Di Miller, Correspondent Denver Outlaws
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: John Zumbado
On Saturday June 8, 2019, the Denver Outlaws (2-1) headed back down to Atlanta to face the Blaze (1-1) on after a rainy afternoon in what turned out to be a back and forth high scoring contest where the 1,607 Blaze fans would see a combined total of 34 goals between the two teams. If you wanted a non-stop scoring barrage, this was the game to watch. This was also a game filled with first career goals; records broken; highlight reels goals; and other fun goals to watch. Final Score: Outlaws 18—Blaze 16.
The Blaze would start off the scoring only 34 seconds in and would put two on the board in the first three and half minutes. The first from Shayne Jackson (5g, 2a) as he cut in front of the cage, and scooped one in from the doorstep; and the second off the assist from Randy Staats (2g, 2a) with the behind-the-back pass to Jackson burying it far side as they would go up 2-0. Denver would get one back from veteran John Grant Jr., (1g, 2a) with an unbelievable goal as he would take a quick look over his right shoulder, set his feet and flipped it over his left shoulder at 9:25. With that goal, Grant Jr. surpassed the all-time goals scored and because the “All Time Points Leader” with 363 goals. Atlanta would get that one right back on the odd-man rush off Jackson with the hat-trick on transition with the tic-tac-toe pass by Tommy Palasek who found Jackson and on the quick stick finish put them back up by two 3-1. But just like that, the Outlaws did a great job pushing the ball out of the defensive end to get a goal right back in transition off Outlaws midfielder Zach Currier (3g, 1a) with the hotshot laser over the shoulder of Christopher Madalon less than 20 seconds later. Denver would go on man-up and Mike Schlosser (2g, 1a) would score off a great executed high overhand shot to tie it up 3-3. With less than six minutes remaining in the first, the Blaze would put up two more. The first from Palasek who would come from behind the cage near side pipe and with an overhand shot over the head would get one past Outlaws net-minder Dillon Ward who was a bit out of place and away from the pipe; and the second from Joseph Reid (2g) with a hard charge to the middle of the cage, dodging from up top and bad defense by Denver, he’d score right on the door step. Outlaws Head Coach Tony Seaman would throw the challenge flag thinking that Reid had stepped in the crease. After review, it was clear he tip-toed the crease. GOAL STANDS. With the reset on the shot clock and nine seconds left, Outlaws Brendan Kavanagh sent the quick pass to rookie Brandon Jones (1g) who was standing just outside the two point line, straight up the middle, and with his long-pole Jones sent the two point laser straight up the pipe scoring to tie the game at five apiece at the end of one.
Denver would open up the second with Brendan Kavanagh (1g, 3a) burying it off the dish from Grant Jr. giving Denver their first lead in the contest 6-5. Another rookie would get in the game as Sean Eccles (1g) would get his first career MLL goal as he would find the net just inside the two point line putting the Outlaws up 7-5. Atlanta would go on their first man up opportunity and Staats would score from the lower 90 of the cage on the far side feed from the “X” on the man-up cutting the lead to one; and on the next one Staats would get the assist with a one-handed flip to Jackson who would tie it up with an around the world shot five-hole on Ward 7-7. Atlanta would continue this five-goal run with another, this time Palasek saw Bryan Cole (2g) cutting and with catch and shoot, threw it to Cole and he shot left as he was running right to go ahead 8-7. Atlanta was back to using good ball movement and it showed. Again, Palasek would connect for another assist, this time with Jackson who used great dodging and stick protection for the quick stick goal and a two point lead. The final goal of the run would come off the ensuing face-off. Alex Woodall would win at “X” against Max Adler, flip the head on his stick and breakaway towards the Outlaws net all alone and fire one past Ward who couldn’t stop the speeding midfielder who sent the ball through the wickets with a bounce shot giving him his first career MLL goal putting the Blaze up 10-8. With 42 seconds left in the first half, Grant Jr., with his off-hand make a nice one handed pass to Christopher Aslanian (2g, 1a) who was standing in front of the cage to get them back to within one. An odd penalty occurred right before the end of the half. Bryan Cole made contact with Dillon Ward in the Outlaws cage sending Ward to the ground, but Ward was hit with the 30 second penalty which was served by the Outlaws in-home player. Denver ran out the penalty before the end of the quarter. Score at the end of two: Blaze 10—Outlaws 8.
