MLL Notebook: Bayhawks Show Depth, Clinch Top Seed Without Thompson


Midfielder Matt Abbott scored two goals in Chesapeake's 13-11 win over Denver in the teams' regular season finale Friday.

Without top scorer and MVP frontrunner Lyle Thompson, who is competing for the Iroquois Nationals in the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship, the Chesapeake Bayhawks mined their roster depth to defeat the Denver Outlaws 13-11 on Friday and clinch the top seed in the upcoming Major League Lacrosse playoffs.

The Bayhawks were the only playoff team to come away with a win in the final weekend of the regular season. With seeding and momentum at stake, Denver, Boston and Atlanta fell in their finales.

As a result, Chesapeake (10-6) will play Atlanta (9-7) in the first MLL semifinal Friday, Oct. 4, at the University of Denver’s Peter Barton Stadium (7 p.m. ET), followed by Denver (9-7) and Boston (9-7) in the second semifinal (10 p.m. ET). Both games will be televised nationally on ESPN News.

The winners will advance to the MLL championship game Sunday, Oct. 6, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.

“It’s a 20-week season, and we’re 10-6,” Chesapeake coach Dave Cottle said in a press release on the team’s website. “No matter what, we at least share the regular season championship, and we haven’t done that in a while.”

The Bayhawks outscored the Outlaws 4-1 in the third quarter to help put the game just out of reach for Denver. Each goal came from a different player, showcasing the depth the team has.

In total, seven different players scored at least one goal for Chesapeake, and 10 players earned at least one point.

“To finish off strong at home in front of our best crowd all season was a lot of fun,” Bayhawks defenseman Jesse Bernhardt said. “It’s been a long season, and it feels good to be going into the playoffs on an upswing.”

Chesapeake is 2-1 against the Blaze this season, winning each of the final two games of the series by a score of 16-13.

Dallas, New York Finish on High Note

On Saturday, the final day of the regular season, Dallas edged Boston 16-15 and New York topped Atlanta 21-15.

The Cannons had an early deficit against the Rattlers, but tied the game at 9 in the second quarter. The teams exchanged goals throughout the remainder of the game, with six ties and seven lead changes.

Cal Dearth tied the game with 1:58 remaining in the game, but Dallas’ Jack Curran scored his second goal of the game with 13 seconds remaining to give Dallas its seventh win it is past nine games.

“Our guys battled for the entire game. They competed really well,” Cannons coach Sean Quirk said in a press release on the team’s website. “I thought offensively, after the first quarter, we started to stick some really good shots. Defensively, overall, we played a good game. Tate Boyce in goal for his first start played excellent. He really stayed composed in there and did a good job.”

New York and Atlanta seemed equally close, as the Blaze were never able to open up a lead larger than two goals throughout the first half. Despite allowing the Lizards to hang around, the Blaze went into halftime up by one and then scored the first two goals of the second half for a three-goal lead, its largest of the night.

The Lizards stormed back, however, scoring six consecutive goals to take a 15-12 lead, one they would never concede.

“We were all playing for each other,” Lizards faceoff specialist Greg Puskuldjian said. “We had nothing to lose. We wanted to come off the end of the season with a good win.”

Historic Goal

In 2018, the Denver Outlaws started Kaisuke Iwamoto, who had made the team the previous year in an open tryout. He was the first player from Japan to play in an MLL game.

Another Japanese player made history with the Outlaws this weekend.

In the first quarter, Kohta Kurashima, who also made the team after an open tryout this year, scored to give Denver a 2-1 lead. He became the first Japanese player to ever score a goal in an MLL game.

“Kohta moved to Denver and worked incredibly hard this summer,” Outlaws assistant coach Matt Bocklet tweeted. “Could not be more proud and happy for him!”


Chesapeake added rookie Michael Panepinto to the practice squad on Sept. 6. He made his debut against the Outlaws and scored the team’s first goal of the game. … Colin Heacock led the way for the Bayhawks with four goals and one assist. … Matt Abbott was the only other Bayhawks with multiple goals, scoring two. … Earning another start between the pipes, Brian Phipps made 13 saves while allowing the Outlaws to score only nine goals (two of which were 2-pointers).

Zachary Melillo took faceoffs for the Denver Outlaws and had a productive night, winning 16 of 25. … Kyle Marr and Andrew Newbold led the way for the Outlaws with five points and four points, respectively. Each player helped Denver mount a comeback in the fourth quarter as they each scored a late 2-point goal.

Continuing to make a case for himself as the league’s MVP, Dallas rookie goalie Sean Sconone made 24 saves in the victory over Boston. … Six different Rattlers players had multi-point games. Jack Curran (two goals, two assists) and Ryan McNamara (three goals, one assist) led the Dallas offense with four points apiece. … Veteran Donny Moss had a strong all-around game for Dallas, scoring one goal, assisting another, picking up four ground balls and causing two turnovers. … Rattlers leading scorer Bryce Wasserman scored three goals.

In his first MLL start, Cannons goalie Tate Boyce made 17 saves. … Mark Cockerton led the Cannons with six points on four goals and two assists. … Faceoff specialist Kevin Reisman picked up 17 ground balls. … Cal Dearth (one goal, two assists), Kyle Denhoff (one 2-point goal, one assist) and Zed Williams (three goals) each had three points for Boston.

Lizards faceoff specialist Greg Puskuldjian went 21-for-28 and picked up eight ground balls. Mark Andrejack won five of nine faceoffs, picked up two ground balls and added an assist. … Dylan Molloy scored four goals and added an assist. … Justin Reh led New York with four assists. … Nick Aponte (two goals, one assist), Kevin Crowley (two goals, one assist) and Brendan Kearns (three goals) each had three points for the Lizards.

Playing in his hometown against his former team, Tommy Palasek finished with an impressive five goals and three assists for a total of eight points. He finished the season second on the team in points (55) and assists (32). … Rookie Christian Mazzone scored six goals.

Player of the Week
Rob Pannell, A, New York

The 2018 MLL MVP wasn’t going to be leading his team into the playoffs in 2019, but he made sure to end the season on a high note. In Saturday’s season finale victory over the playoff-bound Atlanta Blaze, Pannell scored five goals and added four assists. Three of Pannell’s goals and three of his assists came in the second half, a key to New York’s victory.

“Rob had his best game,” Lizards coach BJ O’Hara said. “We feed off of him. He’s had a good year, but he had a great game tonight.”

Play of the Week
Austin Kaut, G, New York

It’s not every day a goalie scores, let alone scores on a full-field heave. Kaut’s goal tied the game at 6 at the end of the first quarter, keeping New York in the game.

“It was a little bit of luck,” Kaut said. “I saw there was a little bit of time left. With the new rule, if it leaves your stick before the clocks out, it’s good if it goes. I just tried to chuck it down there and hope it went, and it happened to go.”

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