Di Miller, Beat Writer Denver Outlaws
Lacrosse is Awesome
On Wednesday July 4, 2018 the Denver Outlaws (7-4) hosted the Boston Cannons (3-8) for their annual Fourth of July game. Boston led the series 12-9 over Denver prior to the game; however the Outlaws had something different in mind. They came on the field off a five-game winning streak ready to make it six and that’s what they did. This is the same type of streak Denver had when they won their second MLL Championship in 2016. That streak started with their victory over the New York Lizards on a rare Thursday game and they went undefeated for the remainder of the season and all the way through the Championship game. This could be another year like 2016 and with all the young talent on the Outlaws squad they seem to be the team to beat at this point in the season. They would dominate the Cannons and had a six-goal and eight-goal run in the contest. Final Score: Outlaws 25—Cannons 11.
Denver started out the first quick and strong. Drew Snider (2G) got it going only 55 seconds in; followed by Matt Kavanagh (4G, 3A); and Romar Dennis (2G) within the first four and a half minutes. Mark Cockerton (6G) was the hero of the night for Boston hitting net to get the Cannons on the board at 6:57. Denver was moving the ball well while keeping Boston on the ropes. Mikie Schlosser (3G) in his first full year picked up the GB and with his lightning speed headed down the field (assist Wes Berg) found a piece of twine with a bullet past the shoulder of Tyler Fiorito. Zach “Airborne” Currier (3G, 2A) would get his first of three with a nice bit of trickery and send it past Fiorito (assist Eric Law). The Cannons would break up the party with a beautiful two-point goal from Sergio Perkovic (1G, 1-2ptG) although the MLL Poinstreak shows the goal was Tim Edwards, our photo and the Boston Cannons recap shows the correct player.
Only 24 seconds later, Perkovic got the GB off the face-off, saw the opening, stepped towards the arc line on Jack Kelly’s right side, drew back and fired the shot hitting stick side low. He had so much momentum, it spun him around and knocked him off his feet (assist Max Siebald). Schlosser would close out the frame with another at 13:50 (unassisted). Score at the end of one: Denver 6—Boston 3.
The Outlaws went on another one of their scoring barrages as they have done over the past few weeks. They would score five-unanswered goals and control the ball for 11 minutes. Scoring for Denver was: Nick Tintle (assist Michael “Tree” Simon) at 2:11; Schlosser at 3:46; Snider unassisted at 6:52; Kavanagh (assist Kylor Bellistri) 8:40; and closing out the run, Chris Cloutier (6G, 3A) unassisted at 10:55. The lone goal for Boston before heading into the locker room was another by Cockerton on the power-play off a tripping call on Bellistri. Score at the end of the first half: Outlaws 11—Cannons 4.
All Boston could do is shake off the first half; try to get it together and get back in the game. Fiorito was replaced in net by Nicholas Marrocco who got a rude awakening. The Outlaws said “hello” with another run by the Outlaws on a mini-run totaling three goals—Kavanagh; Currier; and Dennis putting Denver up 14-4. The Cannons would put up a mini-run of their own with two goals from Cockerton; with James Pannell (1G) sandwiched in between. But with every goal, Denver was more pumped and their momentum was astronomical. They would go on an eight-goal run with four to end the third and carried over four to start the fourth.
Eric Law (2G, 4A) got the run started at 11:37; followed Berg on the power-play off the Cody ODonnell double penalty (illegal body check; and an unsportsmanlike) on a huge hit right before possession was called on the ensuing face-off. Tempers flared as Matt Bocklet and Zach Currier wanted a piece of ODonnell. The men in black and white settled down the field and sent ODonnell to the box for two non-releasable one-minute penalties. Law and Kavanagh would close out the third frame for Denver. Score at the end of three: Denver 18—Cannons 7.
Boston was at the end of their rope. A change in net didn’t help; Trevor Baptiste was overwhelmed at the face-off “X” winning only 11 of 38; and the Cannons big guns were silenced. Cloutier had a stellar last 15 minutes scoring five goals; former Cannon Kylor Bellistri would get his only goal of the game at 2:01; and Currier would hit net unassisted at 12:44. Boston popped off a couple from Cockerton with two; Edwards with his second; and Challen Rodgers scoring the final goal (unassisted) for the Cannons at 11:55. Of the 11 goals in the final 15, six were unassisted and one a power-play goal. Final Score: Outlaws 25—Cannons 11.
Since June 1, the Outlaws have outscored their opponents 101-58. They haven’t been in single digit scoring since their loss to Florida on May 6; they lead the league in goals for 188; ground balls 419; shots 530; shooting percentage .355%; shots on goal 335; face-offs 215-375; and face-off percentage .573%. If this isn’t the makings of another championship team and season then I don’t know what is.
If Denver can keep up this pace, they are on track to be the team to beat in 2018. They’ve got the talent in their rookies; the veterans have been key in teaching the rookies how to play “championship” ball; and they fit together like peanut butter and jelly.
The Outlaws are off until July 22 when they host the now first place Dallas Rattlers (8-2). Boston will be back in action on Thursday July 19 when they head to New York to play the Lizards (5-5). The Cannons are sitting in eighth place just a half game ahead of the Ohio Machine who have imploded this season after winning their first MLL Championship in 2017. This year has been one of many ups and downs; a new franchise in Dallas; former champions shaking their heads in frustration; and for the rest, a time to prepare for the 2018 MLL Championship game at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, home of the USL’s Charleston Battery where they will host the 18th Championship Game on Saturday, August 18.
There will be a 12 day break from July 7 to July 19 while the lacrosse community will head to Netayna Israel for the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships. We will be there covering the games so stay tuned for our posts.
Di Miller, Beat Writer Denver Outlaws
Lacrosse is Awesome