By Steve Coulter | 7/3/11 11:59 PM
DENVER -- The Denver Outlaws set a professional lacrosse attendance record on Sunday night as 27,184 people came to INVESCO Field at Mile High to see the annual fireworks game, shattering the previous record of 23,433 set on July 4, 2010.
Despite the rabid crowd, the Outlaws fell 15-12 to the Boston Cannons, dropping their second home game this season and falling to 4-2 all time on fireworks games.
The Cannons (6-1) now sit atop of the MLL standings going into All-Star weekend, edging the Outlaws (5-2), who were tied in first place entering the game.
Boston finished the game on an 8-1 run, evening the season series with Denver and winning its fifth consecutive game. The Outlaws handed the Cannons their only loss of the season on May 21, when they walked away with a 13-12 victory in Boston.
“I think we self-destructed in the fourth quarter,” Head Coach Tom Slate said. “Boston got the better of us tonight, but we’ve got to keep pushing forward.”
In the first half, Denver erased an early 3-0 deficit, using a 7-0 run to go ahead four goals going into halftime.
Boston responded in the second half, recording two early goals in the third quarter to make it 7-5.
Max Seibald halted Boston’s momentum when he scored his second two-point goal of the game with 11:25 to play in the third quarter, his third two-point goal in two games.
Moments later, Bill McGlone scored his second unassisted goal of the evening as the Outlaws took their biggest lead of the night, midway through the third quarter.
The Cannons again went on a two-goal run as Brian Farrell and Matthew Smalley each added a goal, cutting the lead to 10-7.
After a Denver goal, Boston’s Paul Rabil scored his own two-point goal when he whipped the ball past his former Johns Hopkins teammate Jesse Schwartzman to make the contest 11-9 with one quarter remaining.
Early in the fourth quarter, Boston’s Max Quinzani scored off of a rebounded shot, trimming the lead to one. Seconds later, Quinzani evened the score with a power-play goal thanks to a nice assist from Ryan Boyle.
Rabil continued his big night, scoring for the third time in the contest and putting the Cannons up 12-11 with under ten minutes to play. He finished with six points on four goals and two assists and was named player of the game.
Boston’s Brad Ross recorded his second goal of the night, completing a 6-0 run that put the Cannons up 13-11 with six minutes to play.
McGlone completed his hat trick, scoring seconds after Ross to cut the lead to 13-12. Ross completed his own hat trick with 2:41 remaining, putting Boston up 14-12.
With exactly two minutes left to play, Boston’s Matt Poskay added his second goal to give the Cannons a three-goal lead that they would not relinquish.
Ross, Poskay and Quinzani played crucial roles in the win; however, it was Rabil’s night as he started the scoring early on when he notched his 16th goal of the season only 62 seconds into the contest.
The Cannons jumped ahead 2-0 when Ross squeezed a goal past Schwartzman with more than 10 minutes to play in the first quarter and continued to throttle the Denver defense when Ryan Boyle found Kevin Buchanan nine minutes later to put Boston ahead 3-0.
Denver struggled offensively too in the first quarter, committing several costly errors and forcing too many shots on Boston goalie Jordan Burke. Peet Poillon saved the Outlaws from being shut out when he triple pump-faked Burke to score his 13th goal of the season.
The late first quarter goal from Poillon changed the momentum of the game and proved to be the play of the game, propelling the Outlaws comeback.
He would go on to score his second unassisted goal less than two minutes into the second quarter. Bill McGlone tied the contest at 3-3 when he scored 25 seconds after Poillon.
Jarrett Park helped the Outlaws take the lead when he scored five minutes later on an assist from Kevin Unterstein.
Connor Martin made the highlight of the night, beating J.J. Morrissey to the goal and scoring on a beautiful trick shot behind the head to put Denver up 5-3 with two minutes until halftime.
Before the intermission, the Outlaws made the Cannons pay for an illegal hit on Eric Martin, when Seibald scored his first two-point on a power play goal off an assist from Drew Westervelt, which put Denver up 7-3 going into halftime.
Martin did not return in the contest.
The Outlaws are off next weekend as the 2011 MLL All-Star Game will be held in Boston’s Harvard Stadium next Saturday. Seven Outlaws were named to the roster, which was tied for third in the league. The members of the Outlaws heading east next week include, Mundorf, Schwartzman, Eric Martin, Lee Zink, Westervelt, Seibald and Poillon.
The record attendance helps boost Denver’s already league-leading average from 10,894 to 14,967 in four home games this season, creating a home field advantage like no other in the league. Unfortunately, the Cannons know how to handle the big July crowds in Denver, as they are the only team to defeat the Outlaws in their annual July 4th game. In 2009, the Cannons walked away with a 17-16 win at Denver.
The rubber match of this season’s series will be played on July 30 when the Cannons come to Denver once again.
Before the crucial rematch against the Cannons, the Outlaws will play two straight games against the struggling Rochester Rattlers.