Editor’s Note: Welcome Lance Antoine back to LAS! Lance is following the Charlotte Hounds a little more closely this Summer, and here is his Week 8 Report on the Hounds’ big win over Chesapeake.
Saturday was a do or die game against the Bayhawks for the Charlotte Hounds. The season is now more than half way over, and the chase for the postseason is getting tighter and tighter every week. Charlotte kept their dreams alive when they beat Chesapeake this week in an overtime thriller.
This was the game that the inner kid in all of us dreams of, a crucial game against a big rival, where the winner is decided by one goal. The final buzzer rings, regulation is over, folks we’re going to overtime. You can feel the pressure as you’re waiting for the face-off, your fans are going crazy. You start to play and the other team grabs the ball. A shot goes out, but your goalie makes the save, now the ball is safe. You’re an attack so you position yourself as best as you can, and before you know it, the ball finds itself in your stick, you shoot, and score! The game’s over and everybody knows that you won the game. Who doesn’t want that feeling?
Well, that’s exactly what happened to Ryan young, the MVP of the game. The win puts Charlotte back up to a .500 win percentage and an overall record of 4-4. Also, they are now ranked third, which is just a little more than enough to get into the postseason, but there are a lot of teams clustered in that range, so it will be no easy task. If the Hounds want to keep it up, they can rely on the dirty work players to do so. They managed to grab 36 ground balls and win 19 of 31 face-offs against the Bayhawks.
Now, unlike other pieces, I’m only going to focus on the positives from this game….
The Good: The consistency of the defense has finally shown up. It’s been in the works for a while, but Saturday’s game proved that Charlotte’s defense has been figured out. Now I’m not saying that they’re unstoppable, but what I am saying is that they are in sync. The slides were there when needed, the switches and checks came too. Another thing too, was the communication: you could hear the defense talking it up, you can expect the defense to be like this the rest of the season. They’ll only be better from here. Before moving on though, I have to give it up to Ghitelman, he made the saves in crucial situations and throughout the game. He played an amazing game and his performance needs to be recognized.
The Better: The “other guys” had a great night. Now I don’t mean “other guys” in a bad way, but some of the more quiet players stepped up. Apart from the usual scorers guys like Young, guys like Jake Tripucka and Matt White really came to play. Tripucka, White, and Sawyer each got a goal. Mason Poli and Peet Poilon each got two goals apiece, and Young managed to net 3. Apart from goals, Eric Lusby, Kevin Drew, and Steve Dircks got an asset each, along with Poli too. Now I know what you’re thinking, if you add up all the stats, they doesn’t quite add up just right. There’s an assist and four goals missing from the game, but that’s what leads us to the final category.
The Best: The man, the myth, and the legend, Matt Danowski, showed up and played his game Saturday. How Danowski doesn’t have his own line of gear or his face on a cereal box, at this point, is beyond me. Danowski had a quiet first half, but came out and played a roaring second half. He had 3 goals in the third, both of which were two point goals. He scored one goal in the fourth to bring the score within a point (it would later be tied by Poilon to go to overtime). In overtime Danowski was the one that dished the ball to Young for the game winner. Other than Sawyer, Danowski is my absolute favorite player to watch. I’m not sure about his plans for retirement, but I can only hope it’s no where near the near future.
Danowski has the qualities of a legend and will be a talked about player for years to come. I can see him leading the Hounds to their first MLL championship this year if things keep going the way they are for the Hounds. Next week Charlotte plays the best team in the MLL, the Denver Outlaws. If the Hounds turn up to play I can see them handing Denver their first loss. I’m stoked to watch the Hounds in these last few weeks, but where they go from here is truly still anybody’s guess.