Week 2: Outlaws vs. Lizards Blog
By Derek McLean
It’s a beautiful night in Denver as we get set for the Denver Outlaws and the Long Island Lizards. This is a pivotal game for both teams, who are trying to rebound after week 1 losses. This is the home opener for the Outlaws. Expect there to be a lot of energy from the crowd and players at IVESCO field at Mile High.
There is some bad blood between the two teams. When facing each other last year, Lizards and Outlaws players took on a series of fights and nasty altercations. Says Outlaws attackman Drew Westervelt “Every time we seem to play these guys it gets pretty physical. We can’t get caught up in it. We have to play our own game.” Expect this game to get a little chippy early on. Whether or not the teams can keep their composure, is to be seen.
Last week the Lizards had a total of 10 penalties. Three of them were for unsportsmanlike like conduct. Says Lizards attackman Matt Danowski, “You just can’t do it. They were stupid penalties. There was no need for them.” According to Danowski staying disciplined was a point of emphasis throughout the week.
Outlaws head coach Brian Reese has been suspended for this one because of an altercation he had with a ref last week against the Cannons. Tom Slate will take over as coach tonight. Both teams will look to stay disciplined. But expect some back and forth physical play.
15:00 Vlahakis is taking the draw for the Lizards and wins the face-off. Last week the Lizards struggled with face-offs after they started Greg Gurenlian who won only 8 of 24 face-offs.
14:01 Stephen Berger scores for the Lizards after a feed from Matt Danowski. This is a good sign for Long Island after only scoring 8 goals last week.
13:30 Some good pressure by the Lizards early. After another faceoff win by Vlahakis, Danowski took a shot from across the front of the net which was turned down by Jessie Schwartzman.
12:30 Another good save by Schwartzman on Zach Greer. More heavy pressure by the Lizards.
10:30 Goal by Max Seibald. He had a good game last week scoring 4 goals. Seibald is continuing this streak early on. He is becoming a big part of this Outlaws attack.
Tie game 1-1.
9:29 Another good goal by the Lizards’ Stephen Berger. Long Island’s offense is really clicking, which is due to the fact that they are actually getting the ball.
7:23 Danowski scores after a careless turnover by Seibald. Danowski’s shot was a rocket.
7:00 The Lizards strong start continues. Danowski said the Lizards offense will start clicking when they get more possessions. He wasn’t kidding. A goal by John Glynn gives the Lizards a good early lead.
6:20 Some chippiness and trash talking going on by both teams. We knew this would happen. These teams do not like each other. There will be matching penalties. It started after Eric Barton threw a blatant slash.
5:51 After denying Berger from his third goal, Schwartzman throws the ball away giving the Lizards possession. There has been some real sloppy lacrosse early on by the Outlaws.
3:30 Big save by Drew Adams on Brian Westervelt. Adams is making his second start of his career tonight.
2:20 Outlaws Matt Brown with a shot and another great save by Adams. Good start by the young goalie early on.
1: 45 Casey Cittadino with a nice shot off the stick side, bringing the Outlaws back within 2.
0:45 Danowski’s shot goes off the post and some more pressure by the Lizards. With the help of some won face-offs, good ball movement, good defense, and sloppy play by the Outlaws, the Lizards dominated the first quarter. Jessie Schwartzman made a few good saves to keep the game within 2. The Lizards lead 4-2 after the first.
14:18 Drew Westervelt scores on man up. Penalties killed the Lizards last week and it cost them again now. It’s good to see Westervelt get going for Denver. That is his third goal of the season. It is essential for him to be playing well for Denver to have success.
12:15 Another turnover by Schwartzman off the save. His clearing ability has not been good and it is costing the Outlaws big time.
11:30 Beautiful pass by Westervelt to a wide open Joey Murray. Some miscommunication by the Lizards defense, nobody slid over and the game is
10:40 Brian Langtry with a rocket and a two point goal. Momentum has shifted big time in this one.
8:18 Another shot by Denver this one by Brendan Mundorf who just missed the net. The Lizards are scrambling right now and the Outlaws offense is clicking, as expected. The Lizards need a good offensive possession big time. If they can ever get the ball back, they will probably settle it down a bit and try to get that pressure and momentum back, which we saw in the first quarter.
5:15 The Lizards do just that. Tim Goettelmann gets off a good shot, but it was denied by Schwartzman.
3:45 An aggressive play by Schwartzman stops Goettelmannfrom getting a shot off. The two collided on a wrap around and the Outlaws get the ball back.
2:26 Stephen Berger with another goal from Danowski. Berger made a beautiful cut to the back door and Danowski found him perfectly. The Lizards avoid the second quarter goose egg and stops Denver’s momentum.
2:08 Another face off won by Vlahakis. A big turnaround from last week
1:51 Another goal by Berger!!!! The man is on fire!!! That is his third goal of the game after a beautiful shot from the left side of the net. The game is now
0:02 Cool battle between Brian Spallina and Westervelt, fighting for a loose ball. Stephen Berger ends up receiving a penalty on the play, some how. The Lizards will end up with a man down heading into the half.
Wow, both quarters were bizzarro versions of each other. The Lizards dominated the first 11 minutes of the first before the Outlaws started clicking a little towards the end. The Outlaws dominated much of the second quarter, but the Lizards started clicking again just before they head into the half.
