MLL: Chesapeake falls to Charlotte in Thursday matchup

(Photo courtesy of the Chesapeake Bayhawks)

CHARLOTTE, NC – Standout midfielder Myles Jones amassed six points on a goal and five assists to lead the Chesapeake Bayhawks in a tough 14-13 loss to the Charlotte Hounds on Thursday night at Memorial Stadium.

Second-year attackman Colin Heacock scored three goals and assisted on another for Chesapeake, which was outscored 7-4 over the second and third quarters and fell to 1-2.

Charlotte defenseman Michael Ehrhardt scored what proved to be the game-winner off a 2-point shot in transition with 1:44 remaining in the game. Ehrhardt’s goal came when Chesapeake was called for offsides while clearing the ball.

“This game is my fault. We went offsides at a crucial moment and that is on me,” Chesapeake Head Coach Dave Cottle said. “I thought we battled and fought the whole way. This loss is on me, not the players.”

Attackman Robert Maddux, playing in just his second Major League Lacrosse game, also had a hat trick as the Bayhawks (1-2) were unable to capitalize on another dominant performance from faceoff specialist Stephen Kelly.

Kelly was credited with 11 ground balls in claiming 18 of 29 draws to give Chesapeake plenty of offensive chances. However, the Bayhawks only put half of their 40 shots on cage and that errant shooting proved costly.

“We’re not a refined offensive team right now,” Cottle admitted. “Therefore, we need to do a better job of controlling the ball and playing cleaner. We can’t let our opponent create offense off our offense.”

Veteran midfielder Matt Abbott contributed two goals and two assists for the Bayhawks, who were whistled for seven penalties as opposed to just one against the Hounds. Midfielder Ryan Tucker chipped in two goals as well.

“Going into the game I thought we would need to score 15 and unfortunately I was right,” Cottle said.

Brian Phipps started in goal and recorded eight saves while Niko Amato took over between the pipes to start the second half and stopped six shots.

“We have two good goalies and I believe they both have earned the right to play,” Cottle said. “I’m probably going to do that a lot this season.”

Chesapeake committed 20 turnovers and also gave up several unsettled goals. Those two factors combined with the poor shooting, lead to a loss of one by the Bayhawks.

“We don’t want to turn it over as much and we want to do a better job of getting back on defense,” Cottle said.

“That being said, there were a lot of positives tonight. Robby Maddux got his chance and played really well. Colin Heacock had the ball in his stick a lot and did some good things,” Cottle added. “I thought Myles Jones was outstanding in the second half, played really tough and competitive. Stephen Kelly kept battling and had another strong game at the faceoff stripe.”

Chesapeake raced out to a 3-0 lead with just 3 ½ minutes elapsed as Kelly kept winning faceoffs, allowing the visitors to play make-it, take-it. Abbott got things started by scoring off a rebound just 51 seconds into the contest. Goalie Charlie Cipriano could not handle a hard blast by Jones and Abbott was all alone on the crease to clean up the mess.

Jake Froccaro got his first goal with just shy of three minutes gone, powering through a high stick check by defenseman David Manning. It appeared Froccaro was clotheslined at the neck, but he was still able to turn and flip a one-handed shot into the cage.

Heacock capped the early onslaught less than a minute later by taking a feed from Jones and sticking a crank shot into the top corner.  Charlotte responded with two straight goals and could have tied the score if not for consecutive spectacular saves by Phipps on point-blank shots.

The Bayhawks then closed out the opening period scoring as Jones drew three defenders and dished a no-look pass to Tucker, who used a stick fake to fool Cipriano then finished from the doorstep to make it 4-2.

Maddux, who was activated from the practice squad for this game, got the Bayhawks going early in the second quarter with an absolute cannon blast from the left wing. Maddux fired a sidearm crank shot to the short side that Cipriano never saw to make it 5-3 at the 13:10 mark.

Charlotte capitalized on a two-man advantage and a failed clearing pass by Phipps to tie the score at five, but Chesapeake retook the lead when Heacock beat a short stick from behind, skirted the crease and fired a sidearm shot into the top corner.

Charlotte scored consecutive goals again to take its first lead of the contest, but the Bayhawks retied things less than a minute later when Tucker found himself wide open out front and fired a 5-yard shot into the net with 4:52 remaining in the first half. That concluded the scoring and the teams went into intermission tied at seven.

Kelly captured 12 of 16 faceoffs in the first half, but was not able to capitalize on that time of possession advantage. “We left a lot of crumbs on the table,” Cottle acknowledged during his halftime interview with Lax Sports Network. “We also gave up three loose ball rebounds and one broken clear. We need to do a better job of clearing the ball out of the defensive end and giving ourselves a chance to score some transition goals.”

It suddenly turned into a defensive struggle during the third period with neither team able to find the back of the net for more than nine minutes. Charlotte scored twice in the span of 54 seconds to take a 9-7 lead, but Chesapeake answered with Heacock once again beating a shorty from behind and this time drilling a shot off the far pipe to make it a one-goal game going into the final frame.

Amato took over in goal for the second half and closed the third quarter with back-to-back incredible saves to prevent the Hounds from going back ahead by two.

The Hounds struck first in the fourth quarter to increase the lead to 10-8, but Jones used his size and power to back down short stick defender Patrick Resch then fired an overhand crank shot that skipped into the cage. Moments later, Jones fed Froccaro for a crank shot that tied the score for the third time in the game, 10-10 with 12:41 to go.

Charlotte snatched yet another two-goal lead, but Chesapeake came back once again to force a fourth tie. Abbott dodged down the right alley and fired a low-angle shot between the keeper and the pipe to make it 12-11 with 5:45 remaining.  It was the 97th career goal for the veteran midfielder.

A delayed fastbreak that featured superb ball movement produced a sidearm crank shot from the left wing by Maddux and suddenly it was 12-12 with 4:05 left. However, Ehrhardt delivered the dagger – blasting a 2-pointer from the top of the arc off a clear to give the Hounds a 14-12 lead with 1:44 on the clock.

Chesapeake won the ensuing faceoff and Cottle called timeout to set up a play. It worked just as drawn up with Maddux coming off a double-screen and unleashing another wicked crank shot to cut the deficit to one with 1:23 remaining.

The Bayhawks had a chance to tie when Jones used a nifty split dodge to lose his defender then fired a left-hande shot on cage. However, Cipriano saw it the whole way and made the stop to enable the Hounds to escape.

Watch replays of tonight’s game in its entirety on NBC Sports Washington tomorrow, May 4th at 11:30am, May 5th at 12:00pm, and May 7th and 11:30am. Read more about this partnership here:

The Bayhawks play next at home against the Ohio Machine on Saturday, June 2nd at 7:00pm at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD. For tickets, please call 866-99-HAWKS, email or visit