Di Miller, Correspondent Denver Outlaws
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Photos Courtesy of Pretty Instant
It was the final game of Opening Weekend for the 2020 MLL Season and the Denver Outlaws (2-0) would face the Philadelphia Barrage (0-2), the second to face the new squad. It was a well fought battle, but the powerful Outlaws would once again out duel their opponent in the second half and come away with another decisive victory. Final Score: Outlaws 15—Barrage 10.
The Barrage got on the board first with a goal from veteran Tommy Palasek (2g, 1a) 1:13 in the frame off the crossfield pass from Mark Matthews and he’d fire it top shelf to get them on the board 1-0. But Outlaws face-off specialist Max Adler (1g) would take the ensuing face-off, draw it back, scoop and sprint to the cage firing it past Chris Madalon only six seconds later to tie it up. They’d quickly put two more up from rookie Daniel Bucaro (3g, 1a) at 13:08 and 11:03. The first top shelf outside; and the second a shovel shot after a couple of nifty spin dodge and fakes. The rookie isn’t looking much like a rookie right now and he’d put Denver up 3-1. But Philadelphia would quickly fight back going on a three-goal run with goals from Chad Tolliver (1g) at 10:41; Tim Barber with the side-winder off the feed from Colin Minicus for the equalizer at 8:29; and Brendan Sunday (2g) with the go ahead goal 4-3 when the Barrage put together some good ball movement allowing him to get the pass, turn and fire one into the net at 6:33. Denver would halt the run 90 seconds later with an overhand dunk from Chris Aslanian (2g, 1a) at 4:03 to tie it up at fours; and Bucaro would break-away from behind the net, make the turn and fire a shovel shot for the go ahead goal with 42 seconds in the frame. Denver would lead in SOG 7-5; GB 12-9; face-offs 6-10; and TO 5-2. Philadelphia would lead in saves 2-1. Score at the end of one: Outlaws 5—Barrage 4.
The net-minders settled in and although there was a combined 14 shots on goal, we’d only see 5 goals in the frame. The Barrage would be the first to score once again with another from Palasek. He was able to hang up his defender, turned the corner, jumped and finished with the slam dunk at 2:28 for the equalizer 5-5. But Denver would hit back twice. Ryan Lee (3g, 1a) would get the high feed from Bucaro and while he was falling down found a way to shoot it far pipe at 10:23 for the go ahead goal. After five minutes ticked off the timer, James Burr (2g) got a beautiful feed from Lee and with the righty rip hit far side at 5:16 making it 7-5 Outlaws. The Barrage would get an easy freebie goal when Shayne Jackson (3g) was in the right place at the right time and was the benefactor of the rebound off the Christian Knight save. He’s seized the opportunity and slam dunked the open net putting them back to within one 7-6. With 1:02 remaining, Pat Aslanian was heading down the field, the point man slipped giving him the open door and he took the shot and let it rip for his first career MLL goal. Denver would still hold the lead in SOG 8-6; in face-offs 4-6 and TO 6-5. But Philadelphia had taken the lead in GB 16-11; and still held the lead in saves 5-4. Score the end of two: Outlaws 8—Barrage 6.
The Outlaws would make a change in net to start the third and Nick Washuta would head to the cage. Once again, the Barrage would open up the scoring, this time Jackson started it off 57 seconds in. Philadelphia had great ball movement with the tic-tac-toe play and Jackson found an opening on the door step firing into the back of the cage. But the narrow one-goal gap was short-lived as the Outlaws would go on a five-goal run. John Grant, Jr. started it off with a nice feed from behind the cage to Burr who fired it in stride at 4:25; Brian Kormondy (1g, 1a) on the run fired it top corner left handed down the alley at 5:31; Jack Jasinski (1g) on the man up got another beautiful feed from JGJ from behind the net 30 seconds later putting them up 11-7. The run continued with another from Lee with the quick catch and release which would give Denver their largest lead of the day 12-7 with 7:24 left in the frame. The final goal of the run started with Kyle Pless causing the turn over, feeding it to Pat Aslanian, who passed to Brian Begley (1g) and he’d use the quick stick release with 6:39 remaining. Philadelphia would halt the five-goal run with 4:13 remaining and Jackson the benefactor. Another transition goal, with a left-handed shot, he’d turn and rip it low to high 13-8 in favor of Denver. The final goal in the frame came with 9.7 seconds left on the man-up. Chris Aslanian fired a bullseye lower corner on the overhand low release. Denver face-off specialists Max Adler would leave the game early in the third with cramps and would not return to the game. Denver would lead in SOG 11-4 and GB 10-8. Philadelphia would lead in saves 5-2 and face-offs 6-9; TO were tied at 5 apiece. Score at the end of three: Outlaws 14—Barrage 8.
After three high scoring frames, the fourth had slowed to a snail’s pace as the heat and exhaustion were taking its toll. The Outlaws no doubt wanted to save their energy for game three and the Barrage had lost their steam after the five goal run. Denver would notch one final goal but it took 6:01 before Lee got on the board. Pless in transition would pick off the ball and feed it to Lee for the perfect shot putting the Outlaws up 15-8. There would be no scoring for a full eight minutes and Philadelphia would score the final two in the last 41 seconds. The first from Barber with the pump and go with 41.1 seconds left; and the final from Sunday only five seconds later with 36 seconds left on the clock. Final Score: Outlaws 15—Barrage 10.
Denver: SOG 27; GB 38; Saves 9; Face-offs 14-29; TO 21
Philadelphia: SOG 19; GB 40; Saves 12; Face-offs 15-20; TO 18
Denver—Christian Knight: 5 SOG; 6 GA; Save% .455
Denver—Nick Washuta: 5 SOG; 4 GA; Save% .500
Philadelphia—Chris Madalon: 12 SOG; 15 GA; Save% .444
The teams seemed to be evenly matched in the beginning, but the Outlaws clearly took over in the offensive category and dominated in the second quarter. They have depth on offense with Ryan Lee; Daniel Bucaro; and Chris Aslanian. Mikie Schlosser hasn’t even had a chance to get on the board so watch out when they are firing on all cylinders.
The Barrage need to get the ball to their top scorers: Tommy Palasek; Shayne Jackson; and Brendan Sunday. Chris Madalon is strong in net with his big frame; and Alex Woodall is as good as it gets at the face-off dot. If they can put all the pieces together, they will take that fourth spot in the playoffs.
The Denver Outlaws (2-0) have Monday off and will face the New York Lizards (0-2) on Tuesday July 21, game time 7:00 p.m. EST. The game can be seen on ESPN+. See the Lizards come out with a new game plan, but they will need to be spot on if they want to beat the in synch Outlaws.
The Philadelphia Barrage (0-2) will face the Connecticut Hammerheads on Monday July 20, game time 4:00 p.m. EST. The game will be televised on ESPN+. Connecticut has had a day to rest and regroup which should give them the advantage. If they have come up with a game plan, they should be on track to give the Barrage a great game.
Di Miller, Correspondent Denver Outlaws
Lacrosse is Awesome©