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Charlotte Hounds Week 10: Just a Tail Off

Saturday night’s game between Boston and Charlotte was a heart breaker for underdogs everywhere. Before the game the ESPN announcers put it best “the winner of this game in a playoff contender, the loser is a pretender“. I hate to agree with that, but sadly for Hounds fans, that’s the way it looks for the Hounds right now.

Charlotte lost in overtime making their overall record 4-6. It knocked them out of fourth place and hurt their chances of postseason greatness. Looking at the standings, they’ll have to win their next two games to at least have a shot to make it to the playoffs. Their season also depends on how the other teams near them in the rankings perform, in comparison to the Hounds record.

Charlotte put up a good fight, but lost in overtime with the final score of 16-17. If you were watching the game live you probably saw what you thought to be a good performance by Fallon and the face-off crew. Believe it or not, Charlotte only managed to win 8 (yes you heard it right) 8 of 35 face-offs and grab just a measly 23 ground balls to Boston’s 44. As you could have guessed Boston also managed to out shoot the Hounds too by 11 shots on goal and 6 off.

Although it looks like Charlotte played poorly, this is one of those odd times where stats lie. Think about it, with only a one goal difference, that’s pretty impressive converting on the Hounds part. Ghitelman put up 17 saves which also helped keep the game close. For stats to be so different, but a game to be that close is a rarity. Unlike other games, I’m going to break this one down by quarters.

First: You could hear the Cannon’s fans all the way from your couch they were so loud. The whistle blew and the ball went to Boston. Boston went up two nothing pretty quick thanks to Rabil and Adams, but were eventually answered by none other than Peet Poillon. The rest of the quarter belonged to Boston, by that I mean Mike Stone added to goals two his stat column. Surprisingly quiet in the first from Boston was Will Manny, he was only heard from when he got a penalty for an illegal stick.

I noticed that perhaps the reason the score was lopsided in the first was because of Charlotte’s defense. They were a tad sloppy on the quick transition, but fixed it quick in the second. They also struggled with slides and the double team the rest of the game, they tended to leave and open man off the double team. Weather or not it was the defense’s fault or the middies is beyond me. It would eventually lead to point opportunities, but the defense got it together and shot the majority of the Cannon’s scoring drives down.

Second: Finally, finally I’m not sure what happened, but the Hounds didn’t make waste of the second quarter, they did work. The one and only Matt Danowski came out and scored for Charlotte and put up a bomb in the goal about two minutes in. A minute or so later Danowski dished a pass to Brett Schmidt that would turn into a two point goal to tie up the game. That got the Hounds pumped, so therefore Ryan Flanagan wanted a piece of action too, so he got a piece of the goal and gave the Hounds a 1 point lead.

The Cannons weren’t happy about that so Pat Heim decided to do something about it and he tied the game. The rest of the quarter was a back and fourth battle for the lead. For Charlotte John Haus and Danowski scored totaling six points for the Hounds in the second. For the Cannons Rabil, Manny, and Buchanan scored. They put up 5 in the second and took a 2 point lead going into the half. The only downside to the Hounds game play in the second was the slashing penalty from Joe Cinosky.

Third: Manny and Boyle came out quick giving Boston their biggest lead of the game putting them up 11-7. Just when things were looking down for Charlotte, one man stepped out of the shadows and sparked the offence and that man is Eric Lusby. Lusby hadn’t been heard from since his huge performance against Ohio. Saturday night he had 3 turnovers, but despite that he had a solid game. Before I go on any further I just want to collaborate on some of my game notes to this point. The defense’s ability to play offence was on point Saturday, the way they got into the scrums and got ground balls was amazing.

The entire Charlotte team is full of so much athleticism it’s scary, even Boston’s coach talked about that fact before half time. Lastly the Clears by Charlotte were like none other. The clears couldn’t have been more picture perfect. Alright back to the game. The rest rest of the quarter was all Charlotte. Goals flew in from Danowski, Ryan Young, and Ghitelman. Yes the goalie scored, I would easily say this is the play of the year. Before I move on to the fourth I’ve got to mention Hawkins. He was a huge part of the ball movement. You could not take the pill from that kid. At one point Paul Rabil laid him out, he got right back up maintained possession of the ball and moved into the box.

In the end The hounds were up 12-11.

Fourth: To sum it up for the Cannons, it looked like a Paul Rabil and Buchanan highlight reel, the two totaling 5 goals for Boston. On the other hand Charlotte had goals from Danowski, Tripucka, and Poillon. The only reason the game was tied after this quarter was because of Ghitelman. His ability to stop the high shots and not fall for fakes kept the Hounds in the game. He’s a great goalie, one of the best in the league. You can tell he’s the rock of the team and is what holds the Hounds together. There’s not much else to say in the fourth other than you could tell both teams were getting tired, you could see the game play slow down but the game play didn’t get sloppy at all. It’s all tied up at 16 so we’re going to overtime.

Overtime: Remember how the trade deadline was last week, and the biggest deal was Stephen Berger leaving New York? Well Berger went to Boston, to play with his life-long friend Paul Rabil. Berger’s first debut as a Cannon was Saturday and his first goal as a Cannon was Saturday too and it may have been his most important yet.  Yes you guessed it Berger got his first goal of the game in overtime to win it. Of course he had help though, the assist came from none other than Paul Rabil.

The Hound’s aren’t done yet though, there’s a lot of lacrosse yet to play. Next up the Hounds play the New York Lizards at home. This is A MUST WIN GAME if the Hounds want to even think about the postseason. The Hounds already played the Lizards back in week 5 and had a big win in New York. I believe the Hounds can pull off a win, judging by how well the Hounds have been playing lately (I don’t like saying this because I’m a Lizards fan, but I’d like to see the dogs come out with a win). The young team has a bunch of potential and if they play their cards right, they could be potential playoff contenders.

Until next time, Go Hounds!