DENVER –Jeremy Sieverts scored the game-winning goal with just over a minute left as the Denver Outlaws topped the New York Lizards 14-13 Saturday afternoon at the University of Denver’s Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium to earn a trip to the 2014 MLL Championship Game.
Denver will face the Rochester Rattlers in a rematch of the 2008 MLL Championship. In 2008 the Rattlers, then coached by current Denver Head Coach B.J. O’Hara, beat the Outlaws 16-6 at Harvard Stadium in Boston.
The 2014 MLL Championship will be held at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga. next Saturday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. EDT. It will be the Outlaws’ fifth appearance in the game, and a win would be the team’s first MLL Championship Title.
“Phenomenal crowd here today. It’s pretty awesome—an awesome win for Denver, for the Outlaws and for all of us who have worked so hard. It’s just great,” said Jeremy Sieverts after his game-winning goal and the team victory.
For the first time in team history, the Denver Outlaws wore orange jerseys in a game, matching the 2,488 fans—a sellout crowd—that dressed in orange for the Outlaws’ #OrangeOut.
Denver jumped out to a 4-1 lead behind goals from Sieverts, Drew Snider, Chris Bocklet, and Zack Greer. New York scored two quick ones towards the end of the half to cut Denver’s lead to 4-3 after the first quarter of play.
It was back-and-forth action in the second quarter, as the two teams combined for a total of nine goals. Seven different Outlaws scored in the first half, and the teams went to the locker room at halftime all tied up at 8-8.
John Grant Jr. and Chris Bocklet added goals in the third quarter to complete hat tricks on the night, and both the Outlaws and the Lizards netted four third-quarter goals to remain tied after three periods of play.
New York’s Tommy Palasek netted a goal four minutes, 15 seconds in the fourth quarter to give the Lizards a 13-12 lead. Snider answered just one minute, 21 seconds later from just inside the two-point arc, tying it up at 13-13.
Junior found a dodging Sieverts in front of the goal to put the Outlaws up 14-13 with one minute, 16 second left in the game.
“I set a pick away from the ball and kind of curled to the ball,” said Sieverts. “I didn’t think he was going to have any way to get it to me, but John Grant Jr. being John Grant Jr., got it to me.”
After missing the last two games due to injury, Anthony Kelly came up big in the team’s semifinal game, winning final faceoff that allowed the Outlaws to hold the ball and run out the clock to secure their semifinal victory and a trip to the MLL Championship.
Junior finished the night with four goals, three assists and a career postseason-high seven points. It will be Junior’s fifth MLL Championship game, and the MLL veteran has four championship wins on his resume.
Kelly finished the night 8-of-17 (.471) and combined with rookie Brent Hiken to go 14-31(.452) against 2014 FOGO of the Year Greg Gurnelian. Goalie Jesse Schwartzman had 10 saves on the night.