Chromeback Complete: Messenger Delivers Winner at Homewood Field


Mike Messenger scored two goals Saturday night, including the overtime winner against the Cannons.

BALTIMORE — Don’t call it a comeback. A Chromeback is more appropriate.

And Mike Messenger was the one to deliver the final tally.

As JT Giles-Harris and Lyle Thompson traded body blows in overtime Saturday night, Messenger came over to double the Cannons LC attacker. As they pushed him out past the two-point arc, Messenger popped the ball loose and picked up the ball off the Homewood Field turf.

Messenger cleared the ball and dumped it off to Dylan Molloy, whose sidearm rip from the wing skipped to the right of Cannons goalie Nick Marrocco. What happened next transpired so quickly that even the ESPN cameraperson was a little behind.

Brendan Nichtern picked up the ball off the restart and immediately found Messenger, who caught it at the crease with no one nearby. Falling, Messenger skipped in the game-winning goal — the punctuation mark on a wild six-goal run that sent the Chrome home with an 12-11 win in front of a sellout crowd.

Messenger, acquired from the player pool before the start of the summer, dived across the front of the crease with 6:24 left in the first quarter, scoring the first goal of a 6-0 run that turned an 11-6 deficit into a gritty comeback win.

“He made two incredible plays offensively,” Chrome head coach Tim Soudan said. “The game winner and that diving goal were awesome. I just turned and saw him flying through the air.”

The bulk of the Chrome (4-0) comeback came in the final two minutes, just as Connor Farrell began to assert himself at the faceoff dot. Justin Anderson converted a righthanded runner to cut the deficit to 11-8 with 1:55 left, then Ryan Terefenko capitalized on a turnover by clearing the ball and finding Nichtern to make it 11-9.

Anderson connected with Molloy out of a Chrome timeout to make it 11-10 with 53.8 to go, and then Terefenko wowed the Charm City contingent with the equalizer.

In transition, Terefenko cocked back as if to fire from beyond the two-point arc. He then tucked his stick, evading an oncoming Matt Rahill. The rest of the defense collapsed to him in the middle, but not nearly in time. Terefenko leapt off his left foot and tied the score at 11 with an overhand laser.

The Chrome’s victory overshadowed significant strides made on offense by the Cannons (1-3). Lyle Thompson (two goals, three assists) and Asher Nolting (four goals, two assists) were a formidable one-two punch, especially with Nolting back playing the X-attack role he mastered in his five seasons at High Point.

“I was happy with the way we were playing offense,” Thompson said. “They went on a run at the end of the game. Naturally, the team that’s ahead gets a little bit too comfortable with the lead.”

Bubba Fairman, another Cannons rookie, delivered what appeared to be a finishing blow with 7:52 remaining. A long ricochet off the pipe sent the ball soaring toward the center of the field, and Fairman came streaking through the middle and caught it in stride. It was a one-man transition opportunity, as Fairman scored and celebrated his first PLL goal, a score that put the Cannons ahead 11-6.

The Chrome hadn’t sparkled with the same polish they had in the season’s first three games. Fairman’s goal could have iced it. It didn’t.

“We’ve just got to learn how to finish a game,” Nolting said.

Perhaps inspired by a rousing — an expletive-laden — halftime speech from Jesse Bernhardt, the Chrome reversed course. Farrell (16-for-25, 12 ground balls) spearheaded the effort from the middle out.

“I don’t really feel much pressure because that’s my job,” Farrell said. “My job is to get the offense the ball.”

Nine players scored from the Chrome offense, led by Nichtern (one goal, four assists). Messenger, Anderson and Jordan MacIntosh each scored twice. Six goals came from the Chrome rope unit.

“I blacked out when I was celebrating,” Farrell said. “I got so excited. I love winning. I hate losing more than I love winning.”


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