MLL: Hammerheads fall to Outlaws in first outing

July 18, 2020 Annapolis, MD – Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Denver Outlaws vs Connecticut Hammerheads. Denver’s Charlie Hayes chases down Connecticut’s Adam Osika. (Photography Credit: Alex McIntyre)

The Denver Outlaws successfully conquered the Connecticut Hammerheads 18-6 in the last game of the MLL’s triple header on Saturday.

As the sun began setting on a boiling hot day in Annapolis, the night heated up for the Outlaws. Perhaps still feeling the sting of losing a championship last year, it was clear from the beginning that Denver felt they had something to prove. And prove it they did, firing five first quarter goals past the Hammerheads, who looked like fish out of water, scoring no goals of their own.

Connecticut struggled defensively to stop the variety of shooters. They struggled to find their niche with sloppy transitions.

Ryan McNamara finally got the Hammerheads on the board at 2:12 of the second quarter. They scored twice more in the frame and began playing like a team instead of a bunch of individuals thrown together in the same colour uniform. Denver scored five more including a quarter-closing natural hat trick from Ryan Lee in a span of 3:25, to lead 10-3.

Halftime meant a regrouping and a chance to breathe again with the stifling humidity. The game resumed with the temperature still above 110°F on the field. The players kept going despite the heat.

The third quarter saw the Hammerheads net one goal from Bradley Voigt while the Outlaws put four away. You could hear the Hammerheads’ coaches telling the players not to give up. They offered advice on what to do: the players listened.

The fourth quarter brought four more Denver goals while Voigt scored twice more for Connecticut.

Each team can find positives from this game.

For Connecticut:

  • The Hammerheads will not have a lot of time to dwell on this loss. They need to regroup ASAP to prepare for Philadelphia on Monday.
  • Voigt’s hat trick proved that he will not give up even when down a lot.
  • They began working as a team. They increased their communication. They began anticipating what both their teammates and opponents would do. They’ve got their first game jitters out.

For Denver:

  • The Outlaws practiced control. They recognized that they had control of the game early on and were able to get both Nick Washuta and Christian Knight time between the pipes. This is helpful because now both goalies have playing experience going into their next game.
  • They were able to showcase their arsenal of talent with the wide-range of goals the team scored. A variety of goals and practicing those goals in game situations will be critical for when they are playing tough defense.
  • Denver was selfless. Ryan Lee and Daniel Bucaro each had four goals. Nine other players either scored or assisted in the game.

Look for both teams to take what they learned from their openers and apply it to the rest of their seasons. Connecticut and Denver will both face Philadelphia as their next opponent: Denver plays them Sunday at 4 p.m. ET while Connecticut plays them Monday at 4.