Denver would start off the third on a non-releasable power play with another two-point goal but yet another rookie. This time, long-pole Sean Lawton (1g) would strike straight up the pipe on the man-up to tie the game less than one minute in. With the Outlaws still on the man-up, Schlosser would score with another high hard far out shot giving them the lead 11-10 at 13:30. But just as quickly as Denver would take the lead, the defense would miss their slide, Christian Mazzone would split the defense, dodge up top and shoot high over the left should of Ward to tie it up 11-11. The next goal for Denver was an exciting goal, it including a defenseman to defenseman, long-pole to long-pole involving Lawton with the assist to Kyle Pless (1g) giving the Outlaws the lead once more 12-11. TJ Comizio would get his first career MLL goal finding his way to the middle of the field and falling down while diving in front of the crease tying the game yet again; with Staats scoring the go ahead goal for the Blaze 13-12. Denver would go on their own three goal run started off with a feed from Schlosser to Aslanian who was sitting alone along the crease leaving the back side of the goal wide open;
Currier would go airborne running up from behind the cage and popped it in from behind the cage on the left side of Madalon; and Kyle Killen (3g) would get his first on the night with a run and gun side arm heat from the far side with 2:39 left putting the Outlaws up 15-13. At this point in the game, all of Denver’s goals have been on man-up or on transition and they need to find a way to score on offense. The Blaze would put one more on the board off Cole who so far this season has been perfect scoring three goals on three shots. Score at the end of three: Outlaws 15—Blaze 14.
After having scored a total of 29 goals between the two teams in the first three frames, they would combine for a total of five in the final 15 with the Blaze opening it up at the 10:46 mark. Reid would get his fourth on the night as her pushed his way through the defenders to keep his balance finding a way to score tying the game at 15 apiece. Kavanagh and Killen would use the two man game with a nice catch and finish with the feed from Kavanagh to Killen for the behind-the-back goal at 9:48 giving Denver the lead. Almost four minutes would tick off before another goal would go on the board ad it would be Palasek for Atlanta after a scrum from behind the cage, he’d find the hole and catch the feed low and with the quick stick shot tie the game again 16-16. But Denver would fire back with the excellent footwork by Currier and his spin move he’d score the go ahead goal at 1:42. There was still time on the clock and the Outlaws had possession of the ball. Bringing the ball back into play, Madalon came out of the cage in an attempt to intercept the pass, Killen was on the doorstep and scored on the open cage with 36 seconds left putting Denver up by two 18-16. There was still time for Atlanta to score the two-point goal if they could win the ensuing face-off. Unfortunately for the Blaze, Adler would come away with the flip and Denver would control the ball for the remaining 30 seconds dashing all hopes of an Atlanta come back. Final score: Denver 18—Atlanta 16.
Atlanta Blaze—SOG 29; Shots Total 41; GB 38; FO 19-36; Turnovers 13; PP 1-3; Time of Possession 25:52
Denver Outlaws—SOG 26; Shots Total 44; GB 43: FO 17-36; Turnovers 17; PP 4-5; Time of Possession 31:29
Atlanta (1-1) will have a bye-week and will return to play on Friday, June 21 to host the Dallas Rattlers (0-2) at home in Atlanta game time 8:00 p.m. EST and the game will be televised on watchstadium.com.
Denver (2-1) will have two weeks off and returns to play in their home-opener at Sports Authority Field in Denver, CO against the Dallas Rattlers (0-2) on Thursday June 27, game time 9:00 p.m. EST.
Di Miller, Correspondent Denver Outlaws
Lacrosse is Awesome©