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BOSTON, Mass. – For the fourth time in their 12-year history, the Chesapeake Bayhawks have claimed the title of Major League Lacrosse champions.
Led by four goals from midfielder Ben Hunt, including a pair of two-point markers, the Bayhawks overcame an early two-goal deficit to earn a convincing 16-6 victory over the top-seeded Denver Outlaws in front of 7,384 fans at Harvard Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The win allowed the Bayhawks to become the first team in Major League Lacrosse history to win four league titles. Meanwhile, the Outlaws had their seven-game win streak snapped, dating back to last season.
After midfielder Casey Cittadino and attackman Mark Matthews gave Denver a 2-0 lead in the opening nine minutes of the first quarter, the Bayhawks recovered with a seven-point run, including a pair of goals from midfielder Steven Brooks and attackman Danny Glading, to take a 7-2 lead just under a minute into the second quarter.
But, the Outlaws responded by scoring three of the next four goals, including a goal and an assist from Matthews, to trim the deficit to 8-5 with 3:40 remaining in the first half.
A pair of goals from Hunt and attackman Ben Rubeor extended the Bayhawks’ advantage to 10-5 at the intermission.
The Bayhawks upped their cushion to 14-5 in the third quarter with three straight goals, including a two-point marker from Hunt.
Just under two minutes into the fourth quarter, attackman Jeremy Sieverts ended a nearly 21-minute scoring drought when he scored an unassisted goal past goalkeeper Kip Turner. But, the Bayhawks sealed the victory by tallying back-to-back markers from Hunt and midfielder Michael Kimmel.
While Hunt led the Bayhawks with his six-point effort, Brooks added two goals and two assists for the Bayhawks, who improved to 4-2 all-time in the MLL Championship Game. Attackman Ben Rubeor, who scored six goals in the Bayhawks’ semi-final victory over Boston on Saturday, contributed a pair of goals and earned Bud Light MLL Championship Weekend MVP honors.
Matthews led Denver in a losing effort by scoring two goals with an assist while Sieverts contributed a pair of markers. Goalkeeper Jesse Schwartzman made 15 saves for the Outlaws, who were outshot by a 55-38 margin.
Notes: The Bayhawks improved to 10-4 all-time in the playoffs … They won MLL titles in 2002, 2005 and 2010 and were making their sixth appearance in the title game … Denver has now been outscored by a 65-33 margin in its four championship game appearances … The Outlaws also tied the MLL record for the fewest points scored in a postseason game … In 2008, the Outlaws lost to Rochester by an identical 16-6 margin in the championship game … Chesapeake defenseman Brian Spallina became the first player in league history to win five MLL titles … He is one of four players in league history to win at least four championships.