Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/26/16
From Press Release
The Charlotte Hounds on Saturday night topped the visiting Boston Cannons 15-12 in the 2016 MLL season opener at American Legion Memorial Stadium. It marked the first time since the Hounds entered the league in 2012 that the team has won its home opener. Attack Joey Sankey (Penn Charter, Duke’s LC/Rebel Elite) was named Coca-Cola Player of the Game for his 9 point (6g, 3a) performance. Meanwhile, Boston was lead by Will Manny with 2 goals plus 6 assists.
“I thought our guys responded really well,” said Hounds Assistant Coach Tony Resch (La Salle assistant), who served the role of Head Coach for Saturday night while Jim Stagnitta had a collegiate coaching commitment. “We had a good practice last night, walk through today, and they really followed through on most or all of the things we asked them to do at both ends of the field. It’s always important for any team, any season, to get that first one under your belt. So I’m happy for them. The amount of work and effort they put in to come out with a victory in front of the home crowd, it’s all great stuff.”
Boston took an early lead, as Manny capitalized on a Hounds turnover. Three minutes later Mike Chanenchuk found John Haus on the doorstep and the game was tied at one. But the Cannons rattled off three straight goals, including the second of the night from Manny, to go ahead 4-1 by the end of the first.
The Hounds climbed back in the second quarter, starting with a Terry Kimener goal two minutes in. Less than one minute later, the Hounds forced a turnover which lead to another score. Sankey grabbed a loose ball behind the cage and completed a long pass to Colin Dunster, who immediately fired a rocket past Cannons goalkeeper Tyler Fiorito to make it a one-goal game. But the Cannons quickly responded, as Mike Begley caught Hounds goalkeeper Charlie Cipriano out of position.
Defense came up big again for the Hounds with another turnover. Mike Sawyer saw his shot and Fiorito made the initial save, but Sankey grabbed the rebound and buried it to pull the Hounds back within one, 5-4. Haus then tied the game with a lefty alley dodge. The play started with a great groundball steal by his younger brother, Will Haus. The Cannons got one last shot off with three seconds remaining in the half, and Cipriano looked to have made the save but fell over the goal line, giving the visitors a 6-5 advantage at the break.
Momentum returned to the Hounds in the third, as the home team scored three early goals to take their first lead of the game, 8-6. The Cannons came back tie it at 8 before the teams traded goals to knot the score at 9-9 with 5:14 to play in the third. A power play goal from Sankey, set up by Chanenchuk, put the Hounds back in front, then Dunster extended the lead to 11-9 at the end of the quarter off a feed from Sankey.
“We were just trying to be a little more careful coming out of our own end,” said Resch of halftime adjustments. “I think we had kind of gave them a couple easy goals early and I felt like the defense just refocused a little bit, let Charlie see the ball a little bit better.”
The Cannons struck first in the fourth, as Manny found Dave Emala for a quick shot off a restart. The teams traded goals before the Hounds put together a three-score run to move ahead 15-11 with 2:27 remaining in the game. Boston got one back in the final minutes from Emala to account for the 15-12 final.
“Any time the number is in that 10, 11, 12 range, you’ve done a good job of goaltending and on the defensive part of the game,” said Resch.
Another area of the game in which Charlotte excelled was at the faceoff X. Rookie Kevin Massa, making his first MLL start, went 20-31 on his draws in the absence of Brendan Fowler. “He was tremendous,” said Resch, “but it’s a team effort. So Michael Ehrhardt and Steve Ianzito on the wings did an outstanding job as well and Will Haus before he got hurt. So that was a big part. It gives you extra possessions. Then the offense, especially in the second half, starts to get rolling a little bit and when you’re getting steady possessions because of the great faceoff work, that’s how it happens.”
The Hounds (1-0) next weekend will continue their home stand and welcome the Rochester Rattlers (0-1) to Charlotte on Saturday, April 30. The Rattlers in their season opener fell 19-16 to the defending MLL Champion New York Lizards at Hofstra’s James M. Shuart Stadium.