Sorry… Ward, who? Currier, who?
Sunday, the Denver Outlaws defeated the Philadelphia Barrage (0-2) 15-10 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium as the MLL continues its shortened season in Annapolis.
In our Outlaws’ team preview, we mentioned the loss of two bonafide stars to the PLL. But an impressive 2-0 start for the Outlaws has the team looking even better than they did the last four years challenging for the MLL championship.
Second year players like Chris Aslanian, Jack Jasinski and Ryan Lee have grown into strong playmakers and threats in front of the net. A trio of rookies in Pat Aslanian, James Burr and Daniel Bucaro also had people talking as they combined for six goals and eight points versus Philly. John Grant Jr. has been quietly leading the offense from his office behind the net, where he’s able to make sneaky, athletic passes out front.
Tommy Palasek opened the scoring for Philadelphia 1:13 into the first quarter with a high righty shot, but Max Adler replied six seconds later, scoring off his own faceoff win to tie the game. Bucaro scored a pair to put Denver up 3-1. Philly then rattled off three in a row for a 4-3 lead. After Chris Aslanian tied it at four, Bucaro’s hat trick goal gave the Outlaws a one-goal lead heading into the second.
Palasek’s second tied things once again, early in the second. With two minutes to go in the quarter, Outlaws’ goalie Christian Knight made a nifty save off a backwards shovel shot from Palasek to keep it 7-6 Denver. Pat Aslanian then took advantage of a falling defender to up it to 8-6.
Shayne Jackson scored a pair for Philadelphia in the third but a five-goal run from the Outlaws put them up 13-8. Grant contributed two behind-the-net assists. Chris Aslanian scored on the man-up with nine seconds left in the quarter.
With the heat index reaching 140°F at field level Sunday afternoon, Max Adler left the game in the third showing symptoms of dehydration after taking a big hit. Prior to his departure he had won 11 of 18 draws against Alex Woodall. Casey Dowd finished the game at the X winning three of 11 draws.
“This heat is unbearable. It’s fun to play in though,” Bucaro said during an interview with ESPN at halftime. “I haven’t played in this since maybe high school, in summer tournaments. It’s really hot but you have to get used to it if you want to play in it.”
In the fourth, the Outlaws only goal came from Ryan Lee, who finished off Kyle Pless’ run downfield sprint with an underhand shot past Chris Madalon, who finished with 12 saves in the game. Philadelphia scored a pair with less than a minute left to hit double digits.
Lee and Bucaro led the Outlaws with three goals and one assist each. Shayne Jackson led the Barrage with a hat trick.
The Outlaws return to action on Tuesday at 7 p.m. to face the New York Lizards, while Philadelphia plays against Connecticut Monday at 4 p.m.