The Bayhawks advanced to championship final, their fourth out of five, with a convincing 20-13 win over Rochester avenging a 21-19 loss to the Rattlers last week and ending a five-game Rattler winning streak. Midfielder Paul Cantabene dominated at the face-off x raking 24 of the 36 face-offs. A Baltimore front line hand of Marechek, Gait and Powell beat out a pair of Rochester Powells. The trio of Bayhawk aces combined for 17 points adding force to a nasty 64-shots-on-goal storm. Johnson managed a 21-save defensive effort for the Rattlers.
Both teams demonstrated rather well-balanced offensive performances. Eight different players scored for Rochester while 11 players contributed to the Bayhawk victory. The real story is perhaps best illustrated in the eveningís match ups and the ability of one end of the field to best the outcomes of the other.
Christian Cook, Shawn Nadelen, and Lee Zink were assigned to C. Powell, R. Powell, and Andrew Combs respectively and limited the offense to 14 goals. Glatzel, Howley, and Watkins marked Gait, Powell, and Marechek at the start. The Baltimore trio combined for 17 points and if you do the math combining the scoring diversity and 3-goal differential of your leading scorers, the 7-point winning margin makes more sense.
The Rochester defensive assignments may seem a bit mismatched on paper however the Rochester win last week over Baltimore would suggest that either Baltimore underperformed last week or Rochester fizzled out last night. Either way, the difference between the two teams last night was the power two crucial outliers: Cantabene on the face-off x and the silent leadership and go-to hunger of defender Brodie Merrill.
Baltimore came out strong scoring their first of three goals in the first 12 seconds. The Bayhawks rained down on Johnson getting of 23 shots to Rochesterís 8 shots in the first period. Although Baltimore was loose and easy on the trigger, both teams scored five goals a piece in the first.
Cantabene squared off against Booth at the start of the first period with Baltimore winning possession. As good as Cantabene is in the circle, the face-off specialist found more issues with the officiating as the game progressed. Baltimore scored within 12 seconds off a fast break goal from Sims who shot top right (1-0). Marechek scored the next two goals pointing out the dangers of leaving him home alone on the crease. Curry passed off to Marechek who was completely alone on the circle with Johnson for what seemed like an eternity or at least enough time to throw a seizure of fakes. Prout dished off to Marechek for a quick stick goal at 2:58 (3-0).
Rochester responded with two goals from Combs (assisted by R. Powell) and R. Powell (Grant Jr) cutting the margin down to one (2-3). Baltimoreís Powell scored with a lefty under arm shot taking advantage of his out of position defender (2-4). The Rattlers answered with a hat trick from C. Powell (2 goals) and Cassese. R. Powell started with the ball from X and passed the ball to senior Powell who was cutting in hard from up high. Powell shot in the lower left corner (3-4). Cassese ripped the equalizer from outside right over the defenderís head going upper 90 (4-4). C. Powell gave the Rattlers a brief lead with his behind the back goal from X (5-4). The last goal of the period came from long pole Brodie Merrill off his third shot on goal going with the lefty bouncer taking his defender and them Johnson in the dime hole (5-5).
Baltimore was slightly more effective on their shooting percentage scoring 7 goals off of 14 shots while Rochester managed 4 goals on 13 shots. Combs scored the two opening goals for Rochester from nearly the same spot going for a lefty diving shot on the first goal (6-5) and scoring off a lefty scoop shot while getting hacked (7-5). Baltimore notched a pair from Gait and Marechek (7-7) and Rochester responded with a pair of their own from Combs and Shannon (9-7).
Baltimore punctuated the remainder of the first half with a dominant five consecutive goal string. Gait scored off an assist from Sonke (8-9). The Bayhawks evened the score off a pretty sequence on a power play. Marechek go the flat pass across the box and then went behind the back to Powell who was cutting from X (9-9). Sims converted on a Rochester turnover and drove in hard for a lower right goal (10-9). Cantabene followed with a goal off the face-off (11-9) and Marechek capped of the scoring in the half with a behind the back goal for his fourth goal of the game (12-9).
Baltimore out shot and outscored Rochester in the third 19-10 and 4-3 respectively. Rochester scored in the first minute off a Shannon-R. Powell combo (10-12). Baltimore responded with a goal from Sims, his third of the game (10-13). Grant Jr. passed of to R. Powell who was cutting from X and Powell took Tierney in the dime hole (11-13). Baltimore got another fancy goal from Marechek who shot between his legs off an assist from Powell (14-11). Powell assisted again on a goal from Sonke (15-11). Rochester scored on a power play with a behind the back assist from Grant Jr to Shannon (12-15). The Bayhawks capped of the third period scoring off a power play goal from Prout.
Baltimore outscored Rochester in the fourth 4-1 although Rochester out shot Baltimore 9-8. Combs scored Rochesterís last and only goal of the fourth quarter off an assist from C. Powell. Combs caught the rare and late slide getting Tierney on the bouncer (13-16). Gait scored his third goal of the game at 4:05 (17-13). Powell waxed nostalgic and gave it his signature college try pulling out and working his defender to the bone until heat beat him on the inside and scored (13-18). Coach Gait had the last word and two goals of the game with the one-handed scooper and the triple fake on the crease (20-13).
Final score Baltimore 20 Rochester 13. Baltimore will go head to head with Long Island in the Finals this Sunday live on ESPN2 at 13:00.
More photos to come later today.
Baltimore Bayhawks vs. Rochester Rattlers