Tops seeds meet on Feb. 9 for Boston Box Lacrosse League title
The Blazers and Bullseye both responded to stiff early-game comebacks by powering up the defense, stifling both the offense and the upset hopes of their opponents in advancing to the Boston Box Lacrosse League finals.
In the semi-finals played Feb. 9 at South Shore Sports Center in Hingham, Mass., the Blazers raced to a 4-0 lead and seemed to relax, allowing PrimeTime to turn things around, with Ken Keirstead’s hat trick keying an effort that tied the game at 4 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
From there, however, the Blazers turned up the defense, keeping PrimeTime off the board for the equivalent of a half-game, scoring 7 consecutive goals and then closing out a 15-7 victory.
League-leading scorer Greg Rogowski and Martin Bowes both scored four goals and added two assists for the Blazers, who also got two goals and two helpers from Brandon Dube and Garrett Naimie. Randy Fraser added three points, and goalie Joe Evans made 33 saves.
In the second semi-final, Bullseye raced off to a 7-1 lead in the game’s first 10 minutes, only to see the MegaWhales start a long, steady comeback. Bryan Bendig’s third goal of the first half – finishing a length-of-the-floor feed from goalie Chris Hettler – closed the gap to 9-7 at the half and when Bendig scored the first goal of the second half six minutes into the stanza, it appeared that the MegaWhales could climb all the way out of the hole.
From there, however, Bullseye clamped down on defense, and spread the floor and the scoring on offense to stretch the lead and then choke off the time. When Greg Lally completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal with 25 seconds remaining on the clock, Bullseye had secured a 14-10 win and its ticket to the finals.
Faceoff specialist Joe Nardella earned Legit Player of the Week honors for the second time this season, scooping up 20 loose balls, adding three caused turnovers and consistently generating possessions that slowed the MegaWhales’ momentum. Chris Breiner led the Bullseye offense with four goals and three assists; Bullseye also got Lally’s hat trick, a four-point night from Alex Zomerfeld and two goals each from Ben Smith and Billy Pires. Goalie Chuck Jaffe contributed 28 saves.
Beyond Bendig’s four goals, the MegaWhales got four-point nights from Mike Maggio and Mark Goodrich and 36 saves from goalie Chris Hettler.
Looking ahead to the league finals, the Blazers and Bullseye split their three meetings this season, with the defending-champion Blazers capturing 15-10 and 13-8 wins before Bullseye took a 13-11 victory in their most recent match-up.
The Boston Box Lacrosse League championship will be held at 9 p.m. on Feb. 16 at South Shore Sports Center. The game will be followed by a consolation game between the MegaWhales and Team Legit.
The Boston Box Lacrosse League plays at South Shore Sports Center in Hingham. For stats, standings and more information on the league, go to BostonBoxLax.com. The league posts announcements and commentary on Twitter and can be followed @BostonBoxLax.
Legit Player of the Week honors go to the individual whose all-around contributions had the most significant impact to his team’s performance. Legit Lacrosse operates lacrosse superstores in Mashpee Commons and Hanover, Mass., with everything a player could possibly need to make his or her game legit, including a full selection of box equipment. For more information, go to legitlacrosse.com; on Twitter @LegitLacrosse.
South Shore Sports Center is located at 55 Recreation Park Drive in Hingham; fans and friends can watch games from the arena seating or at the Skybox Lounge, where food and drinks are served. Information is available at southshoresportscenter.com.