August 1, 2009

Abbott-Cadabra: OT Goal Keeps Bayhawks Alive

from press release

Washington midfielder Matt Abbott celebrates after his game-winning goal 57 seconds into overtime lifted the Bayhawks to a 17-16 win over the Chicago Machine.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Washington Bayhawks (4-7) of Major League Lacrosse (MLL) knew that a win over the Chicago Machine (3-8) would keep their playoff hopes alive entering the final home game of the 2009 season.

Bayhawks rookie Matt Abbott made sure that hope would stay alive with the game winning goal only 57 seconds into sudden death overtime. Bayhawks rookies ruled the night as eight rookies played scoring ten of the sixteen goals.

Ben Hunt, playing in only his fifth MLL game, scored five goals and was named Bud Light Game MVP in the Bayhawks thrilling 17-16 win.

"I'm really proud of how we didn't get rattled down the stretch and stayed focused in overtime," said Bayhawks Head Coach John Tucker. "We did a great job of killing off the penalty, and then Abbott got a great chance and finished it. He had a great night."

The Bayhawks came into the game coming off a loss at Chicago last weekend but were hopeful considering the Machine had only won one road game in their franchise history, a 13-11 win at Denver in Week 1 of the 2009 season. The game opened with Peete Poillon scoring his first career MLL goal in his MLL debut. The Bayhawks added two more early goals from Hunt andBuggs Combs to push the lead to 3-0.

Former Bayhawk Bill McGlone countered for Chicago with a goal and a two-point goal to tie the game. Hunt scored again for the Bayhawks, but Chicago went on a four goal run to take a 7-4 lead.

In the second quarter, the Bayhawks scored seven straight goals to go into halftime with an 11-7 lead. Jed Prossner scored his first goal of the game and then added another tally 1:30 later. Hunt recorded his first career hat trick to tie the game half way through the second quarter. Poillon scored his second goal of the night to regain the lead for the Bayhawks. Combs, Poillon, and Ben Rubeor added goals to close the half with rookie Danny Glading adding two assists

Late in the quarter, Chicago's Kevin Leveille was called for a lengthy penalty and given seven total penalty minutes: five minutes for unsportsmanlike misconduct and two consecutive one minute unsportsmanlike misconducts.

Bayhawks Goalie Chris Garrity, who had 11 saves on the night, came out strong to start the third quarter with several key saves. Chicago kept the pressure on the defense and netted the first three goals to cut the Bayhawks lead to 11-10. The Bayhawks responded with two late goals from Hunt and Poillon to give the Bayhawks a three goal lead entering the final frame.

Combs extended the Bayhawks lead to four earning the hat trick.

After Mike Leveille scored for Chicago, Billy Glading gave the Bayhawks a 15-11 lead. Minutes later, Bayhawks faceoff specialist Alex Smith was given a three minute penalty for an illegal stick, and Chicago goalie Mike Gabel was caught using an illegal chest protector and was given a one minute penalty and a game ejection. Machine head coach John Combs was also ejected as a result of the penalty.

Chicago found motivation from the calls and scored five of the final six goals of the fourth quarter to force the extra session.

The Bayhawks took a one-minute penalty on the game-tying goal, which extended into overtime. Smith won the crucial faceoff to start overtime for Bayhawks and called an immediate timeout.

Coming off the break, defenseman Ronnie Staines cleared the ball across midfield, and the Bayhawks killed off the last 45 seconds of the penalty.

Only moments later, Abbott buried the game winning goal on roll dodge just inside the two-point arc, firing past Machine reserve goalie Bud Petit.

"We cleared the ball, and I was just trying to make something happen," said Abbott about his game-winning play. "Ronnie did a great job getting out of trouble and across midfield, and I just wanted to make sure I put the shot on net. That's a big win for us. We knew it was do or die."

The Bayhawks now enter the final week of the season with a playoff berth in sight. The Bayhawks travel to Boston for a Thursday night showdown with the Cannons. A win against Boston coupled with a Long Island loss at Chicago next Saturday would give the Bayhawks their first Championship Weekend appearance since winning the Steinfeld Cup in 2005.    


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