By Stuart Zaas | 5/21/11 9:00 PM
DENVER – The top-two teams from the 2010 MLL regular season renewed their rivalry at Harvard Stadium tonight as the Denver Outlaws (2-0) outlasted the Boston Cannons (1-1) to return home with a 13-12 victory in front of a crowd of 8,317 fans in Boston.
The Outlaws held off a late push from the Cannons, culminating in a save and intercepted pass by goalie Adam Fullerton, who played his final game of the 2011 season before deploying for Afghanistan.
With Denver short six starters due to the World Indoor Lacrosse Games in Prague, new faces earned the opportunity to shine. Bud Light MVP Terry Kimener and Connor Martin both netted hat tricks in their season debuts to pace the Outlaws’ scoring. Steve Giannone and Sean DeLaney each picked up a pair of goals – their first markers of the season – and Justin Bokmeyer added his first career tally.
“We just played well together,” said Kimener. “We moved the ball and had good looks. We shot early and kept it going.”
Matt Poskay gave Boston, which played with four absent starters due to the WIL games, an early 1-0 advantage, but that would be the last Denver heard from him as the defense, sparked by Eric Martin’s season debut and goalie Jesse Schwartzman’s 12 saves (.623 pct.), held the reigning MLL MVP in check the rest of the way.
Denver responded with six unanswered goals, kicked off by Martin who buried Denver’s fifth man-up goal of the season. Giannone scored his first of the season two minutes later to put Denver ahead 2-1.
“We were missing guys, and they were missing guys,” Martin said. “We just took advantage of different matchups. You can’t go out there and play like you’re a rookie and I just go out there and play like I’m still in college.”
Bokmeyer, recently back from a tour of duty in Iraq scored his first career goal at the 10:31 mark to put Denver on top 3-1. Kimener added his first score of the year and the Outlaws led 4-1 after the first quarter.
The Denver run continued with goals from Martin and DeLaney to open the second stanza to open up a 6-1 edge. Pat Heim found the net on a powerplay to trim the Boston deficit to four. Kimener then added his second of the game to push the Outlaws’ lead to 7-2. Ryan Boyle scored before halftime to send the teams into the locker rooms with Denver in front 7-3.
The Cannons made a run in the third quarter, but timely goals from the Outlaws kept Boston from gaining momentum. Martin recorded his second career hat trick – in just three career appearances – with a fadeaway effort at the 4:16 mark in the third quarter. Boyle put in his second goal just 18 seconds later to trim the Denver lead to 8-5.
The scoring flurry continued with Peet Poillon’s first of two goals on the night to push the score to 9-5. Boston responded with consecutive tallies from Max Quinzani and Brad Ross, before Denver found the net with Giannone’s second goal of the night. Heim scored his second late in the period to make the tally 10-8 in favor of Denver heading into the fourth quarter.
Quinzani opened the fourth frame with his third goal of the game, but DeLaney ripped the net two minutes later to keep the Outlaws lead at two goals. The Cannons responded with their longest run of the night, scoring three unanswered to regain the lead for the first time since the game’s first goal. Poillon knotted the game back up at 12-12 with a goal at 12:17 and then Terry Kimener buried his first career game-winner with 1:11 remaining in the contest.
On Military Appreciation Night in Boston, the Outlaws’ coaching staff stuck with their predetermined plan to insert goalie Adam Fullerton into the crease at the start of the fourth quarter. Fullerton made two saves, but more importantly came away with three ground balls, none bigger than one in the closing seconds to intercept a cross-crease pass and seal the 13-12 victory for the Outlaws.
“Adam is going away to (Afghanistan) in a couple weeks for a year to serve his country,” Head Coach Tom Slate said. “(The coaching staff) made that decision. He’s leaving in a couple weeks for a year. This is his last game with us this year and we were happy to get him in there. It was certainly appropriate.”
Denver will return to the East Coast in two weeks when they travel to take on the Long Island Lizards on June 3, at 7 p.m. EDT. The MLL takes its bye week this upcoming weekend due to the Memorial Day holiday.