Garrity Stops 15 Shots, Glading Dishes Three Assists for Bayhawks
Midfielder Stephen Berger fired in five goals, including a clinching 2-pointer, to lead Long Island to a 14-11 victory over the Chesapeake Bayhawks on Thursday night at James M. Shuart Stadium.
Berger, who was named the Bud Light Most Valuable Player, cranked in a clutch 2-pointer with 19 seconds left that put an end to a spirited comeback by the Bayhawks. Attackman Keith Cromwell dished off five assists while running mate Tim Goettelman scored three goals for the Lizards, who improved to 5-5.
“I was pleased that we fought until the very end. We fell behind by four goals in the second quarter and I thought we responded well,” Chesapeake president and head coach Brendan Kelly said. “There are a lot of positives we can take out of this game. Again, we battled until the final whistle, but the lesson is that you need to play four quarters in this league. We kind of gave it up in the second quarter.”
Goettelman scored back-to-back goals as Long Island opened the second period with a 3-0 run to take a 7-3 lead with just under four minutes left. Long stick defensive midfielder Kyle Hartzell and short stick running mate Jeff Reynolds answered with consecutive goals less than a minute apart to get Chesapeake within 7-5 at halftime.
Following a quiet third quarter, Cromwell had two assists as Long Island outscored Chesapeake 3-1 to begin the fourth quarter and take its largest lead of the game at 12-7 with a little less than eight minutes remaining.
“We played hard and we played really well at times. Unfortunately, we didn’t play real smart at other times,” veteran Chesapeake attackman Andrew “Buggs” Combs said.
Chesapeake refused to fold in the hostile road environment and midfielder Jeremy Sieverts sparked a gutsy rally. After attackman Ben Rubeor scored unassisted to halt the home team’s momentum, Sieverts ripped a 2-pointer then followed less than a minute later with another goal as the Bayhawks pulled to within 12-11 with 42 seconds left.
Obviously, the ensuing faceoff was crucial and Long Island captured it as was the case most of the night. Berger then split a double-team and cranked in the 2-pointer that sealed the win. “We turned the ball over way too much, especially in that crucial second quarter,” Kelly said. “We were careless and made some uncharacteristic mistakes.”
Goalkeeper Chris Garrity once again came up big for the Bayhawks with 15 saves, including seven in the fateful second frame to keep the visitors within striking distance. “Chris played very well and made some key saves to keep us in the game,” Kelly said.
Chesapeake was missing three key players that are representing the United States at the FIL World Championships in England. None was missed more than faceoff specialist Alex Smith as the Bayhawks were beaten 21-6 in that crucial category. Peter Vlahakis keyed the possession dominance by Long Island by winning 15 of 19 draws.
“It’s tough to not have Alex out there, but I felt Ben DeFelice did a good job of turning into a scrum and not allowing Long Island to get directly into offense,” Kelly said.
Danny Glading dished off three assists while fellow attackman and Virginia alum Ben Rubeor had two goals for Chesapeake (4-6), which has now lost five in a row. Brian Vetter contributed a goal and an assist while fellow midfielder Matt Abbott dished off two assists for the Bayhawks, who host the Chicago Machine next Saturday, July 31 then close the regular season at the Boston Cannons on August 7.
“We’ve got to beat Chicago and then we’ve got to beat Boston. We still control our own destiny. If we win our last two games we’ll be in the playoffs,” Kelly said.
Combs seconded that sentiment and said the Bayhawks really came together as a team on this road trip. “We fought really, really hard tonight. Our effort in all areas was very good, we just made too many costly mistakes. We’re not going to panic. We’ve still got two games to go and if we play the way we did tonight I think we’ll be alright.”