John Zumbado, Beat Writer Atlanta Blaze
Lacrosse is Awesome
The Atlanta Blaze (1-1) won their first game of the 2018 season with a 19-12 win over the Boston Cannons (0-2) at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on Saturday, April 28, 2018, in front of an energetic hometown crowd. The win was a first for both Head Coach Liam Banks and goaltender Chris Madalon who made his first start. The Blaze hit the gas early and never let the Cannons get close in a game that saw Atlanta have two streaks of four goals. Both teams came in after losing their season openers, and Atlanta was the team able to turn things around. Final Score: Boston-12, Atlanta-19.
Boston got off to a quick start with goals from Sergio Perkovic (4G) and Kyle Denhoff (1G), after two straight faceoff wins by the Cannons’ Tommy Hughes (1A). The Blaze avoided a repeat of last week’s slow start with goals from Liam Byrnes (1G, 1A) and Matt Gibson (4G), to even up the score midway through the first period. Boston took the lead back on a goal from Ryan Walsh (1G), but Atlanta found their stride soon after. Scott Ratliff (2G, 1-2ptG) scored shorthanded and then his first two-pointer of the season to swing the momentum and then Kevin Rice (2G, 5A), who went on to earn the Coca-Cola player of the game, scored his first of the night to give Atlanta a three-goal lead. James Pannell (3G), a former Blaze player, got one back scoring with 39 seconds remaining in the first. At the end of one quarter Atlanta led Boston 6-4.
Atlanta extended their lead scoring four straight to start the second quarter. Deemer Class (3G) started the run scoring on a nifty feed from Daniel Eipp (1A). Goals from Tommy Palasek (3G) and Gibson followed before Class scored his second of the quarter to bring the score to 10-4, stunning the Cannons. The disruptive Blaze defense pressured the Cannons all night, restricting them of any consistency and seemingly robbing their chance at offensive rhythm. Following the Blaze four-goal run, the Cannons’ Sean Lawton (1G, 1-2ptG) fired a two-pointer assisted by David Emala (1G, 1A). Unfortunately, this failed to energize the Cannons. Atlanta’s Dyan Donahue (1G) scored with 2:36 remaining in the half. The final minute of the first half saw three goals scored. Perkovic scored first for Boston followed by Pannell’s second of the night. With six seconds remaining though, Gibson got one back for the Blaze. Atlanta led Boston at the half, 12-8.
Again, Atlanta started strong in the third quarter. Palasek scored two straight and Donahue made it a three-goal run with a power play goal 6:18 in. Suddenly, Atlanta had an eight-goal lead. Boston would try to claw back in, but they ended up trading goals for the remainder of the third. Perkovic scored just 40 seconds after the Donahue goal, but Gibson was able to get it back. Emala scored a goal for Boston with 4:06 remaining, but Class scored his hat trick goal under a minute later to put the Blaze ahead eight once more. At the end of three, Atlanta led Boston 17-10.
Boston tried to mount a comeback in the fourth, scoring two straight in the first five minutes. Pannell scored first followed by Perkovic’s
fourth of the night. But, the Blaze’s stingy defense led by Callum Robinson and Byrnes held them there. Rice added one more for the Blaze and Matt Mackrides (1G) brought us to our final score, tallying his goal with 3:25 remaining in the game. Final Score: Boston-12, Atlanta-19.
The Boston Cannons (0-2) host the Dallas Rattlers (2-1) on Saturday, May 5 at 6:00 PM EST.
The Atlanta Blaze (1-1) travel to play the New York Lizards (1-1) on Sunday, May 6 at 5:00 Pm EST.