5/30/10 7:48 AM
By Josiah Kaan
Denver- In a rematch of the 2009 Major League Lacrosse championship game, theDenver Outlaws extracted a small amount of revenge in a 15-12 regular season victory over the Toronto Nationals in front of 6,123 lacrosse fans. Denver Attacker Drew Westervelt stole the show, earning the Bud Light MVP off a five-goal (one two-pointer) performance. Midfielder Dan Hardy chipped in a hat trick and an assist for the Outlaws, while Toronto Midfielder Brett Bucktooth contributed four goals in a losing effort.
“I thought our defense played really good,” Acting Head Coach Tom Slate, filling in for the absent Brian Reese, said. “We cleared the ball well, which, again, gave our offense more possessions and we got more goals.”
Despite controlling the opening face-off, the Outlaws fell behind early as Bucktooth scored the game opening goal before Denver Attacker Matt Brown tied the game shortly after. Westervelt gave Denver their first lead of the game, after which a seven minute defensive battle lasted the remaining of the quarter to end a low-scoring first quarter with Denver in the lead, 2-1.
Bucktooth kicked off the second-quarter scoring with a goal one-and-a-half minutes into the quarter, and secured a first-half hat trick off a goal assisted by Toronto Attacker John Grant Jr. Hardy put up his first goal of the season to tie the game at three, before Westervelt scored a power-play goal to give Denver the lead. Hardy found the back of the net minutes later, which he followed up with a hat-trick goal a minute later.
Nationals’ Midfielder Shawn Williams halted the Outlaws’ offensive assault with his first goal of the game. The bleeding began again for Toronto as Midfielder Steve Giannonemade his presence felt scoring his sole goal of the game, and ending the half with a score of 7-4.
“Will Dalton did a great job for us tonight,” Slate said. “He obviously starts our offense and gives us more possessions.”
Brown started the second-half scoring off with a power-play goal before Westervelt and Attacker Brendan Mundorf brought the score to 10-4. Williams found the back of the net for the second time of the game, which Grant Jr. followed up with his first goal of the match-up. Mundorf created some instant offense, finding Midfielder Brian Langtry for his first and only goal of the game, which Nationals’ Midfielder Geoff Snider answered with his first goal in the Mile High City of the 2010 season.
Westervelt earned his first hat-trick of the season as Defender Matt Bocklet assisted, but Bucktooth hit a two-point goal to end the Outlaws’ scoring run twelve minutes into the quarter. With two second left in the third quarter, Toronto Attacker Kevin Huntley cut the Denver lead to five, bringing the score to 13-10 after three quarters.
Mundorf blasted a shot past Nationals’ Goalie Brett Queener 39 seconds into the fourth quarter, which was followed two minutes later by Westervelt’s fifth goal of the contest. Grant Jr. made his presence felt again with his second goal of the game six-and-a-half minutes in the quarter but the Denver defense clamped down to shut out Toronto for the remainder of the game, bringing the final score to 15-12.
Denver Goalie Jesse Schwartzman recorded 15 saves off 25 shots, while his Toronto counterpart Queener stopped 11 shots.
Denver kicks off a four-game road trip June 5, 2010, in Long Island as they take on the Lizards for the second time in three weeks. For a complete recap of tonight's action, click here.