CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Lacrosse is a game of runs and the Hounds proved it tonight, using a seven-point run to extinguish the Atlanta Blaze, 19-13.
“We were running the field great tonight,” Michael Ehrhardt said. “Our defensive midfielders were getting the ball out of the defensive end. All the short sticks did great running the field. We were in the right spots and able to finish.”
After trailing 6-4 in the second quarter and breaking out of an offensive lull, the Hounds’ scored six unanswered goals to finish the half. Matt Rambo linked up with Mike Chanenchuk to start the streak before Will Haus tied the game, 6-6, 20 seconds later.
The momentum fueled Charlotte’s offense, which continued to prove why it’s the top-ranked unit in the league. Ryan Brown, Rambo and Ehrhardt each grabbed two goals apiece before the end of the half to give Charlotte a lead they’d ultimately refuse to relinquish.
Moving into the second half, the Hounds’ offense continued to find open looks. With the help of a faceoff win from Joe McCallion, who finished 4-of-6 from the X, John Haus gave Charlotte a five goal advantage within a minute into the third quarter.
The Blaze would outscore the Hounds in the third quarter, but a six goal fourth helped Charlotte cruise to its sixth victory of the season and reclaim a spot atop the league standings.
Stars of the game:
Michael Ehrhardt (Charlotte): Led the Hounds with a team-high five points on three goals and one assist. Two-point goals are often deflating for a defense, and Ehrhardt’s snipe in the firsy quarter helped the Hound’s dig out of an early deficit.
Charlie Cipriano (Charlotte): After finishing the game on the sideline last week, Cipriano bounced back against the Blaze. The goalie totaled 18 saves on 31 shots, including eight stops in the fourth quarter to close out the win.
Kevin Rice (Atlanta): Finished with a game-high eight points on four goals and four assists. Rice’s 34 points trail just Rob Pannell and Jordan Wolf for the most in the league midway through the season.
Noah Rak, who started his first career game at faceoff, finished 12-of-29 from the X against the Blaze’s Joe Nardella.
Brown’s game-high four goals elevates his season total to 17, which ties Rambo for the team lead.
The Hounds’ 19 points marks the second-highest tally this season behind the record-setting 25-point outing in the season opener against the Boston Cannons.
With the win, Charlotte improves to 4-1 against the Blaze in the all-time series.
What they said
Ehrhardt on the Hounds’ sixth win:
“It was a great team win. Tough week for me, I was sick all week and out of work. I was able to gut this one out and it was a great team effort all around. Joe McCallion stepped up at faceoff and we had some great play by a lot of our guys.”
Head coach Jim Stagnitta on where the Hounds can improve:
“There’s some situational awareness stuff. Understanding the time on the clock, the time in the game, when we need a longer possession versus a shorter possession. We just need a little more consistency in some of that stuff. A lot of that is my fault. I need to be on top of it and more demanding. Again, we need to get some consistency in our lineup. We’ve had a pretty good core, but I think once we get more consistent with the lineup down the stretch I expect we’ll only get better.”