Danowski totals seven points, but Bayhawks fall to Rattlers, 14-13


Danowski totals seven points, but Bayhawks fall to Rattlers, 14-13

BROCKPORT, NEW YORK- Attackman Matt Danowski amassed a season-high seven points, but it wasn't enough as the Chesapeake Bayhawks dropped a heartbreaker, 14-13 to the Rochester Rattlers on Sunday afternoon at Eunice Kennedy Shriver Stadium on the campus of SUNY-Brockport.

Danowski was at his dodging and playmaking best in scoring four goals and dishing off three assists for Chesapeake, which was beaten despite outshooting Rochester (42-40) and winning the ground ball battle (34-33). Goalkeeper Tyler Fiorito was his usual stout self with 16 saves, including nine in the second half to help the Bayhawks maintain contact.


"It's a tough loss. We played well at times, we showed a lot of heart by coming back from being down 13-9 in the fourth quarter, but we just don't play smart enough and consistently enough to win these close games," Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle said.


This contest had critical postseason implications as the Bayhawks and Rattlers were among five teams bunched in the standings behind first place New York (10-2). Rochester (7-5) gained an inside track on one of four playoff berths by sweeping the season series with Chesapeake (5-7), which fell into a tie for fifth place with Denver.


Attackman Ben Rubeor totaled two goals and an assist while midfielder Kevin Crowley contributed a couple assists for the Bayhawks, who must win their final two games in order to remain in playoff contention. Chesapeake could potentially finish with the same record as Ohio and Boston and would have split with those teams, necessitating secondary tiebreaker scenarios.


"We play Boston on Thursday and we have to win that game. That's where we go from here. We cannot think about anything other than winning at home on Thursday night," Cottle said.


Abbott scored off a feed from Crowley then assisted Walters for a shot from the doorstep as Chesapeake took an early 2-1 lead. The Rattlers went on a 3-0 run before Walters stuck a crank shot on a power play to bring the Bayhawks within one at 4-3 after one period.


Rochester outscored the visitors 3-1 to open the second stanza, but Chesapeake closed the quarter with consecutive goals to head into halftime trailing 7-6. Defenseman Jesse Bernhardt went coast-to-coast for an unassisted tally while Walters canned another sidearm crank shot with just seven seconds left as the Bayhawks carried momentum into intermission.


Chesapeake continued to carry the play at the start of the second half with Danowski dodging past defenseman John Lade and using a quick release while on the run to singe the top corner of the cage. Danowski then made a great look to Rubeor, who had slipped behind the defense on the crease and easily finished a one-on-one opportunity.


That completed a 4-0 run to bookend halftime and gave Chesapeake its second lead of the game, 8-7 with 4:16 elapsed in the third period. Rubeor answered a Rochester goal by quick-sticking a Drew Westervelt pass into the back of the net to make it 9-8. However, the Rattlers sandwiched goals around a more than eight-minute scoreless stretch to take a 10-9 lead into the final frame.


Rochester then opened the fourth period with three straight goals to take its largest lead of the game, 13-9 with just over 10 minutes remaining. Walters ended the Rattlers' 5-0 run and snapped a more than 15-minute drought by the Bayhawks, using a pick behind by Crowley behind the cage to gain separation then turning the corner for an unassisted goal.


That seemed to reenergize the Bayhawks, who went on a 4-0 run to tie the contest at 13. Short stick defensive midfielder Patrick Harbeson came up big by scoring off an overhand crank shot during an unsettled situation while Danowski was credited with a goal after a pass inside deflected off a defenseman's stick and got past Galloway.


Danowski then blew past Lade from behind and fired a sidearm wraparound shot past the hip of Galloway to deadlock the score for the fifth time with 4:20 to play. However, it was Rochester that got the game-winner with attackman Kevin Rice getting open out front for his third goal of the game. Midfielder John Ranagan set up the go-ahead goal by beating a short stick defender on a sweep and forcing Bernhardt to slide off Rice.


Rochester committed a violation on the ensuing faceoff, giving Chesapeake one final possession with just over a minute to go. Midfielder Matt Abbott was trying to get the ball behind to Danowski, but he was shut off. Abbott was forced to carry the ball for most of the shot clock and was forced to go to the goal himself. Abbott got inside, but was sandwiched by two defenders and lost the ball with 31 seconds left. 

"We have to keep working on playing winning lacrosse," Cottle said. "I thought a bunch of guys really competed today, but there were too many instance in which we were not communicating with each other and not working together. Bottom line, we just made too many dumb mistakes to win a one-goal game."


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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.


A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.


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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.