MegaWhales lock up playoff berth with 16-9 win over Minutemen
Bullseye clinched its first-ever Boston Box Lacrosse League regular-season crown with a 15-13 win over the defending league champion Blazers 15-13 on Jan. 17 at South Shore Sports Center in Hingham. Legit Player of the Week Chris Breiner registered five second-half points as Bullseye overcame a deficit to sweep the season series.
In the nightcap, in a game with significant playoff ramifications, the MegaWhales raced out to a big lead and choked off the Minutemen, and claimed their spot in the upcoming league playoffs, led by seven points from Mike Maggio.
The Blazers gained the first real edge of the opening contest with their only unassisted goals of the night – scored by Marty Bowes, Greg Rogowski and Brandon Dube – creating a 5-3 lead with 7:18 remaining in the opening stanza. Two scores from Bullseye’s Will Walker, sandwiched around Dube’s fourth goal of the first half, made it 6-5 at the break.
Joe Nardella tied things up with a scoop-and-score off the opening faceoff of the second half, and the two teams then swapped goals in one- and two-goal bursts, with the Blazers climbing out of 9-7 and 12-10 holes to tie things up at a dozen when Rogowski scored his fifth of the night off a feed from Dube with Bullseye serving a penalty for having too many men on the floor.
But Bullseye defender Mike Rasmussen finished off a long run, and Nardella worked a give-and-go with Breiner on the ensuing faceoff to give Bullseye another two-goal cushion with 4:31 left, and this time Bullseye was able to make the lead stand up.
Breiner finished with a goal and five assists – with all but one of those points coming in the second half – and added three caused turnovers and three loose balls to earn Legit Player of the Week earnings. The six points moved him into the top 10 scorers in the league this season, making him the only Bullseye player to rank in the league’s top 10 in points despite the league’s top offense in points-per-game.
Walker added four scores on the night, John Uppgren and Kyle Smith both added two goals and two helpers, while Vin Curran and Nardella both scored twice. Nardella added 13 loose balls to expand his league lead in that category.
Dube finished with five goals and three assists, while Rogowski went 5-and-2 for the Blazers, who also got multi-point nights from Bowes and defenders Jeff McLaren and Alex Marshall.
In the late game, the MegaWhales jumped out to a 4-0 lead and controlled the tempo throughout against the Minutemen, never really challenged in their victory.
Maggio led the way with four goals and three assists and Mark Goodrich added a hat trick among his four points, with Bryan Bendig, Grant Whiteway, Sean Hoverand Greg Melaugh all adding multi-point nights in a game that saw 12 different MegaWhales players register a goal and/or an assist.
Ed Doherty potted five goals to lead the Minutemen; prior to Tuesday’s game, Doherty had only registered three goals all season. Luke Bernasconi added a goal and two feeds for the Minutemen.
While three teams have clinched playoff berths, the last two weeks of the regular season could still shake up the standings. The Minutemen and PrimeTime both are tied at 3-7, with the Minutemen holding the tie-breaker edge thanks to two head-to-head wins; a Minutemen victory over the Blazers – who they have split the season series with thus far – on Jan. 24 would clinch a playoff spot. A loss, meanwhile, would leave the Minutemen playing for their post-season lives on the season’s final week.
Meanwhile, PrimeTime squares off with the Blazers; winning out would clinch a playoff berth and, potentially, a third-place finish. A loss combined with a Minutemen win would eliminate PrimeTime from playoff contention, even before the teams meet in the final week.
The Boston Box Lacrosse League, a member of US Indoor Lacrosse, 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.