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Sankey, Crowley, McCallion help Charlotte reach MLL Final Four playoff berth

Sunday, 7th August 2016

Categories Boy's/Men's, Pro  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/7/16
From Press Releases

The Charlotte Hounds on Saturday night advanced to the Major League Lacrosse playoffs with a 15-13 victory over the visiting Chesapeake Bayhawks at American Legion Memorial Stadium in the 2016 regular-season finale. The Hounds (8-6) will be the No. 4 seed and travel to Minneapolis, MN, to face the top-seeded Ohio Machine (8-6) on Saturday, Aug. 13.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of the effort,” said Hounds Head Coach Jim Stagnitta. “The Bayhawks jumped on us a little bit early on and they took that lead, but we just kind of banged away at it. The little things – big time groundballs, winning faceoffs, everybody contributing. It was really a team effort.”

Joey Sankey (Penn Charter) scored the game’s first goal less than a minute in to give the Hounds an early lead. The next six minutes were scoreless before Joe Walters put the Bayhawks on the board with a low shot past goalie Charlie Cipriano, who was making his first start since a leg injury sustained on July 23. The teams traded goals, tying the game 3-3 with just over five minutes remaining in the quarter. Kevin Crowley (Shipley assistant coach, Fusion lacrosse co-founder, coach) then notched back-to-back assists on goals from John Haus and Ryan Brown to put the Hounds back in front 5-3 at the end of one.

The momentum didn’t last, as the Bayhawks dominated the second quarter. Chesapeake scored five-straight goals, including two from rookie Myles Jones, while holding the Hounds scoreless to take an 8-5 advantage into halftime.

Jones scored his third of the night, which was a 2-pointer, just 1:23 into the third quarter to push the Bayhawks lead to 10-5. Mike Chanenchuk finally ended the scoring drought for the Hounds, but Matt Danowski countered to keep the Bayhawks in front by five. Less than two minutes later Joe McCallion (Haverford School, Penn) found the back of the net as he was knocked to the ground, starting a four-goal run which pulled the Hounds within one, 11-10.

Brown was called for an illegal body check with 4:22 left in the third quarter and the Bayhawks capitalized on the man-up opportunity with a goal from Joe Walters to extend their lead to 12-10. But Crowley bounced one past Bayhawks goalie Brian Phipps one minute later to keep the Hounds within one heading into the final quarter.

Chanenchuk scored just 1:09 into the fourth, tying the game 12-12 and starting another four-goal run for the Hounds. Dylan Donahue scored the go-ahead goal as well as what would be the game-winner with 7:43 left to play. The Bayhawks got one back from Brendan Mundorf with just under two minutes to go, but with great play at the faceoff X and defensive end of the field the Hounds held on for the win.

Brendan Fowler was named Coca-Cola Player of the game after going 12-17 on faceoffs. Cipriano finished with 10 saves on 22 shots.

“The pressure wasn’t really on us (tonight),” said Stagnitta, “because there were no expectations for this team besides the ones we had for ourselves.”

This is the second time in team history that Charlotte has qualified for the postseason. The Hounds in 2013 made a run to the MLL Championship, where they ultimately fell 10-9 to the Bayhawks.

***

Major League Lacrosse, the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, have announced the playoff teams, seeds, and locations for the 2016 Semi-Final Games. The Ohio Machine, New York Lizards, Denver Outlaws and Charlotte Hounds have officially secured the four playoff berths.

(#1) Ohio Machine vs. (#4) Charlotte Hounds in Blaine, MN on August 13 at 6:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. CT.
(#2) New York Lizards vs. (#3) Denver Outlaws in Fairfield, CT on August 13 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

After the first 14 weeks of regular season play, the four playoff teams were not finalized until the end of the final three games of the season. Even at the end of the regular season, seven teams finished with an 8-6 record. Head-to-head matchups and point differential tie-breakers were used to determine the four playoff teams.

The Ohio Machine clinched their spot in the playoffs with a 22-13 win over the New York Lizards in the final regular season game. The New York Lizards were able to clinch their playoff berth, despite the loss to Ohio, based on head-to-head matchups against the other teams with 8-6 records. The Denver Outlaws clinched their spot in the playoffs after finishing their regular season games last week, capped off by six straight victories. They enter the playoffs coming off of a bye week. The Charlotte Hounds clinched their spot in the playoffs with a 15-12 win over the Chesapeake Bayhawks in their final regular season game.

The New York Lizards will play the Denver Outlaws at Rafferty Stadium at Fairfield University on Saturday, August 13 at 4:00 p.m. ET. The Ohio Machine will play the Charlotte Hounds at the National Sports Center Stadium in Blaine, MN on Saturday, August 13 at 6:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. CT). CBS Sports Network will broadcast both games.

Tickets for the 2016 Semi-Final Games start at $20-25 for individual tickets with discounted prices for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available for the Semi-Final Game in Fairfield CT at the event page HERE and tickets are available for the Semi-Final Game in Blaine, MN at the event page HERE. You can also find the tickets at www.majorleaguelacrosse.com, or by calling 617-746-2233.


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