Both teams need play more consistent in the second half. Outlaws coach Tom Slate says at halftime, “We need to value the ball a little better on both ends.” The Outlaws had a lot of careless turnovers in the first half. Those resulted in prolonged Lizards possessions, some of them leading to goals. “We started winning face-offs in the second quarter,” says Slate. “That’s what helped us get goals.” The Lizards outshot the Outlaws 15-8 in the first half. Schwartzman finished with 10 saves, which is a pretty good half by him.
14:25 A great save by Adams. Only the third save of the game by the inexperienced goalie, but the all three of his saves were pretty nice.
12:55 Adams with another save, which went off his chest protector after a point blank shot.
12:01 Nice goal by Seibald. This happened while Adams was screened in front of the net. It was a blast by Seibald, but Long Island has got to do a better job clearing men out in front of the net.
11:15 Mundorf with an underhand shot past Adams. There has been some great pressure by the Outlaws early. So far, this quarter resembles what we saw in the second.
9:27 Goal by Brown!!! There is no stopping the Outlaws, as they are beginning to run away with this one early. The Lizards need a good possession here, to get back in it.
8:33 The Lizards did it. Hofstra University alum Anthony Muscarella with a shot, just inside the 2 pointer, stops the Outlaws momentum a bit. Can the Lizards keep this up?
7:47 The Outlaws respond. Mundorf gets off a shot while being pressured by NickyPolanco.
10- 7 Denver.
7:09 A sick pass from Mundorf to Brown leading to another goal for the Outlaws. This is not looking good for the Lizards.
6:11 Seibald cuts in towards the net and scores another goal for the Outlaws. The Lizards defense looks flat. And this game is getting out of hand.
12- 7 Outlaws.
5:37 The Lizards respond. Goal scored by Chris Fiore. The Lizards still have life.
3:13 Some more pressure by the Outlaws coming off a timeout. Denver got off a few shots. One of them was saved by Adams. The Lizards are scrambling right now. They need a clear big time.
1:10 Tempers flair between Polonco and Mundorf. Polanco hit Mundorf on a shot, than stepped over him while trash talking a bit. Mundorf took exception and things got real. Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for both sides. No man advantage.
0:53 A diving shot by Brown after a nice pass from Seibald, for the goal. Brian Spallina hit Brown on the way down and gets a penalty. The Lizards two best defenders are now in the box. They are starting to loose their composure. The Lizards will be man down heading into the forth quarter.
14:55 Greg Gurenlian wins the draw and right off the bat, drives to the net and scores a goal. That’s why the Lizards keep giving this guy a chance to take face-offs. They call him “The Beast” and he is explosive.
11:45 Pretty save by Adams, off the chest protector, from a shot which was about 5 feet away. He has made a few good saves in this one.
9:25 A bad turnover by the Lizards. Danowski missed a pass, which quite frankly, he should have had.
8:45 Zach Greer finally gets on the board for the Lizards. Greer was one of the most dominant players in college history when he played at Duke with Danowski. The Lizards need Greer to get going and show the fire power he is capable of showing, if the Lizards are to have any chance of success this season.
7:45 Another nice save by Adams, after a tough shot by Will Dalton. The Lizards are still within three. This game ladies and gentleman, is not over.
6:07 Costly penalty for Long Island after Spallina got called for a slash. That is followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct afterwards. Not smart, especially with his team trying to climb back into this one.
5:10 Now Denver goes down a man after Lee Zink gets called for a penalty. Stupid penalties for both teams down the stretch.
4:38 Shot by Stephen Peysergoes off the post. Good opportunity by the Lizards was denied by inches. But still, some decent looks by the Long Island on the man advantage.
1:55 Polanco makes a nice stick check, giving the possession back to the Lizards for a moment. But Denver gets the ball immediately back creating a fresh shot clock and a chance to perhaps put this game out of reach.
0:00 Denver runs out the clock and the game is over.
Denver wins this one 13-10.
The Lizards lost their composure down the stretch and made some stupid and costly penalties. The Outlaws capitalized on the Lizards mistakes, which resulted in dominant stretches.
The Outlaws in general played a good complete game. Says Outlaws temporary head coach Tom Slate, “We started playing like a team.” Denver’s teamwork resulted in nice ball movement and led to relentless pressure. This limited the Lizards attack, which had a pretty good game. Long Island had a good scoring opportunity on almost every possession. But thanks to some prolonged possessions and some beautiful saves by Schwartzman, the Lizards could not muster up enough goals. “10 goals is a good goal to keep them at and they did that,” says Slate.
In general the game was not quite as physical as thought. With the two teams’ history of bad blood, a few more penalties were expected in this one. There were a few scrums, but nothing quite as serious as last year. According to Slate, “The refs did a good job at controlling the physical play.” The refs did call a pretty tight game. There were a few tough calls following the Nicky Polanco scrum. Some of those calls turned out to be critical penalties down the stretch.
One player who had a great game for the Outlaws was Max Seibald, who was named the Bud Light player of the game. Seibald finished with 3 goals and 3 assists, while scoring some timely goals. “I wanted to go out there and play full speed,” he says. “We’re young and we like to run a lot. If it is me who needs to initiate that, than so be it.” The Outlaws used their speed well to chase down ground balls. Denver won the ground ball battle 42-37 which allowed them to control the game down their dominating stretches.
The Lizards need to capitalize on more scoring opportunities. Shots on goal were just about even, the Outlaws with the slight edge 23-22. But the Lizards had some possessions where they had a few really good looks, yet could not take advantage of them.
Defensively, the Lizards broke down at times, following a few quick goals by the Outlaws. These breakdowns prolonged the harsh stretches and prevented Long Island’s offense from doing their work. Denver capitalized on these breakdowns and took a strong hold on the game.