On Saturday, August 23, 2014, the Denver Outlaws defeated the Rochester Rattlers 12-11 to win the organization its first Major League Lacrosse title after five championship game appearances in just nine seasons of existence. The winningest major league sports franchise in Pat Bowlen’s portfolio of teams, Denver is also the first professional lacrosse organization West of the Mississippi to ever win a championship.
It all started with a typical Southern storm…
A quick pre-game storm gave way to a beautiful Southern evening to set the stage for the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Championship between the Denver Outlaws and Rochester Rattlers in Atlanta, Georgia. 8,149 fans packed Fifth Third Bank Stadium on the campus of Kennesaw State University, just outside Atlanta, on Saturday night to witness this historic game.
The highly anticipated matchup opened in quick fashion as Chris Bocklet struck first for Denver just nineteen seconds into the game. Outlaws fans new and old, led by JoJo War Drummer, went wild.
That would be it for though for Denver in the opening quarter as Rochester came back firing. The Rattlers went on a 5-0 streak to start their scoring with goals coming from five different players on the team. Michael Lazore, Miles Thompson, John Ranagan, Mark Cockerton and Dave Lawson sunk them in to give Rochester the 5-1 lead to close the first.
Denver would not sit back quietly as the Outlaws came out strong with two goals to open the second quarter. Bocklet added another while Domenic Sebastiani tailed his first of the night.
Ranagan answered for the Rattlers with a shot from just inside the two-point arc that shook the net. Then, John Grant Jr. closed it out with his first of what felt like many goals to bring the Denver Outlaws within two, down 6-4, and sending his team into halftime with a vengeance.
Energy and intensity filled the stadium as the second half began. Rochester struck first with Ranagan getting another goal for a hat trick on the night, then Justin Turri followed with his first which put Rochester up 8-4. A back-and-forth game of foosball ensued as the teams exchanged fast break goals and hard hits. Eric Law and Jeremy Sieverts each scored for the Outlaws as Lawson scored his second and Jordan Wolf his first for the Rattlers. Rochester led 10-6, up four at the end of the third.
At the start of the fourth quarter, momentum shifted as Denver went on a three goal run to bring them within one. Grant completed his hat trick with back-to-back goals to bring the game within two, then he assisted Law for another to bring the Outlaws within one. Rochester opened the gap again when Lawson laid one in to pick up his hat trick for the night. Then, with the Rattlers leading 11-9, a thunderous goal ignited the stadium with just over five minutes left to play.
Jeremy Sieverts, the league leading two-point scorer, fired a long range rocket past Rochester’s John Galloway, 2014 MLL Goalie of the Year, to tie it all up at 11-11. It then became a defensive standoff as both Galloway and Denver’s stud goalie, Jesse Schwartzman, came up with remarkable saves to keep their teams in it.
The crowd was all in this final quarter as the excitement grew more and more with each passing play. With just 56 seconds to go, Drew Snider capped it off for the Outlaws as he netted his first goal of the night before giving a knee slide toward the fans on the far side of the stadium.
The following face-off led to an Outlaws possession and a game of tag to run out the clock. When the clock struck zero, a champion was crowned as the Outlaws defeated the Rattlers 12-11. The Denver Outlaws, hoisting the Steinfeld Trophy for the first time in franchise history, had finally picked the lock to score the MLL’s most sought after possession.
2014 MLL Championship Photos: Denver 12, Rochester 11
Junior wins fifth ring with the Denver Outlaws
For the second time in two years, John Grant Jr. was named the Coca-Cola MVP, putting up a three-goal night to cap off his great season and becoming the only player to ever win two Championship MVP awards.
This video helps to put his greatness into context. Grant is now 5-0 all time in MLL Championship appearances.
Want to win the Cup next year? Trade up for Junior, simple as that!
Two Teams, Two Titles
It was also a historic night for Denver’s B.J. O’Hara as he became the only head coach to win a MLL Championship with two different teams.
In 2008, O’Hara was on the opposite side of a similar matchup as he led the Rattlers to victory over the Outlaws.
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