Blazers Defend Title with 12-10 Win Over Bullseye

Goalie Joe Evans’ 39 saves earn ‘Legit Player of the Game’ honors

League-leading goalie Joe Evans stopped 39 shots and the Blazers used their most balanced attack of the year to hold off a never-say-die Bullseye squad and capture the 2015-16 Boston Box Lacrosse League championship 12-10 at South Shore Sports Center in Hingham.

The game stayed scoreless for seven minutes and was tied at 2 with 8 minutes remaining in the first half when the Blazers went on a four-goal run highlighted by Garrett Naimie finishing a length-of-the-floor feed from Evans to make the score 6-2. After Bullseye answered with a score, the Blazers scored twice in the final 37 seconds of the half, first on a goal by Greg Melaugh that ripped through the netting of Bullseye goalie Chuck Jaffe, and then when Zack Taylor scored on an empty net as Bullseye botched an extra-man play as the half was expiring.

The Blazers extended their lead to 9-3 early in the second half, but then Bullseye mounted its own run, scoring twice in 20 seconds as Beau Woods netted an outside shot and Joe Nardella followed with a face-off win and a dash to paydirt. When Woods scored again and Chris Breiner followed with a score a minute later, the gap had been closed to 9-7.

Throughout the game, the Blazers offense had to work to make the extra pass against an aggressive Bullseye defense that did a good job holding down the champions’ top scorers. The Blazers have five of the top nine point-scorers in the league, but Greg Rogowski – the BBLL’s top point-getter – and Marty Bowes (who tied for second in points) were both held to two goals, well below their season average.

But lefty attacker Greg Melaugh stepped up and netted his second on an outside blast and Kyle Baker and Naimie extended the lead back to five with roughly 10 minutes left in regulation. While Bullseye scored the game’s last three goals, it could not draw any closer than two thanks to Evans’ heroics.

Evans needed every one of his 39 saves as Bullseye put more shots on goal then the Blazers (49-40), and grabbed more loose balls (53-44) to generate those opportunities. Naimie led the Blazers with three goals and an assist. The team got two goals each from Rogowski, Bowes, Baker and Melaugh.

Bullseye was led by Wood’s five goals, but also got multi-point nights from Chris Breiner, Greg Lally and Jimmy Murphy. Chuck Jaffe made 28 saves in net for Bullseye.

For the Blazers, the title represents the team’s fourth consecutive BBLL crown. The league changed to a fall-winter combined format for 2016, but the Blazers took the title in the winter 2015 session and both the fall and winter leagues in 2014.

The Boston Box Lacrosse League will release its all-star team selections and league MVP honors next week; the league will resume play with its annual summer league in June.

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.