Outlaws Take Down Defending Champs Archers in Spectacular OT Fashion 6/7/24

Photo Courtesy of PLL

Di Miller, Denver Outlaws Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©

Photo Courtesy of:  Premiere Lacrosse League

The Denver Outlaws (1-1) got their chance to go up against the 2023 defending PLL Champs the Utah Archers (1-1) on Friday June 7, 2024.  Much like last week, the Archers would break out with an early lead, but would fall flat in the end.  Denver’s 10 goal run in the fourth capped an exciting send off into OT where the Outlaws would control the ball, the Archers would get hit with a “too many men” penalty giving Denver the opportunity they needed and Brennan O’Neill (7G 1 2pt, 1A), the Overall No. 1 Draft pick would get the feed and sting the top corner for the GWG 4:31 into OT.  Final Score OT:  Outlaws 18—Archers 17.

Denver would win the opening draw but gave up possession quickly and the Archers would strike.  With just two seconds on the shot clock, Grant Ament (2g, 1a) spun around, rolled back and fired it top shelf 1:56 in and Utah was up 1-0.  Just moments later, Tre Leclaire (4g, 1a) got a great feed, stepped down and fired a laser into the back of the net at the 2:27 mark and it was 2-0.  It took only 20 seconds before the Outlaws would finally get on the board.  Josh Zawada had a nice feed to Jack Myers (3g, 1a), he found the open space, got his defender snoozing and bounced it in 2-1 Archers. The Archers would erase that point and go on a five-goal run to end the first.  Connor Fields (4g, 1a) turned the corner, got his left hand free, and went five-hole 4:40 into the first 3-1.  About four minutes ticked off the timer before Fields would find the back of the net again.  He swept the field, turned and fired top corner with 3:19 left in the first and it was 4-1.  As the quarter was winding down, Piper Bond (1g) decided to get in on the action with his first career PLL goal.  With a beautiful cut and finish, he buried it outside pipe with 1:23 on the ticker 5-1 Archers.  Leclaire would close out the frame with back-to-back tallies.  The first with 48.5 seconds on the clock.  He pushed off his defender, used them as a screen and found a sliver of an opening between Owen McElroy (15 saves) and the pipe.  It took only eight seconds for Leclaire to strike again.  On the give and go with Ryan Aughavin, Leclaire fired an overhand shot to cap the frame with a hat-trick.  Score at the end of one:  Archers 7—Outlaws 1.

The second told a different story as the Outlaws would shut out the Archers.  The first goal came off a man up opportunity.  The Archers were called for a slash 43 seconds in and Denver stopped their run.  Graham Bundy got a good look, fed to Josh Zawada (2g, 3a), he fired and found the back of the net with just seconds remaining on the shot clock and it was 7-2.  They’d get their next 4:08 in when Brennan O’Neill (7g 1 2pt, 1A) went down the side and rung the post 7-3 and they weren’t done yet.  Zawada drew the slide which left Sam Handley (1g) wide open, and he fired it far side 5:12 in and the lead had been cut to 7-4.  The final tally in the first half came from an “X” attack.  Jack Myers (3g, 1a) dodged his defender and fired a question mark shot that bounced five-hole with 5:19 on the clock and the lead was now two 7-5.  For the remainder of the frame, neither team could find the back of the net.  Score at the end of two:  Archers 7—Outlaws 5.

The Archers would turn the tables in the third outscoring the Outlaws 7-2 and some were thinking it was a runaway for Utah.  Thirty five seconds in, Mac O’Keefe (3g, 1 2ptG) took an extra step, back peddled and put it near pipe 8-5.  This was the first goal that Utah had scored in almost 13 minutes.  O’Keefe would strike again 50 seconds later when he swept around the top and let it loose 9-5 Archers.  The next goal was a thing of beauty.  Brett Dobson (13 saves) fired an outlet pass down the field, it bounced right in front of Connor Fields (4g, 1a), he knabbed it off the hop and fired a low to high shot burying it top shelf 2:27 in and they had doubled up on Denver 10-5.  The Outlaws would strike 15 seconds later when Zawada turned the corner, fired on cage and it went over the left shoulder of Dobson 10-6.  But it was short-lived when Fields sent a BTB pass to O’Keefe and as he was falling down, he found a way to put it through the five-hole giving him his hat-trick on the night 11-6 Archers.  Exactly two minutes later, O’Keefe would get his final of the night, a two-point tally in transition with a low to high shot top shelf and they were up 13-6 their biggest lead on the night.  The teams would run the field for the next three and change before Denver found the net again.  Dalton Young (1g) would tally one more for the Outlaws before the end of the frame.  O’Neill used a sweeping dodge to allow Young to sneak in behind his defender, and with the quick catch and release he fired it up top with 1:32 on the clock to make it 13-7.  But once again, the Archers would find a way to strike.  It took 30 seconds for Leclaire to tally his fourth on the night.  He ran across the field, used the swim dodge, pump faked and found twine to close out the third.  Score at the end of three:  Archers 14—Outlaws 7.

