CHESTER, Pa. -- Living dangerously seems to appeal to the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
For the second game in a row, Chesapeake overcame a fourth-quarter deficit and snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat. On Saturday, the No. 2 seed rallied from an 11-8 hole to edge the No. 3 seed Hamilton Nationals, 13-12, in a Major League Lacrosse semifinal at PPL Park.
In a 16-14 win on Aug. 10 against the Charlotte Hounds – whom the Bayhawks will tangle with Sunday for the title – the reigning league champions scored the final five goals. Against Hamilton, Chesapeake used a 5-1 fourth quarter.
“It was a microcosm of our entire season,” coach Dave Cottle said. “We’ve played in five one-goal games, two two-goal games, and we’re kind of grinding it out all the way through. We got some stops. [Defenseman] Jesse Bernhardt played a great fourth quarter and really helped us. [Attackman] Casey Powell made some big plays at the end. [Midfielder] Mike Kimmel made a play. We kept battling. That’s what we do. It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.”
The Bayhawks enjoyed just three leads – at 2-0 after a 2-point goal by Kimmel (Loyola Blakefield, Johns Hopkins) 4:02 into the first quarter, at 8-7 after a tally from attackman Ben Rubeor (Loyola Blakefield) with 7:57 left in the third period and at 13-12 on Kimmel’s one-timer off a feed from Powell with 1:25 remaining in regulation.
Despite such slim margins of comfort, defenseman Michael Evans said the players didn’t panic.
“I think that’s a tribute to the veterans on the team and the coaching staff,” the South River and Johns Hopkins graduate said. “We’ve been through a lot and we have a great coaching staff, and we find ways to win some one-goal games. We’ve been very fortunate to do so. So it’s worked out.”
While the offense scored five goals in the fourth quarter, the defense solidified and allowed the Nationals to score just once in the final frame.
“I do know that the veteran in us, we didn’t get down at any point in this game,” said goalkeeper Kip Turner, the Severn School product who made a game-high 14 saves. “That’s kind of the mantra of the year. We didn’t play a pretty game today, but we fought.”