Di Miller, Correspondent Denver Outlaws
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: Di Miller
On Saturday August 24, the Denver Outlaws (7-5) hosted the New York Lizards (3-10) in front of 3,034 fans. Both teams were on four game losing streaks and one had to give. If the Lizards lost this contest they would be knocked out of any hopes for a playoff spot. The win put Denver back into second place in the league. The fans had to wait close to 10 minutes as they wondered if this contest would be much like the last two where they saw their team start off in a deficit that they would be unable to overcome. But two back-t0-back two-point goals, the first by rookie Andrew Newbold his second of the year; and the other by Zach Currier, his first career two-point goal to tie the game at six apiece gave the Outlaws the spark they needed to take them to victory. In the first quarter, John Grant Jr., would score his 572nd career regular-season point, passing Paul Rabil (571) for the top mark in the league record books. The contest was back and forth throughout, but in the end Denver would be the successor. Final Score: Outlaws 16—Lizards 13.
The Outlaws would be the first to score by none other than John Grant, Jr. (2g, 5a) early on. But the Lizards would fire back with six unanswered goals over the next eight minutes with Dylan Molloy (4g, 2a) notching a hat-trick; Brendan Kearns (4g); Kevin Crowley (1g, 2a); and Rob Pannell (1g, 1a) all notching goals. The Outlaws were stunned and scratching their heads wondering what to do when Andrew Newbold scooped the ground ball and headed up field at the 3:07 mark planted outside the two-point arc line and launched a laser past a stunned Lizard defense blowing it by Austin Kaut cutting the lead 3-6. Max Adler would win the ensuing face-off for Denver and rookie Chris Aslanian (3g, 2a) who has been on fire all season launched one past Kaut with 2:20 remaining firing up the offense even more. Again Adler would win the face-off, and Outlaws midfielder Zach Currier (1g, 1-2ptG) would scoop the ground ball and fire outside the two-point arc for his first career two-point goal tying the game at six apiece with 1:48 left. But just as quickly as the sidelines roared, Greg Puskuldjian (1g) would take the face-off win down the field and blow it past a stunned Dillon Ward only six seconds letter for the go ahead goal 7-6. Adrenaline was high on both sides with the clock winding down; rookie Ryan Lee (3g, 3a) would tie the game once more with 1:08 remaining on the ticker. New York lead in shots on goal by a slight margin of 10-8; ground balls were equal at 10 apiece; New York lead in turnovers 5-4 and face-offs 8-5. Score at the end of the first quarter: Outlaws 7—New York 7.
Denver would control the second quarter this time outscoring New York 4-1 and it would take over six minutes for the action to begin as the net-minders would fight off the shots from both sides. The Outlaws would be first to score with another from Aslanian at the 9:24 mark; rookie Zach Runberg (1g) would get on the board at 6:53; and Grant Jr. would get his second on the night only 50 seconds later after having assisted the first two in the frame. Three minutes would tick off the timer before we’d see more scoring action and it would be another over the shoulder shot from Aslanian as he would set up from behind the cage come around and score unassisted giving the Outlaws a four goal lead 11-7 at the 3:48 mark. The lone Lizards goal before the half would come from Kearns with the assist to Pannell at 2:26 to close the gap to three. Denver took the lead in all categories with shots on goal 6-3; ground balls 16-7; face-offs 6-0; and turn overs 7-5. Score at the end of the first half: Outlaws 11—Lizards 8.
The tables would turn in the third with the Lizards outscoring the Outlaws 4-3 even tying the game with 2:04 remaining in the frame. Outlaws midfielder Mikie Schlosser (2g) who had just returned from injured reserve started off the frame at the 13:12 mark with a beauty of a goal, but that would be it for Denver until late in the quarter. New York would go on a four-goal run to tie it up at 12 apiece. Kearns would notch his hat-trick at 9:18; Sean O’Brien (1g) would be next; Molloy and Kearns would each notch their fourth on the night and we’d see 12’s go on the board. With 51 seconds left Currier would break the tie with an unassisted goal; and Lee would add another with 28 left on the ticker and another assist going to Grant Jr. Denver still had a slight margin on shots on goal 9-8; a decisive lead in ground balls 14-9; Adler was still dominating at the face-off dot 6-2; and Denver lead in turnovers once more 5-3. Score at the end of three: Denver 14—New York 12.
The fourth quarter and only fifteen minutes left for New York if they had any hopes to stay alive in the playoff race. This was a quarter of all defense and very little offense as the fans would see only three goals go on the board. New York would finally put their lone point on the board at the 10:24 mark with Ryan Walsh (1g) and Nick Spillane teaming up to close the gap to one 14-13. With less than five minutes it was still within reach and a two-point goal would put them ahead. Schlosser scored unassisted with his second and final goal for Denver with 9:36 remaining putting the Outlaws back up by two. Seven minutes would go by and both net minders would make several key saves. With a little over two minutes remaining, Lee and Aslanian would team up and increase the gap once more putting Denver up by three with 2:16 remaining. The Lizards attempted several shots on goal, but the Outlaws were able to control the ball with 1:01 remaining and as time ticked down and the shot clock ran out, so did the playoff hopes for New York. Final Score: Outlaws 16—Lizards 13.
TEAM STATS SUMMARY
Lizards—SOG 26; STOT 38; GB 31; FO 11-31; TO 15; PP 0-3; TOP 25:32
Outlaws—SOG 28; STOT 48; GB 50; FO 20-31; TO 21; PP 3-3; TOP 32:02
NET MINDER STATS
Lizards Austin Kaut—SOG 28; Saves 14; GA 16; Sv% .571
Outlaws Dillon Ward—SOG 26; Saves 13; GA 13; Sv% .500
In this game we saw John Grant Jr., break the Major League Lacrosse’s career regular-season scoring record when he scored his 572nd career regular-season point early in the first quarter, passing Paul Rabil (571) for the top mark in the league record books; he tallied a season-high seven points on the night; and Zach Currier scored his first career two-point goal.
The Denver Outlaws (7-5) host the Boston Cannons (7-5) on Saturday August 31, at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium, game time 5:00 p.m. EST and you can catch the action on www.majorleaguelacrosse.com This game will determine who will sit in second place in the league as they sit at 1-1 in head to head competition, and the Cannons holding the cards in score differential by two.
The New York Lizards (3-10) will head to Dallas to face the Rattlers (5-7) on Saturday August 31, game time 8:00 p.m. EST and you can catch this game on www.laxsportsnetwork.com The Rattlers still have a chance at a playoff spot and the Lizards are looking to be the spoilsports.
Di Miller, Correspondent Denver Outlaws
Lacrosse is Awesome©