The fourth was all Denver as they would run the field outscoring Utah 10-3.  They started it with a four-goal run.  Luke Wierman (1g) won the opening draw, scooped the GB, headed to the cage, fired it on the run and into the back of the net 6 seconds in and it was 14-8.  O’Neill would find a spark and tally three in a row, the first 2:17 in.  Handley created the double team allowing O’Neill to get open, he floated through the open space and used a beautiful overhand shot to bounce it in 14-9.  The next was a two-point marker just 14 seconds later.  From outside the two-point line, O’Neill spun, shot around his defender and buried a laser for his hat-trick and just like that, it was 14-11. At this point, Denver had scored four points in 65 seconds and showed no signs of slowing down.  About a minute later, O’Neill would get the pass, dropped then scooped the ball, headed to the rack and fired another high to low shot around Dobson 14-12 Archers.  Utah would halt the run with just one second on the shot clock.  Tom Schreiber (2a) would send a long pass to Fields who was in tight, he faked high and buried it low giving them a three goal lead 15-12.  But Denver would tally two more.  Zawada with the nice crease feed to Myers, who spun and found a sliver near pipe with 6:22 remaining and it was 15-13.  But O’Neill wasn’t done yet.  He got the pick, spun and shot on the run 16 seconds later and they were within one 15-14.  But the Archers weren’t going away.  Ryan Ambler swept across the field, fed to Leclaire who turned and shot with 4:48 to go and once again the lead was two 16-14.  At this point, Wierman was 7 of 8 at the face-off dot which in turn gave Denver their numerous scoring opportunities.  Once again, however, Utah would strike.  Ament creeped towards the net all alone and went low to high with 3:39 remaining and it was 17-14.  That’s when the Outlaws put it in full gear.  Justin Anderson (1g, 1a) split his defenders, put on the brakes, fired and found the back of the net with 3:28 to go 17-15 Archers.  The next goal was just down right pretty.  With the shot clock winding down and less than 5 seconds to shoot, Graham Bundy (1g, 1a) came around the cage, and with an “around the world” shot fooled Dobson and it went into the back of the net just before the shot clock expired and with 2:42 in regulation, they were within one 17-16.  It was O’Neill who would be the hero sending the game into OT when he swept across the field and fired, tying it up at 17’s with 2:27 to go.  The teams would exchange possessions throughout the remaining minutes with neither finding twine sending the contest into OT.  Score at the end of four:  Outlaws 17—Archers 17.

Heading into OT, neither team could find twine for the first 4:06.  It was then that the Archers would be called for a “too man men” penalty giving the Outlaws the opportunity they needed.  With one second left on the man up, O’Neill got the feed and stung the top corner for the GWG 4:31 into bonus lacrosse.  Final Score OT:  Outlaws 18—Archers 17.

Photo Courtesy of PLL

STARS OF THE GAME:
Brennan O’Neill—Denver Outlaws:  6g, 1 2ptG, 1a
Luke Wierman—Denver Outlaws:  23-36 FO; 11GB; 1g
Tre Leclaire—Utah Archers: 5g

GAME STATS:
Denver Outlaws—31 SOG; 36 GB; 19 TO; 15 Saves; .484 Sv%; FO 23-36
Utah Archers—34 SOG; 34 GB; 15 TO; 13 Saves; .433 Sv%; 14-35 FO

NEXT UP:

 The Utah Archers (1-1) will face off against the Carolina Chaos (2-0) at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, PA on Saturday June 15, 2024, game time 7:00 p.m. EST.  The game can be seen on ESPN+.

The Denver Outlaws (1-1) have a bye week and will be back in action again on Saturday June 29, 2024, when they will play host to the California Redwoods (0-1) in Egan, MN at TCO Stadium, game time 6:00 p.m. EST.  The game can be seen on ESPN2 and ESPN+.

Di Miller, Denver Outlaws Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©

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