Bayhawks steal a win in OT to advance to eighth MLL Championship
The Bayhawks defeat the Blaze in OT to advance to the MLL Championship for a shot at their sixth title.
#1 Chesapeake Bayhawks vs #4 Atlanta Blaze
Friday night started off with a thriller between the Chesapeake Bayhawks and Atlanta Blaze. The Blaze, an MLL franchise making their playoff debut, got off to a hot start in Denver as they took a 9-4 lead in the first half thanks in large part to Mark Matthews (3 goals) and Tommy Palasek (2 goals).
The Bayhawks tried to control the tempo in the first half and the result was long, empty possessions marked by four shot clock violations. The Blaze, on the other hand, dominated their 1-on-1 matchups and scored quickly and often.
Yet it was clear that Dave Cottle had made some halftime adjustments, as Lyle Thompson (3 goals, 2 assists) and company came out firing in the second half, going on a 6-1 goal run and tying the game at 10 by the end of the third quarter.
The Bayhawks would go up 12-10 early in the fourth thanks to two huge goals from Andrew Kew (3 goals). The Blaze would quickly pull back within one, but a diving goal from Lyle Thompson gave Chesapeake a late 13-11 lead.
The Blaze wouldn’t be denied as they came right back and made it 13-12 off a time and room rip from Randy Staats (2 goals, 2 assists). Trailing by one goal, the Blaze had what appeared to be a final opportunity but Warren Jeffrey picked off a pass to give Chesapeake the ball with less than 1 minute.
However, that was all the time Atlanta needed as Christian Mazzone (1 assist) caused a turnover on the ride and the Blaze eventually buried one on the doorstep to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, the hero would be Steele Stanwick ( 2 goals, 2 assists) who scored on a perfectly placed low-to-low shot on a C-cut above the cage. The Bayhawks would steal the win and secure the franchise’s eighth MLL Championship appearance and a chance to win their sixth title.
The Chesapeake Bayhawks will face the Denver Outlaws at 1pm ET on Sunday, October 6 on ESPN 2.
Chesapeake Bayhawks 14, Atlanta Blaze 13 (OT)
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