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MLL: Charlotte Hounds’ comeback in Denver falls short

A late-game comeback from the Charlotte Hounds fell short Friday night as the Denver Outlaws came away with a 13-11 victory and remained undefeated in 2014. The Hounds dropped to 1-4.

Rookie Justin Ward led the Hounds with four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in his MLL debut.

The Hounds opened the scoring when Ward dished to John Haus, who was able to dump it past Jesse Schwartzman for a 1-0 lead just 2:34 into the game. But the Outlaws forced a turnover and Michael Simon buried a shot to tie the game two minutes later. It was the start of a five-goal run for the Outlaws.

Mike Sawyer finally stopped the bleeding, picking up the rebound of his own shot to score his first of the night with less than a minute remaining in the quarter. But with five seconds to go, Eric Law buried his second of the game to close the quarter with the Outlaws up 6-2.

The Hounds struck first in the second as well when Sawyer cut the Outlaws’ lead to three. The Hounds’ Thomas DeNapoli slammed home a shot on the run to make it a 6-4 game. The Outlaws snuck in one goal before the Hounds rattled off two more, including Ward’s first MLL goal and Haus’ second of the night to make it a one-goal game with 4:29 to play in the half. But the momentum didn’t last long, as Grant Jr. and Law each completed a hat trick to put the Outlaws ahead 9-6 at the half.

Things kept clicking for the Outlaws, as Cameron Flint scored just 50 seconds out of the break to push the lead to four. However, it would be their only goal of the quarter thanks to a superb effort by Adam Ghitelman. The third-year goalie had four incredible saves in the quarter, and thanks to a 2-point goal coming out of transition by long-stick defender Brett Schmidt, the Hounds pulled within one heading into the final quarter.

Matt Danowski ripped a 2-pointer to put the Hounds in front 11-10 in the fourth, but the Outlaws tied it less than 30 seconds later with a transition goal from Matt Bocklet. The game then started to slip away from the Hounds. Ryan Flanagan was hit with a slashing call that lead to the go-ahead power-play goal from Chris Bocklet. Then Grant Jr. scored his fourth of the night to seal a 13-11 victory for the Outlaws.

The teams don’t have to wait long for a rematch, as the Outlaws will travel to Charlotte June 7 for a 7:30 game.

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