The already prodigious legacy of Casey Powell grew Thursday night in the Bayhawks' 13-12 victory over the Boston Cannons. The former four-time All-American and Major League Lacrosse's second-leading scorer all time had three goals and an assist for the Bayhawks in his first game of the season, but it took just one goal to remind fans of what they've been missing while he's been gone.
With Chesapeake trailing 12-11 with less than 10 seconds to go, Powell raced behind the Cannons net with the ball in his stick. He then twisted around the goal and rifled a wrap-around shot that found the back of the net with five seconds left to force overtime in a wild, back-and-forth affair.
Drew Westervelt scored the game-winner 3:14 into overtime, giving the Bayhawks a win in their first home game in more than a month and improving their record in overtime games to 1-3. It also gives the team a two-game cushion in third place.
After the game, Powell's late-game heroics seemed to be the preferred topic of conversation among his coaches and teammates.
“Just a great play by a great player,” coach Dave Cottle said.
Added rookie long stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt: “He's obviously one of the sport's greatest, and his play today spoke to that. It's exciting to watch. Sometimes you're just in awe of him.”
Bernhardt (Maryland) was worthy of some praise, too. He got the start over veteran Nicky Polanco and he forced a Cannons turnover with 17 seconds to play that set the stage for Powell's tying-goal.
“Everyone's going to talk about Casey's goal, but Jesse Bernhardt gets the turnover at the defense end,” Cottle said. “That gave us a chance.”
Powell got the Bayhawks (7-4) on the board just more than a minute into the second quarter with his 400th career goal. It broke a scoreless spell of 16:05 to begin the game and jump-started a 3-goal run which put Chesapeake ahead 3-1.
But then the Cannons (5-6) went on a run of their own, rattling off five straight goals to take a 6-3 lead into halftime.
Boston scored in a variety ways during that spurt, which proved to set the tone for the rest of the contest. They scored one goal after attackman Paul Rabil gathered a ground ball on the Bayhawks' end of the field and quickly flipped a pass to Mike Stone. As Chesapeake's defense scramble to recover, Stone found Stephen Berger open in front of the net, who rifled a shot past Kip Turner to put the Cannons up 5-3.
Less than a minute later, Stone fired a shot toward Turner that seemed to deflect off a defender's stick and high into the air. It landed right behind Turner for a wacky goal that sent the Cannons into the break with a three-goal advantage.
Cottle credited Powell with helping the Bayhawks recover from those struggles and unlucky bounces.
“I thought he made a difference on the field, but I thought he made more of a difference at halftime,” Cottle said of the attackman. “He remained poised and he kept everybody positive. He showed just as much of the field as he did on the field.”
Chesapeake mounted its own five-goal run coming out of the locker room and regained a two-goal lead.
“I've been through a lot of battles,” Powell said. “You have to play all four quarters and in this case five quarters. It's a run of runs and we held in there.”
Sticking with the game's seesaw theme, Boston scored three straight goals before the end of the third to take a 9-8 lead.
The Bayhawks responded. Trailing 10-9 in the fourth quarter, Powell flicked an over the shoulder pass through the Cannons defense to Ben Rubeor who netted a goal from point-blank range to tie the score.
Rabil came right back with a goal that for a while seemed to be the game-winner. Neither team scored for the next five and a half minutes, when Matt Poskay added some insurance for Boston.
Westervelt scored for Chesapeake with 2:41 to go. Jordan Burke made several key saves for Boston to preserve the lead — until Powell got the ball in his stick with just seconds remaining and got his season off to a dynamic, if belated, start.
“Obviously I haven't played field lacrosse in a year; this was the first run for me, but I'm pretty happy how I played,” Powell said. “I'd say it was a pretty special debut.”