5/30/10 12:00 AM
Pittsburgh, PA- Veteran attackman Andrew “Buggs” Combs scored four goals while goalie Chris Garrity made 16 saves, but their strong performances weren’t enough as the Chesapeake Bayhawks suffered their first loss of the season, 17-14 to the Chicago Machine at Joe Walton Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA.
Attackmen Ben Rubeor and Danny Glading scored two goals each for Chesapeake, which fell behind 4-1 in the first quarter and had to play catch-up the rest of the way. “We fell into an early hole and were swimming upstream the whole game,” head coach John Tucker said. “I felt we were flat for most of the game while Chicago came out ready to play and really performed well in all areas.”
Anthony Kelly and Doug Shanahan combined to neutralize Chesapeake faceoff ace Alex Smith. Kelly, a fifth-year pro out of Ohio State, won 11 of the 15 draws he took. Smith won 67 percent of faceoffs in the Bayhawks initial two games, but was 14-for-34 on Saturday.
“Alex has his off days once in a while. I’m confident he’ll bounce back and be his dominant self in the next game,” Tucker said.
Attackman Kevin Leveille scored four goals to lead Chicago, which moved into a first place tie with Chesapeake and Denver. All three teams have 2-1 records.
Kelly won the game’s opening draw and fed Leveille for a goal with just 11 seconds elapsed. Leveille added another goal a little more than four minutes later while midfielders Bill McGlone and Brett Garber also scored unassisted as Chicago built a 4-1 lead.
However, Matt Abbott closed the first quarter with a short-handed goal and Combs opened the second period with consecutive goals as Chesapeake fought back to tie the score 4-4. “It’s always a game of runs and we felt like we had weathered the storm and gotten ourselves back into it,” Combs said.
Chicago responded with consecutive goals, but Combs’ third tally of the second period cut the deficit to 6-5 with 4 ½ minutes left. However, Mike Leveille scored a power play goal off an assist from Garber then returned the favor a minute later as the Machine took an 8-5 lead into halftime.
“I definitely thought those two goals Chicago got in the last 2 ½ minutes of the first half were crucial. That was a big momentum swing,” Tucker said.
Rubeor fired in both of his goals in the third period, but the Bayhawks were outscored 5-3 and entered the final frame down 13-8. It was 16-10 midway through the fourth quarter but Glading got both his goals as Chesapeake outscored Chicago 4-1 down the stretch to make things interesting.
“Chicago got the lead then came out and pressed us defensively. We expended a lot of energy to come back and couldn’t sustain it,” Combs said.
Garrity stood tall in the face of 33 shots before giving way to backup Mike Levin in the final quarter. The former United States national team keeper made 12 saves in the first half to keep the Bayhawks within striking distance.
“We had some defensive breakdowns and left our goalie hung out to dry a few times. I thought our six-on-six defense was decent, but we gave up some unsettled goals and way too many second-chance opportunities,” Tucker said.
Chesapeake returns to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis this Friday night, June 4 (7:30 p.m.) to host the Boston Cannons. Ticket information is available at www.thebayhawks.com.
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