Rochester dominated the second and third quarters outscoring the Bridgeport Barrage 11-2 on their way to a 14-10 victory in front of 2,612 fans at Harbor Yard. Chris Cercy continued to do what he did at Syracuse this past season by dominating the face-off. Bridgeport sent four different guys (Brian Silcott, Jamie Hanford, Jim Gonnella, and Brian Haggerty) out to try and stop but none were successful. Bridgeport was aware of this after these two teams' first meeting where Rochester won 22 of 33 and as a result the Barrage signed Haggerty just this week. Rochester Head Coach Guy Van Arsdale commented on Bridgeport trying four different guys, “You have to. Cercy is that good. Also, Ryan Mollett and [Chris] Schiller do an unbelievable job of getting it off the ground and into our offense.”
Bridgeport’s Head Coach Ted Garber said that he told his guys that if we can keep the other team to three goals a quarter and they could average just above that they would win. They were able to do that in the first quarter but that was it. The Barrage was the first to score with Brian Silcott ripping one high. Rochester answered with three goals in a minute and 30 seconds which is extra impressive because the clock runs after a goal. Ryan Powell scored first on a “So-Be Power Play” as the Rattlers moved the ball before the Bridgeport defense could shift. Bud Light MVP D’Arcy Sweet had the next goal when he picked up a rebound and put it behind the back. Powell got his second when he dodged on his defender off the face-off. Bridgeport strung together three goals to close the quarter. Jim Gonnella, the former midfielder-of-the-year in college, scored first with an unassisted goal in transition. Keith Cromwell, who started his second game tonight, scored next on a diving shot to tie the score. A nice one-on-one battle occurred next between the white-haired John Grant Jr. and Hanford. It went on for almost 15 seconds with Hanford knocking down the ball and taking possession. Hanford was laying some serious wood and that may have explained the “booger-guard” or extra padding that Grant was wearing on his arm. Grant explained the protection, “I eat with my right hand and I don’t want to switch.” Blake Miller got the final goal of the quarter on an extra-man opportunity to give his team the lead.
That lead would not last for long as Rochester got things going right away with their first goal coming 35 seconds into the quarter. Mario Lopez was called for a slash giving the Rattlers a power play. They converted with Tim Soudan drilling one from downtown. Sweet got the next goal again off a rebound. This frustrated Coach Garber, “They [Rochester] had some close goals tonight off rebounds. I haven’t even thought of mentioning this to my guys because it is something you learn in high school but we have to remember that when these guys wind up for the big shot to check sticks on the save because they were picking it up and scoring.” Steve Bishko got the game’s first two-pointer off a pass from Mike Regan who was looking for the shot himself. Jake Bergey had the next goal for the Rattlers but credit goes to Powell for creating the opportunity. Powell was basically being tackled but before he hit the deck he fed Bergey who scored. Cromwell stopped the bleeding for the Barrage with a tough shot under pressure. Rochester put up two more before the close of the quarter. The first one was unreal. Powell was dodging and again being knocked around hard but he found Grant who was basically goal-line extended. Grant threw a fake then whipped it behind the back for a goal. Grant described the shot, “Ryan drew every defender on their team but he got it to me and I just tried to fake…I didn’t even see it go in.” Sweet continued to play the garbage man but knocking in another saved shot before the end of the half.
Bridgeport opened up the second-half scoring with Matt Panetta putting away a Thomas Carmean feed. Rochester came back strong. Grant popped a two-pointer in transition then right off a Cercy face, Sweet stuck a Powell feed. Rochester got the last goal of the third quarter on EMO. Sweet was open on the crease and Grant hit him with a behind the back pass. As Coach Garber said, “They had a lot of that behind the back box stuff going.” Bridgeport did manage to score just as the horn went off but the official signaled a crease violation.
Rochester took it easy in the fourth quarter as they were up 14-6. Coach Van Arsdale said that would not be the case in the future. Bridgeport was able to chip away but it was too little too late. Gonnella again showed off his cannon for the first goal. Then Keith Cromwell continued his impressive performance with an unassisted goal. Silcott had his second of the game with 6 minutes remaining. Miller also had his second of the game with a quick stick but that would be all. Bridgeport looked better in the fourth quarter than any other quarter. The team looked very sloppy overall and Coach Garber attributed that to lack of practice time, “We had stuff we wanted to put it we didn’t even do like man-up plays…If you haven’t practiced something you can’t expect people to do it.” The Barrage only practiced for 20 minutes this week because of the weather. Rochester, on the other hand, had a full practice on Thursday and a walk-through on Friday.
An interesting exchange occurred at the end of the press conference between Rochester Goalie Brian Dougherty and MLL Executive Director Gabby Roe. Roe looked at Dougherty and said, “You’re killing me. You are absolutely killing me.” This was apparently in reference to Doc’s orange long-sleeve Under Armor shirt. Dougherty defended himself, “You guys haven’t given me a Warrior one. You know I always wear long sleeve.” Look for Doc to be in a Warrior shirt for the next game.
Bridgeport Barrage vs. Rochester Rattlers