MLL: Outlaws rally behind fans during semifinal

John Grant Jr. with the ball. Boston Cannons vs Denver Outlaws, 2019 MLL semifinal. (Photo credit: Callie Agnew)

In Friday’s Major League Lacrosse semifinals, the Denver Outlaws used their home field advantage to stage a late-game rally and defeat the Boston Cannons 17-15 at Peter Barton Stadium.

John Grant Jr. was instrumental in the comeback.

“Every time we would get a goal the place would go bananas,” Grant said. “Bad calls, big swings, big hits, big defensive plays. They rose to the occasion every time we needed a little boost and that helped us tonight. It was like an extra guy for us if we needed to put Boston down. I don’t think we could have done it without [the fans].”

“It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is a big deal,” added midfielder Zach Currier. “I wish everyone could have been there to hear how loud it was.”

The Outlaws fell behind early and the Cannons took a 7-3 lead after one quarter. Will Sands led the Cannons with a pair of goals and an assist.

Boston’s lead was cut by halftime with the Outlaws pulling within three (13-10 Cannons at half). Chris Aslanian and Mikie Schlosser each had a pair of goals for Denver while Zed Williams had a hat trick for Boston, contributing to his team-leading four goals. Cal Dearth also had four for the Cannons – one in each quarter.

In the third quarter Grant put the Outlaws on his back, scoring three goals in just under two minutes and 30 seconds. Grant scored five times in the game.

“That is an excellent team; they have weapons everywhere,” Grant said of the Cannons. “Offensively we are a very young team and that was a lot of our guys’ first playoff game. They had to step up and follow the veteran leadership of guys like Mikie Schlosser and Zach Currier.”

The Outlaws’ defense held the Cannons to two goals in the second half. Dillon Ward made 11 saves throughout the game.

“Once our defense settled in for that second half, I had a feeling we had to hold them to 15,” Grant explained.

Currier had three goals of his own and two assists including a diving goal that went past Cannons’ goalie Nick Marrocco.

“It was a great feeling when we started rolling. When we are playing our game I think we are the best team in the league and it shows when we go on those runs,” Currier said of the turnaround.

Currier spoke of playing with Grant, with whom he shares a hometown.

“I’ve watched Junior every night since I was eight-years-old. Playing alongside him has been pretty crazy and pretty surreal. For him to come back and have a gutsy performance like that shows how much he loves this game, how much he loves his teammates and how he is the best player to ever play this game.”


Bayhawks vs Blaze

In Friday’s first semifinal, Steele Stanwick’s overtime goal on Friday sent the Chesapeake Bayhawks to the Major League Lacrosse championship. Stanwick dodged a defender and shot underhand to secure the 14-13 win over the Atlanta Blaze.

The Bayhawks scored the first goal of the game, however the Blaze went on a couple of multi-goal runs, taking a 9-4 lead at the half. Keeping the Bayhawks to only one goal in the second quarter was a big momentum booster. The Blaze lead the scoresheet in faceoffs (9-6) and shots on goal (12-11).

However, the Bayhawks came back. They outscored the Blaze 9-4 in the second half, led by Lyle Thompson’s three goals. Chesapeake led 13-11 but the Randy Staats and TJ Comizio scored to send the game to overtime.

In the second half the Bayhawks won the shooting battle (17-9) and did well at the X (10-5). In overtime the Atlanta Blaze won the only faceoff, however failed to get a shot on goal, ending their season in the semifinals.

Mark Matthews led Atlanta with three goals. Chris Madalon made 14 saves in goal. Andrew Kew also had a hat trick for Chesapeake, and Brian Phipps got the start over Niko Amato in the Bayhawks’ net, making 13 saves.

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