An undermanned, injury-decimated Charlotte Hounds nearly saw themselves get blown out of Memorial Stadium by Major League Lacrosse’s best team.
Instead, the Hounds made things interesting in the fourth quarter, only to see a furious rally fall short Saturday in a 21-16 loss to the undefeated New York Lizards.
Will Haus and Joey Sankey scored three goals each – including their first 2-pointers of the season – and Mike Chanenchuk added two goals for Charlotte (1-6), which lost its fifth straight; however, the Lizards’ firepower was too much to overcome. Rob Pannell and Tommy Palasek had five goals each, Paul Rabil added four goals and two assists, and newcomer Ryan Walsh had three goals for New York (7-0).
That firepower allowed the Lizards to turn what had been a 2-0 deficit in the first five minutes of the first quarter into a 6-3 lead by the end of the period.
New York never trailed after that, but the Hounds did manage to make things interesting in both the second and fourth quarters.
Charlotte fought back from the early deficit to pull within 7-6 on Sankey’s first goal with 7:30 left in the second quarter, and were within 9-7 on Haus’ third goal with 1:33 remaining.
But the Lizards responded with a pair of goals in the final minute of the quarter to go up 11-7 at the halftime break, then added nine unanswered goals over the third quarter – the last by Walsh with 10:48 left – to go up 20-7.
That’s when Charlotte’s offense woke up.
Sankey’s first career 2-pointer kicked off an nine-point run by the Hounds, including two more 2-pointers (by Chanenchuk and Henry Lobb) to pull them within 20-16 with 3:27 remaining. Rabil broke free for his fourth goal of the match with 1:30 left to kill Charlotte’s comeback.
The Hounds were missing three starters – defenders Brett Schmidt (groin) and Michael Erhardt (knee), and attacker Mike Sawyer (foot) – to injuries. … Also scoring for Charlotte were Kevin Cunningham, Jake Tripucka and Terry Kimener. … Lizards’ faceoff specialist Greg Gurenlian went 25 of 35 against the Hounds’ Brendan Fowler.
The Hounds close out a three-game homestand June 5 when they host the Ohio Machine. Game time at Memorial Stadium is 7 p.m.