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Florida Launch holds off Charlotte Hounds in overtime

Charlotte Hounds’ Ryan Flanagan, left, battles Florida Launch’s PT Ricci for a ground ball during their game at American Legion Memorial Stadium on Saturday in Charlotte.
Charlotte Hounds’ Ryan Flanagan, left, battles Florida Launch’s PT Ricci for a ground ball during their game at American Legion Memorial Stadium on Saturday in Charlotte. Getty Images

The momentum appeared to have swung the Charlotte Hounds’ way late in Saturday’s Major League Lacrosse game against the Florida Launch.

Lyle Thompson made sure it didn’t stay there.

Thompson scored the game-winning goal in sudden-death overtime to give the Launch a 17-16 victory over the Hounds in their MLL home finale at Memorial Stadium.

Thompson’s sixth goal of the game, coming on a power play with 8 minutes, 26 seconds remaining, gave Florida (4-8) its third straight win and dropped Charlotte (3-9) to the bottom of the MLL standings with two games remaining.

“It’s hard to end the game like that and not see the ball,” Hounds coach Mike Cerino said. “We were lucky to have some life and take it into overtime … but (the Launch) are a tough group to play man-up against.”

Unlike last week’s 19-9 loss to Florida, Charlotte stuck with the Launch this time around. The two teams swapped the lead four times and tied the score 10 others in regulation.

The final tie – the one that sent the game into overtime – came with just seconds remaining.

Up 16-15, Florida had possession after a Hounds turnover, but was whistled for a dead-ball penalty with 21.6 seconds left. That put possession back with Charlotte, and Michael Ehrhardt charged from midfield to score with 9.3 seconds left.

“I was hoping to get it into an offensive guy’s stick, but no one was open,” Ehrhardt said. “So when I got to the (goal), I just decided to take it. It wasn’t scripted like that, but it worked out.”

The Launch won the faceoff to open overtime, but caught a break when Charlotte defender Ryan Flanagan was called for holding, giving Florida the power play opportunity. Ten seconds later, a screen broke Thompson free, and he whistled the game-winner past Hounds goalkeeper Pierce Bassett from inside the 2-point line.

Worth mentioning

Mike Sawyer scored a career-high five goals for the Hounds, with four others – Jake Tripucka, Terry Kimener, John Haus and Kevin Cunningham – scoring two goals each. Mike Chanenchuk and Joey Sankey had one goal each. … In six games, Thompson has scored 17 goals, 13 coming against Charlotte. … Miles Thompson, Lyle’s older brother, added five goals for the Launch.

What’s next?

The Hounds travel to Brockport, N.Y., to face the Rochester Rattlers on Friday night. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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