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Hounds Drop Home Finale To Lizards By One Goal

March 19, 2016
The Charlotte Hounds on a rainy Friday night dropped their home finale 12-11 to the New York Lizards. It marked the Hounds’ fourth-straight loss and dropped them to 4-9 on the season. The Lizards move to 8-5 and remain in the hunt to host an MLL playoff game. Attack Rob Pannell was named Coca-Cola Player of the Game following a four-point performance (3g, 1a). Meanwhile, the Hounds were led by Matt Danowski, who also had three goals and one assist on the evening.

The Lizards opened the scoring, as rookie Joe Fletcher tallied his first MLL goal just two minutes into the game, but the rest of the first quarter was all Hounds. John Haus got the run started with an unassisted goal, which was followed by back-to-back tallies from Mike Sawyer. The attackman’s second goal came off an incredible feed by Danowski, who was able to squeeze the ball between two defenders. Justin Ward then found Danowski on the doorstep, and the Hounds went up 4-1. Hounds goalie Pierce Bassett made his seventh save of the night as time ran out in the first.

It was the Lizards who scored first again in the second quarter, as Pannell shot from just outside the crease to pull within two, 4-2. The next 8:20 of the game went scoreless, as both teams committed multiple turnovers due to the slippery conditions. Tommy Palasek ended the drought off a pass from Michael Kimmel to make it a one-goal game. The Hounds tallied the next two, but Lizards long pole Kyle Hartzell ripped a 2-point shot after Greg Gurenlian won the ensuing faceoff to pull the visitors back within one, 6-5. Ned Crotty was able to sneak one more shot in with three seconds left on the clock to put the Lizards ahead 7-6 going into halftime.

Just over a minute into the start of the third, Sawyer was charging toward the cage to shoot when he was body checked by John Austin, drawing a penalty. As soon as the power play began, Danowski scored the equalizer. Jake Tripucka put the Hounds back in front with a shot from just inside the arc. JoJo Marasco and Danowski traded goals before Palasek snuck a low angle shot in as time expired in the third quarter to make it a tied game with one quarter to go.

Early in the fourth quarter, Ryan Young tallied what would have been the go-ahead goal for the Hounds, but the Lizards challenged the ruling, noting the ball bounced off goalie Drew Adams and into the net. The officials waived the goal off, keeping the game tied at 9. The first goal of the quarter didn’t come until 10:19, as Pannell notched back-to-back tallies to move the Lizards in front 11-9. Less than a minute later Kimmel scored, pushing the Lizards lead to three with less than three minutes to play. Sensing the urgency, Mason Poli scooped the groundball off the ensuing faceoff and ripped a 2-point goal to make it 12-11 with 2:17 remaining in the game. The Hounds got two more possessions, but couldn’t come up with the goal, losing their fourth straight game of the season.

Despite the loss there were some bright moments for the Hounds, as Ward tallied three assists in the game, bringing his season total to 20. The Hounds’ previous single-season high for assists was 19, tallied by Danowski in 2012. In addition, Bassett finished the game with a personal best of 20 saves, tying the Hounds’ single-game high set by Adam Ghitelman in 2012.

All MLL regular season games will conclude next weekend, when the Hounds will travel to Annapolis, Md., to face the Chesapeake Bayhawks (4-9). The game will be played at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, with faceoff scheduled for 7:00pm ET. Both the Hounds and Bayhawks have been eliminated from postseason contention after meeting in the 2013 MLL Championship Game. The Bayhawks are coming off an 18-16 loss to the Denver Outlaws (9-4) on Thursday night.

See the complete box score for this game.