The wake-up call was supposed to have come last week when the Bayhawks lost to the Boston Cannons for the first time in franchise history.
But apparently, the setback, which ended the Bayhawks' five-game winning streak, didn't give the reigning Major League Lacrosse champions enough of a jolt.
Playing host to a winless opponent last night, the Bayhawks got plenty of offense but not nearly enough defense as they lost, 22-17, to the Bridgeport Barrage in a wild game before 3,265 at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field.
The 22 goals were the most the Bayhawks had allowed this season and the total came against a Barrage team that was averaging just over 13 goals a game.
"You always are going to be concerned," said Bayhawks player/coach Gary Gait, whose team lost, 11-10, to the Cannons on July 12 and is now 5-3 this season. "That's two home games we gave away by not playing well both offensively and defensively. We need to get hungrier and to start working together toward the common goal. ... I just don't know that we had a sense of urgency out there."
Attackman B.J. Prager led Bridgeport (1-6) with five goals, all assisted by former Bayhawk Dan Denihan, who finished with two goals and six assists. Keith Cromwell added four goals, including two two-pointers, and Doug Shanahan finished with three goals.
"I think we just moved the ball well on offense," said Prager, a second-year player out of Princeton. "It was a nice difference from the rest of the season. It's been a tough season, but we feel the momentum building."
The Bayhawks got four goals from Tom Marechek and three goals and two assists each from Gait and Josh Sims. One of Sims' goals was a two-point tally.
MLL leading scorer Mark Millon added a goal and four assists, but he was played brilliantly by Bridgeport defender Nicky Polanco, who called Millon the best player he has ever played against.
Sims' second goal, off a look from Gait, was part of a six-goal Bayhawks run, spanning the first and second quarters, that gave them a 9-6 lead.
The lead was 12-9 when Paul Cantabene whipped a behind-the-head shot past rookie goalie Matt Hunter with 6:18 left in the second period.
But the Barrage, specifically the duo of Denihan and Prager, proved resilient. Working behind the net, Denihan, the former Johns Hopkins standout, fed Prager on the crease for two straight goals, cutting the home team's lead to 9-8.
The pair hooked up twice more in the back-and-forth first half, which ended in a 13-all tie, and again early in the third quarter. Prager's fifth goal at the 8:38 mark of the third period gave the Barrage a 15-13 lead.
Shanahan gave Bridgeport some breathing room, beating lunging Bayhawks goalie Greg Cattrano off the dodge for a 20-17 lead. Cromwell thwarted any hopes of a Bayhawks comeback by stealing a Shawn Nadelen clearing attempt and putting the ball in the empty net for a 21-17 game in the waning minutes.
"We had the same little rut at the same time last year," said Cattrano, who made 25 saves. "We have four games left. We'll pick it up and get it going for New Jersey next week."
Bridgeport 6 7 5 4 - 22
Bayhawks 5 8 3 1 - 17
Goals: BP-Prager 5, Shanahan 3, Cromwell 2, Denihan 2, Striebel 2, Springer 2, Miller, Morley; BH-Marechek 4, Gait 3, Sims 2, Millon, Cantabene, Frye, Combs. Two-point goals: BP-Cromwell 2; BH-Sims, Sonke. Assists: BP-Denihan 6, Cromwell 2, Shanahan, Miller; BH-Millon 4, Cantabene 2, Gait 2, Marechek 2, Blatchley 2, Sims 2. Saves: BP-Hunter 16; BH-Cattrano 25.