Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/25/20
From Press Release
Justin Schwenk (Spring-Ford, NXT LC), who had played sparingly in the first few games of the MLL season, won 17 of 26 faceoffs Friday in a standout performance that helped lift the Connecticut Hammerheads to a 14-9 victory over the Chesapeake Bayhawks – effectively knocking the Philadelphia Barrage out of the playoffs.
Connecticut needed to win this game to ensure its spot in the postseason after an 0-2 start. Philadelphia (2-3) would have claimed the fourth seed on a tiebreaker if the Hammerheads had lost, but now Connecticut (3-2) takes the No. 2 seed and Philly falls to the No. 5 spot.
Schwenk is in his rookie year with MLL. He was selected 39th in the 2020 MLL Draft by the Philadelphia Barrage, ironically, before being traded to the Hammerheads.
Schwenk’s collegiate career began at Monmouth, where he was honored as the MAAC Rookie of the year and set three records at Monmouth for faceoff win percentage with .519, ground balls with 77, and faceoff wins with 164. After transferring to the University of Virginia, he saw action in 40 games in his three years there, graduating with a .500 win faceoff win percentage his senior year. Schwenk also set the UVA NCAA Tournament record with 22 faceoff wins against Robert Morris in his junior season.
It was interesting to note that Connecticut’s starting goaltender Brian Phipps sat out with an injury, so Sam Lucchesi got his first career start for the Bayhawks. Shane Simpson opened up the scoring for Chesapeake just three minutes in and Bradley Voigt responded a minute later in the first quarter. Michael Kraus and Ben Martin also got on the board in the first as Chesapeake led 4-3 after the horn.
Sean Sconone had five saves and Greg Weyl limited Lyle Thompson’s production in what was a mostly offensive first half. Chesapeake was on a 4-0 scoring run, but Connecticut came back with a four goal run of their own to tie the score at seven going into halftime. Both defenses were stout in limiting offensive opportunities, but Connecticut would slowly pull away in the second half.
Ben Martin scored his third goal less than a minute into the half to break the tie. Martin would score two more goals in the period to bring his total to five for the game. Connecticut controlled the tempo and the number of shots in which they converted when they had the opportunity. Bradley Voigt put up his third goal in the third quarter and Adam Osika scored his second with just 1.9 seconds left to shift the momentum going into the fourth.
Osika capped of his hat trick in the fourth quarter and Bradley Voigt scored his fourth goal to seal the win for Connecticut. Sconone did not have to make nearly as many saves as he did against Boston, but he was still sharp in the win. Chesapeake failed to score a goal in the final quarter.
Ben Martin had a sensational game with five goals today and Bradley Voigt notched his 16th goal in what has been a dominant season for the second year attackmen. Adam Osika got involved in the action in a big way with a hat trick of his own and Will Sands continues to impress as he has now totaled seven assists in the past two games. Schwenk was playing in place of starter Noah Rak.
Connecticut is the hottest team in the league right now and it will have to prepare for Chesapeake again today. The Hammerheads are riding on goaltending and consistent performance at the attack position going into the post season.
The Hammerheads will be back in action at 4:00 P.M on ESPN + as they try to earn their spot in the MLL Championship in their first season as a franchise against the reigning champion Bayhawks.
Final MLL Standings
Denver Outlaws 4-1 0.800 2-0 2-1 L1
Connecticut Hammerheads 3-2 0.600 1-1 2-1 W3
Boston Cannons 3-2 0.600 3-0 0-2 W1
Chesapeake Bayhawks 3-2 0.600 2-1 1-1 L2
Philadelphia Barrage 2-3 0.400 1-1 1-2 W1
New York Lizards 0-5 0.000 0-3 0-2 L5