s layoff since June 16.
On July 7, the New York Lizards came to visit. The Bayhawks knew they had their hands full and managed to survive a contest that was littered with goals as the Bayhawks won 16-13.
Midfielder Myles Jones, attackman Nate Lewnes and Colin Heacock all had hat tricks for the Bayhawks
“Nate has been with us off and on for two years so we know what he can do. When Nate has time and space he shoots the ball as well as anyone in this league,” Cottle said.
After a high scoring first half, the Bayhawks took an 11-8 advantage into the second half and then clamped down defensively as we have seen them do all year.
“The coaches are really good at getting us the analytics and the stats and keeping us prepared by painting a clear picture of what we need to do and how we need to do it in order to be successful,” Amato said. “We understand who New York is and they are a very good team with a lot of star power, but in this league, you have to play together, and we just had to be the better team.”
The Lizards tried to make a run in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late as the Bayhawks kept them from pulling within three goals in the final frame claiming sole possession of second place (8-2) in Major League Lacrosse (MLL) trailing only the Dallas Rattlers (9-2) by half a game in the standings.
The Bayhawks will welcome the fourth place Charlotte Hounds to Navy Memorial Stadium on July 21 seeking their ninth win of the season.