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Recap: MLL Championship Weekend

Ed’s note: Our very own Jumbo Jack was on site at MLL Championship Weekend in Annapolis, MD this past Saturday and Sunday. He watched Denver vs. Long Island and Boston vs. Chesapeake from the press box on Saturday, and took in the title game on Sunday. Plus he live tweeted just about every move! Below are a few photos and recaps from Boston/Chesapeake and Long Island/Chesapeake.

Boston vs. Chesapeake

After a hot first half scoring ten goals, the Chesapeake Bayhawks needed just 3 more tallies over the last two quarters to beat the #1 seeded Boston Cannons.

The opening minutes of the first quarter saw both teams exchanging goals and feeling each other out.  The second quarter is where the Bayhawks won the game, scoring 6 goals to the Cannons’ 1.   Both teams’ first half stat sheets looked almost identical, with Chesapeake holding the edge in shots on goal 14 to 13 and Boston edging out Chesapeake in faceoffs, winning 7 of 13.  The biggest difference was that the Bayhawks capitalized on the poor defense of the Cannons and finished their room and time shots.

The second half was Mr. Hyde to the first’s Mr. Jekyll. Chesapeake scored a quick goal, which resulted in Boston pulling starting goalie Kip Turner and replacing him with Jordan Burke. Burke proved to be the defensive spark that clawed the Cannons back into the game behind the play of Kevin Buchanan, Ryan Boyle, and MLL Player of the Year Matt Poskay.  John Ortolani’s outstanding faceoff play neutralized Alex Smith for most of the second half to make it a 3 goal game with 2 minutes to go.

Notably left off of the stat sheet was former Player of the Year Paul Rabil.  Despite Boston’s best effort, Alex Smith returned to form just in time to win key faceoffs in the last 3 minutes and keep the ball out of the Chesapeake offensive end.  Brian Vetter’s goal on an open net with 1:30 left in the 4th was the final nail in the coffin on the Cannons’ season.

MLL Championship: Chesapeake over Long Island, 13-9

The Chesapeake Bayhawks used a five goal fourth quarter to overtake the Long Island Lizards 13 to 9 and win the 2010 MLL Championship.  This marked the fifth time the two teams have met for the Steinfeld Cup and the Bayhawks’ victory clinched the third championship in franchise history.

The first three quarters saw patient offensive possessions from both sides, several shot clock violations, and disciplined, hard nose defense.  The tension between the teams resulted in three unsportsmanlike penalties through the first 45 minutes, which led some of the 6,445 fans on hand to wonder how professional wrestlers got onto the field.  Both teams traded goals throughout the first 3 periods of play and neither team held a lead larger than two goals until the fourth quarter.

But the 4th was all Chesapeake and their effort was truly team oriented.  Scoring was spread amongst four players and the defense held Long Island to just one goal.  A critical part of Long Island’s one goal fourth was Chesapeake’s ride, which didn’t give up a clear without a fight.  Not to be forgotten was the solid defensive play of Joe Cinosky and company who picked off passes with one hand and didn’t give up a free goal all afternoon.  Even when man down, the Chesapeake defense stood tall, allowing Long Island to convert just 2 of 8 power play opportunities on the afternoon.

The MLL’s 10th championship game reminded fans that the league has come a long way and is relatively stable, yet still has room for fine tuning of their great product.

Meanwhile, in the parking lot…

The Buck Bomb helps you disguise your human smell while hunting; it smelled as terrible as you would think.
Mmm, Bug Light.
The “Chop Shop”, where fans got crazy haircuts or their teams’ colors dyed into their hair. Team spirit!
MLL Warrior Fanzone

Links of interest:

Bayhawks Win the 2010 MLL Championship |

VIDEO: Bayhawks MLL Champions |

For those of you who watched the Semis and Final on ESPN2, what’d you think of the coverage? The game? Would you ever make the trip to Annapolis to check MLL CW out in person?

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