MLL Semifinal Recap: Denver Edges Chesapeake, Advances to Third Straight Championship

(Photo Credit: Major League Lacrosse)

As Denver came into Chesapeake for the first MLL semifinal game of the night it would be exciting from start to finish. For starters we had an hour lighting delay that pushed back the start time. Once the game got started the play on the field did not disappoint as we had an epic battle between two great teams and the finish was even better. 

The beginning of the game was very slow as both teams looked a little sluggish. There were more turnovers then good possession it seemed. However we would see some offense as Kylor Bellestri got the offense started for Denver. Drew Snider would score Denver's second goal of the game later in the first. For Chesapeake it would be Josh Byrne and Steele Stanwick's two goals that got them started in the first. At the faceoff dot Chesapeake had little answer for Max Adler with Stephen Kelly out. 

Coming into the second quarter it would be tied at two all and we would see the game really ramp up here as the play got much better. Denver would start off the scoring of in the second with Mikie Schlosser and Zach Currier pushing the Denver led out to 4-2. That run would be contributed to a ton of transition plays off of Chesapeake turnover that they fought to clean up all game. The Bayhawks would answer with three goals as Myles Jones, Lyle Thompson, and Matt Danowski as Chesapeake would take the 5-4 lead. Denver would be able to get a couple of shots and possessions off as they looked great in transition as always, especially when Chesapeake was struggling to hold onto the ball. The first half would close out with Denver getting two goals by way of Eric Law and Zach Currier getting two goals to make it a 6-5 Denver lead heading into the third.

Denver's goal run would continue in the beginning of the second half which really gave them a lot of energy back. Those two goals from Denver coming from Zach Currier as he got his third and fourth of the night. As Denver seemed to have all the momentum with Adler dominating at the dot an their offense taking care of business the momentum would swing back towards the Bayhawks midway through the third. Lyle Thompson would help Chesapeake get the energy back with a man-up goal to cut the Denver lead to 8-6. Chesapeake would continue their momentum with two more goals, one from Josh Byrne and one from Lyle Thompson, to tie the game up at 8-8. Denver's Kylor Bellistri would find the back of the net to answer and make it 9-8 heading into the fourth.

In the fourth we would see a tight action packed ending that wouldn't disappoint. It was the perfect ending to a great game as every second mattered when it went down to the wire. It was almost like a game of ping pong as it seemed like each team was just trading goals with the other for a good portion of the quarter. Eric Law would start the scoring in the fourth with a Denver goal to make it 10-8 Outlaws. On the other end Colin Heackcok would come off a screen to make it a one goal game and thus get the Bayhawks energy back. Lyle Thompson and Myles Jones would each get a goal to follow, making it an 11-10 Bayhawks lead. Denver would answer with a man-up goal from Kavanagh and goal from Kylor Bellistri to take back the lead. With a defender draped all over his back Colin Heacock would net an impressive bouncer to make tie it up at 12 all. Matt Kavanagh would score with less than a minute to win the game for Denver. Chesapeake had chance at the end with 5.6 seconds on the clock but an overthrown pass from X by Lyle Thompson would be all she wrote as Denver won 13-12. 

The Outlaws will advance to their third straight MLL Championship game, fourth in the last five seasons. The Outlaws will face the Rattlers on Saturday night in Charleston, SC as MUSC Health Stadium. There the Outlaws will be looking for their third title and the Rattlers their second.