|ANNAPOLIS, MD - Veteran midfielders Kyle Dixon and Steven Brooks led the way as the Chesapeake Bayhawks earned a huge road victory, beating the Denver Outlaws 18-16 on Saturday night at Sports Authority Field.|
Dixon fired in a pair of 2-point goals in totaling seven points while Brooks scored the game-tying and winning goals in totaling five points for Chesapeake, which improved its record to 4-1 and moved into a first place tie with Boston.
"This was a real character win and I'm very proud of our players," Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle said. "Hopefully, a big road win like this will make our team tighter."
Chesapeake trailed 15-13 and had been shut out for the entire fourth quarter when Brooks cleared the ball across midfield, stopped just outside the 2-point arc and rifled a rocket shot past Denver goalie Jesse Schwartzman to tie the score with 5:49 remaining in the game.
"That was a huge swing for us and definitely built momentum for the stretch run," Brooks said of the clutch 2-pointer.
Short stick defensive midfielder John Orsen then gave Chesapeake the lead when he finished a fast break with a left-handed crank shot from just inside the 2-point arc. It was Orsen's first goal of the season and gave the Bayhawks a 16-15 lead with 2:54 to go.
Denver won the ensuing face-off and head coach Jim Stagnitta called timeout to set up a play that worked to perfection with rookie Mark Matthews finding fellow attackman Jordan McBride open on the doorstep for a quick-stick goal that tied the game at 16.
Brooks answered just 34 seconds later with a phenomenal goal that would prove the game-winner. The fifth-year professional out of Syracuse dodged down the left alley and stunned Schwartzman with an amazing wraparound shot that gave the visitors a 17-16 lead with 2:20 left.
"I just kind of winged that one. I came down on a low angle and knew I couldn't get it past Jesse with a regular shot because he plays that pipe so tight," Brooks said. "My only option was to go behind-the-back and I was lucky it went int."
Chesapeake won the ensuing face-off and attackman Ben Rubeor took a feed from Dixon and fired in an insurance goal that sealed the gutsy win. Rubeor finished with two goals and extended his scoring streak to 21 games as the Bayhawks improved to 3-0 on the road this season.
Denver, led by All-Star attackman Brendan Mundorf, came out on fire and built a commanding 8-3 lead after one quarter. Mundorf had a goal and two assists while Matthews, a left-hander out of the University of Denver who was making his pro debut, scored two goals during the onslaught.
However, the Bayhawks refused to fold and outscored the Outlaws 6-1 to start the second quarter. Dixon unleashed his second 2-pointer and scored another goal while rookies Brent Adams (Fairfield) and Matt Mackrides (Penn State) netted their first career goals during the rally.
Midfielder Michael Kimmel scored unassisted to complete the comeback and tie the score at nine with just over six minutes elapsed in the second period. It was a slugfest the rest of the way with neither team leading by more than two goals over the final 2 ½ quarters.
"We dug deep and didn't quit. This is the kind of win that really builds character and team camaraderie," Brooks said.
Attackman Drew Westervelt returned to the city where he played for five seasons and contributed a goal and two assists. After allowing eight goals and making just three saves in the first quarter, goalie Kip Turner regrouped and finished with 10 stops for the Bayhawks.