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MLL Recap: Final day of regular season finalizes playoff matchups

Martin leads the way as Hammerheads top Bayhawks 14-9

A victory on Friday afternoon would secure a spot in the playoffs for the Hammerheads, but a loss and they would need some help in the night game. The Hammerheads played a close first quarter before using a strong defensive performance to slowly pull away from the Bayhawks en route to a 14-9 victory. 

Quick ball movement in the first quarter got the Hammerheads offense rolling with three goals, all assisted, to take a 3-2 lead late in the opening frame. Lyle Thompson answered to  jump start a 4-0 Bayhawks run. That gave Chesapeake a three-goal lead, 6-3, lead in the second quarter. That lead proved to be a spark that lit a fire under the Hammerhead sideline and they got back on the board. 

Down by three the Hammerheads weren’t going to stop fighting for their playoff lives as they capped off the first half with a 4-1 run to tie the game at 7-7 heading into halftime. 

Continuing his strong season, Hammerheads’ Sean Sconone recorded five saves in the first half to keep the game close. Connecticut’s defense kept any of the Bayhawks stars from breaking out in the half as no single Chesapeake player had more than a single point in the first half. 

The Hammerhead momentum rolled into the second half as they outscored Chesapeake 7-2 in the half, led by a trio of goals from Ben Martin. Bradley Voight and Adam Osika also added a pair of goals for the Hammerheads to close out the scoring, and take a 14-9 victory. 

Chesapeake had balance scoring, but no one was able to break out, as they got goals from nine different players, while Ryan Keenan, Lyle Thompson, and Andrew Kew all added an assist to be the only Bayhawks with multiple points. Martin led Connecticut scoring five goals total on the night, while Bradley Voight pitched in four. Twice during the game the Bayhawks were held scoreless for 15 minutes or longer.

With the victory Connecticut leaps the Bayhawks to be the second seeded team in the playoffs and will take on the Bayhawks in a rematch tomorrow afternoon. 

Shark Week Started Late

After dropping their first two games by a combined score of 32-16 the Hammerheads swam right back into title contention winning each of the last three games by holding Boston, New York and Chesapeake under ten goals.

Reigning MLL Goalie of the Year, Sean Sconone made nine saves on Friday, but four of those came during the first quarter. With the game still close Sconone was once again called upon to make timely saves in big situations to keep the Hammerheads in the lead, or within one. Twice during the game including the entire fourth quarter, Connecticut held the Bayhawks scoreless for 15 minutes or longer. 

Ben Martin Keeps Rolling

The Hammerheads 2020 fourth round draft extended his offensive success with a five goal game. The rookie out of Dartmouth has scored in each of the Hammerheads three victories, picking up nine goals during that stretch. 

Missing Phipps

It’s worth noting that Chesapeake’s Brian Phipps did not play on Friday afternoon, but is expected to be available for Saturday’s playoff game. While rookie Sam Lucchessi played well for the Bayhawks the leadership and veteran presence of Phipps will be a huge addition back into the lineup. 

Boston rides big start to 10-8 victory over Outlaws

Before the game started Denver and Boston already knew they would be seeing each other again in just about 24 hours. A few starters, including both goalies, didn’t start in order to get some extra rest but that didn’t put a damper on the intensity of the matchup. Knowing they were going to see each other again in less than 24 hours both teams looked to set a tone off the opening faceoff. 

The Outlaws, looking to stay undefeated, opened the scoring thanks to Chris Aslanian, but Boston answered back scoring the next three goals taking a 3-1 lead after the first quarter. A goalie dual in the second quarter quieted both offenses for a bulk before the Cannons got rolling. Bryce Wasserman, adding to his first quarter tally, bookended a trio of Cannons goals that had a pair of Outlaw goals mixed in to give Boston a 6-3 lead at the half.

After 30 minutes of lacrosse the play of Christian Knight and Dom Madonna had been the story as the keepers had ten saves each. 

Ryan Lee tried to bring some life into the Denver offense scoring just 2:13 into the third quarter to cut the Boston lead back to two goals. Madonna and the Boston defense quickly shut down the Outlaws again for the rest of the quarter and limiting Denver to only six shots.

While the defense clamped down on one end of the field, the Boston offense got back to work getting goals from Kyle Jackson, Frank Brown, and John Uppgren. Uppgren’s goal, scored in the last minute of the quarter, gave the Cannons a controlling 9-4 lead heading into the final 15 minutes of play. 

The fourth quarter proved to be a better one for the Outlaws, but it was too little, too late. Goals from Burr, Bucaro, and Jasinski, brought Denver back within two with just about 8:30 left in the game but that would be as close as they got. The teams traded goals in the final minutes as Boston walked away with a 10-8 victory, ending the season at (3-2). Denver, suffering their first loss wrapped up the five-game season at (4-1).

Madonna finished off the night for the Cannons with 16 saves, while Frank Brown and Bryce Wasserman led all scorers with three goals each. Wasserman added an assist to finish the night with four points. 

Dom’s season debut 

Nick Marrocco got a well-deserved rest on Friday night as Dom Madonna got his first MLL start and only second MLL appearance. In the first half Madonna made 10 saves on 13 shots, putting up a .769 save percentage. The Syracuse product would finish the game with 16 saves and a .669 save percentage. 

Two games, two teams for EBUG Ronnie Fernando

MLL emergency backup goalie Ronnie Fernando made his second appearance on the sideline of the tournament for the Cannons with Marrocco in street clothes. Fernando, who had dressed for the Bayhawks in the earlier game, switched uniforms before heading back out onto the field. Both teams are expected to have their starters available for Saturday, meaning Fernando’s services won’t be needed for the playoffs. 

Matchups are set

The regular season has concluded meaning the four-team playoff field is set. Denver (4-1) will be the top seeded team followed by Connecticut (3-2), Chesapeake (3-2), and Boston (3-2). Denver and Boston will face off again in the first game, slated to start at 4pm ET, while Connecticut and Chesapeake will play the second game with start time set for 7pm ET on ESPN+

Isaac Berky is a graduate of Adrian College and Syracuse University with degrees in Digital Media and Broadcast Journalism. Even though his playing career never took off, he's been able to cover the game on the collegiate level as a broadcaster, while also working around the sports industry before joining Pro Lacrosse Talk as a contributor.

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