Editor’s Note: Please welcome Chuck Richardson of EvoShield to LaxAllStars! Chuck is the man behind lacrosse at EvoShield, a true game grower (we saw it in action in Jamaica!), and will be following the Chesapeake Bayhawks for the rest of the MLL season. Below is Chuck’s first post, where he breaks down the Boston-Chesapeake game from last Thursday night. For more, check out the Victorious Return of Casey Powell.
The last time the Chesapeake Bayhawks faced off against the Boston Cannons, the Cannons were 0-3, with the worst season start in franchise history. That game ended in with an overtime victory for the Cannons at Harvard stadium, and would lead to a monumental turn around seeing Boston winning 4 of the next 6 games, putting them back in playoff contention.
On paper, this game could not have been laid out any better. Both teams have won championships in the last two years, both teams had time to regroup after the All-Star break to make a run at a playoff berth, and the last match up went to overtime. Add to that four of the five all time point leaders would be on the field along with Paul Rabil (current MLL season point leader) and Drew Westervelt, both in the running for league MVP and this game would surely be a barn burner. What could make it any better? Easy, just throw in Casey Powell making his season debut after nearly a year away from pro lacrosse.
The game would NOT disappoint.
After a defensively dominated first quarter highlighted by Boston goalie Jordan Burke’s eight saves on eight shots, the ice would be broken by Boston’s Ryan Boyle with a goal just past the 10 minute mark, which would be the only goal of the quarter after a Matt Poskay goal was overturned by a Chesapeake challenge due to a crease violation.
The second quarter would start off at a neck breaking pace that would set the tone for the rest of the game with the Bayhawks coming out and scoring three unanswered goals from Casey Powell, John Grant Jr., and Matt Abbott. Boston would respond in true Boston fashion with a dominant transition game to put five points on the board from Kevin Buchanan, Matt Poskay, Paul Rabil, Stephen Berger, and Mike Ston,e giving Boston the lead 6-3 going into the half with Jordan Burke racking up 11 saves in the first two quarters.
With third place on the line, and a shot to tie Hamilton for the #2 spot, Chesapeake came out of the half on fire, putting up five straight goals (Hunt, Powell, Rubeor (2), Abbott) to give Chesapeake a two point advantage. Boston would respond with a run of their own with goals from Farrell, Rabil, and Poskay, once again giving the Cannons a one goal lead (9-8). With seconds left in the third period, Chesapeake’s John Grant Jr. made an amazing play to find the back of the net with 0.0 left on the clock only to be overturned by a Boston challenge, giving the Cannon’s the one goal advantage going into the fourth.
The pace of play did not slow down in the final period of play with both teams going back and forth in championship fashion. The final three minutes of the game would prove to be the most adrenaline filled moments of the rematch. With Boston up by two, Chesapeake’s Drew Westervelt found the goal for the first time of the night bringing the Bayhawks within one (12-11) with 2:41 left to play. The next two minutes of play would be a defensive clinic by Chesapeake highlighted by a forced turn over by Bayhawk Jesse Bernhardt with 20 seconds left in the game.
In a play that seemed scripted in a Hollywood movie, Casey Powell took the ball in the final seconds of the game, was knocked down by an illegal check but was able to keep possession while drawing a flag and put one past Boston’s Jordan Burke for his 3rd goal of the night, evening the score 12-12 with 0:05 left to put the game into overtime. Proof that great players make great plays when they are needed the most, and Casey Powell is one of the greatest.
The defining moment in overtime would come when Boston’s Ryan Boyle would be called for illegal procedure, giving Chesapeake a man up opportunity to win the game. Chesapeake moved the ball around in text book fashion with Hunt finding Drew Westervelt who would have the game winner to give Boston their first loss in five weeks.
If there was any question whether or not Casey Powell would make a strong return to the MLL, that question was answered with a 3 point, 1 assist night that would put Powell over the 400 career point mark with 403.
The next three weeks definitely make for great lacrosse with the top four teams crossing paths multiple times. Chesapeake has a tough road game next week in Denver with a chance to give the Outlaws there first loss and solidfy there place in the championship hunt, while Boston meets the #2 Nationals in Hamilton.