Backup goaltender Mike Gabel put forth one of the finest performances of his seven-year professional career to anchor a strong defensive effort as the Rochester Rattlers knocked the Chesapeake Bayhawks from the unbeaten ranks with a 12-8 victory in front of an announced 7,853 on Saturday night at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Gabel, a backup appearing in just his fourth game for Rochester, recorded 27 saves to stymie a Chesapeake offense that scored 23 goals against the Ohio Machine the previous Saturday night. The Bayhawks unleashed 54 shots, but 21 were not on goal while many others were right at Gabel.
"I thought the goalie beat us. He was outstanding. He was the best player on the field tonight and was definitely the difference," Chesapeake coach Dave Cottle said.
Adam Rand dominated the faceoffs for Chesapeake (2-1), winning 16 of 20. However, the offense wasn't able to take advantage of that possession advantage and was held eight goals below its season average.
"Obviously, we struggled to score goals tonight. Gabel played great so nothing came easy," Chesapeake attackman Drew Westervelt said. "We were off kilter for some reason. We got a lot of opportunities and just could not capitalize. The defense played well tonight, but the offensive never got going."
Midfielder Steven Brooks scored two goals, one of which was a 2-pointer, to lead Chesapeake. Rand and attackman Ben Rubeor both contributed a goal and an assist for the Bayhawks, who hurt themselves by committing a considerable number of turnovers.
"We played from behind and maybe we pressed a little bit. We certainly should score more than eight goals," Cottle said. "I thought we picked it up and played much better on offense in the second half."
Chesapeake was without two starting close defensemen as Michael Evans and Barney Ehrmann were both unavailable because of illness. Defensive coordinator Tony Resch was forced to move long-stick midfielders Dan Hostetler and Bray Malphrus down to the close unit and replace them with Jake Deane and Tim Kaiser.
"We got off to a slow start defensively. We had a tough matchup with Crotty and he put us back on our heels early on," Cottle said.
Joey Kemp started in goal and made seven saves for Chesapeake. Kip Turner, acquired through the supplemental draft during the offseason, made his Bayhawks debut in the second half and stopped four shots.
Attackman Ned Crotty, who did not play in Rochester's 15-3 season-opening loss to the Boston Cannons, scored three goals to lead the offense. Midfielder Matt Striebel scored two goals, one of which was a 2-pointer. Short-stick defensive midfielder Steve DeNapoli, a former Bayhawk, scored two goals in transition for the Rattlers (1-1).
Rochester took its largest lead at 10-4 on a 2-point goal by midfielder Tom Montelli with 6:25 elapsed in the third quarter. However, the Bayhawks battled back and got within 11-8 on a 2-pointer by midfielder Kyle Dixon with 5:41 left in the game.
Chesapeake could get no closer and rookie Roy Lang scored his first career goal with one minute remaining to seal the victory for Rochester.
The Bayhawks return home on June 9 to battle the Charlotte Hounds.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun