Baltimore, Maryland - Due to scheduling conflicts the Baltimor Indoor Lacrosse League semifinals and championship game were played back-to-back Tuesday night, presenting a real challenge to each team to win it all. The first semifinal saw Smartlink (8-2 regular season record which includes a forfeit) defeat e-Lacrosse (5-5 record) by a score of 8-4. The 2nd semifinal of the night was a matchup between Pickled Parrot (8-2 record and tied with Smartlink for 1st place) against Dewalt (6-4 record). Pickled Parrot had already won two close games against Dewalt during the regular season. However, the playoff game had a different result, as Dewalt used a fast paced transition game to win 11-8.
Smartlink entered the championship game the heavy favorite having beaten Dewalt in the regular season, and dominating the league over the last three years and winning consecutive championships in each of those years.
Buggs Combs opened the scoring and Smartlink jumped out to a 2-0 lead. But Dewalt's Jason Werner answered with a nice outside shot. Smartlink added another at the buzzer to end the 1st period leading 3-1. Dewalt's offense came out on fire in the 2nd period with goals from Patrick Muston, Kyle Hartzell, Scott Burman, Hunter Lochte (off a nice look from Joe High), and two from Todd MacMullen. Despite forward Joe High missing a point blank shot, at the end of two periods Dewalt lead 6-5 and the momentum had shifted in their favor. Another goal from MacMullen opened the 3rd period to put Dewalt up 7-5. The two teams traded goals the rest of the game, including a goal by Pat Muston after he bulled over a defenseman for a point blank shot. Muston also did an excellent job taking faceoffs for Dewalt. Leading 9-8 Dewalt was able to run out the last two minutes of clock without Smartlink getting a possession or shot. A well played, hard-fought game by Dewalt resulted in one of the biggest upsets in recent league history.
Leading scorers were Combs (3 goals) for Smartlink and MacMullen (3 goals) for Dewalt. MacMullen really pushed the pace on offense for Dewalt. He is one of today's "beasts" of club lacrosse; playing for Dewalt in spring and winter, and Scott Boyle League champion e-Lacrosse in the summer. Both goalies - Adam Miller for Smartlink, and Tim Flanagan for Dewalt - turned away a lot of shots in the game.
Smartlink typically carries fewer players on their roster than their opponents. Due to the overall skill level and conditioning of the players, they have never had a problem keeping up with, or outrunning, opponents with larger rosters. However this lack of depth may have finally caught up to them this night. Smartlink had four subs on the bench, while Dewalt had 8 and Smartlink's Spencer Ford, usually a top scorer, is out with an injury. With two games in one night they lacked the fresh legs in the 2nd and 3rd periods to pressure on defense as much as they probably would have liked to.
November 26, 2008
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