ANNAPOLIS – The Chesapeake Bayhawks have secured a trip to the postseason for the first time since 2013 as they rebounded from back-to-back losses with a 13-11 victory over the Denver Outlaws on July 28.
After a devastating 20-10 loss to the Charlotte Hounds on July 21, the Bayhawks attempted to rebound against the Atlanta Blaze two days before their matchup with the Outlaws. In their last encounter on June 16, Chesapeake scored four straight goals in the fourth quarter for a 9-6 comeback victory.
The game did not go quite as planned as the Blaze handled everything the Bayhawks threw at them including a hat trick from Lyle Thompson who made his season debut.
“I thought we got beat up at the faceoff X in the first half and that really set the tone,” Chesapeake Bayhawks Head Coach Dave Cottle said. “We played terrible defense in the first half. Guys were running past us left and right. Offensively, we turned the ball over way too much to beat a good team.”
Bayhawks goalie Niko Amato was stellar in the cage for the Bayhawks and had several highlight reel saves throughout the contest to keep his team in the game, but Atlanta took away all of the Bayhawks offensive weapons with their smothering defense.
The Bayhawks had two golden opportunities to tie the game up in the final minutes of play but failed on an extra man attack after Atlanta made a game-saving stop. On their last play of the game the Bayhawks were unable to register a shot on net and lost 12-11.
Chesapeake rebounded against the Outlaws and looked like a new team as Ryan Tucker, Josh Byrne and Steele Stanwick each scored two goals apiece to help secure the No. 2 seed in the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) playoffs.
The score was close as the Bayhawks coasted to a comfortable 11-4 lead in the fourth quarter allowing Denver to rally for seven goals including a substantial two-point shot from Roman Dennis to put the Outlaws right back into the contest. Bayhawks leading scorer and former Terrapins standout Colin Heacock answered back just 44 seconds later.
“We have so many great players who can step up at any time. It makes it easier to click on offense,” Heacock said. “I think we just went back to the basics tonight – get ground balls, make the extra pass, make the smart play.”
Chesapeake never trailed against Denver and the last time the Bayhawks defeated them, they went on a seven-game winning streak. Now, the Bayhawks are playoff bound.