On Saturday night the Chesapeake Bayhawks (5-3) defeated the Atlanta Blaze (5-4) 16-13 in a rematch from a couple weeks ago when the Blaze embarrassed the Bayhawks 19-10.
This time when the Bayhawks took the lead, they didn’t stumble. Starting with a hat trick from rookie midfielder Andrew Kew, who had four on the night as he played his second game this season. He made his Bayhawks’ debut on July 4th versus Denver.
Lyle Thompson led all scorers with eight points on the night (5G/3A) and seems to be playing on another planet.
“I’m just trying to play my game,” said Thompson. “Our coaches have really allowed me to do that. They have shown a lot of confidence in me and given me the freedom to make play. Coach has told me to be aggressive and take advantage of the defenders that are covering me.”
In his five games played this season he already has 33 points and leads the league in goals scored (23) and points (33). But this game was not your normal MLL game.
Back on June 29th in the first meeting of the two teams, Jesse Bernhardt and Randy Staats had to be separated a few times after the whistle and told to ease up during game play. This week it all came to a boil.
With 10:20 to go in the second quarter and the Bayhawks up 5-3, a scrum in the Bayhawks’ offensive end had players pushing and shoving along with some extra shots with the sticks. But as Staats and Warren Jeffrey walked to the Atlanta offensive side of the field, Staats and Jeffrey started a full out fight, with Jeffrey fighting to protect himself. Staats was immediately sent off the field to the locker room; Jeffrey followed about five minutes later.
Several players from both squads were assessed unsportsmanlike conduct penalties resulting in a man-up advantage (4 on 3 & 5 on 4). Steele Stanwick would score twice in 38 seconds to put the Bayhawks up 7-3.
Thompson added to the Bayhawks’ lead by drawing a doublet team and dishing off to midfielder Brendan Bomberry for a point-blank shot. Thompson then scored unassisted, coming off a pick then ripping a rocket from just inside the 2-point arc as the Bayhawks took a two goal lead 10-8 lead into halftime. After about a 90-minute lightning and rain delay the third quarter would finally get underway.
The Bayhawks took a 12-11 lead into the final quarter as Thompson continued to play on another planet as his two goals in the third quarter left the remaining fans wondering what can he do next. That answer came in the final 15 minutes.
Thompson’s fifth goal might have been his most impressive. Catching a pass on the right side, Thompson fired from about 15 yards away that picked the top corner on the far side.
“We just had to find a way to finish the game. Winning the fourth quarter tonight was huge,” head coach Dave Cottle said. “I thought the character our players showed was impressive. Playing a game that ended last Thursday night then having to come back again tonight… our guys showed a lot of heart.”
Along with Thompson (5G/3A), Kew (4G) and Stanwick (2G) had big games. Matt Abbott, Ryan Keenan, Nick Mariano, Brendan Bomberry and Colton Watkinson each scored single goals.
The Bayhawks will face the 0-6 Dallas Rattlers Sunday before returning home to face the New York Lizards in the first of three consecutive meetings starting on July 20th and August 3rd in Chesapeake. They then travel to New York for August 4th.