The big question entering last night's Major League Lacrosse game at Homewood Field was which Bayhawks team would show up against the Rochester Rattlers. Would it be the team that dominated all phases of the game in its season-opening 16-13 win over Long Island, or the team that stumbled to consecutive road losses last weekend?
The 4,762 fans in attendance saw both versions. While the Bayhawks struggled during a couple of stretches, they were at their best when it mattered most as they registered a come-from-behind 13-12 win over the Rattlers (1-2).
"This was huge," said midfielder Josh Sims, who tied attackman Mark Millon with a game-high three goals and two assists. "It would have put us in a bad position if we didn't come back like this."
After trailing by as many as three in the second half, the Bayhawks took a 13-12 lead with three minutes to play after Paul Cantabene scooped up a loose ball and drove toward the crease. Cantabene's jump shot beat Rochester goalie Brian Dougherty.
Cantabene's goal stood as the game-winner thanks to some clutch play by the Bayhawks' defense. With Rochester looking for the equalizer with less than two minutes to play, Baltimore killed off a man-down situation and then forced the Rattlers' into a 45-second shot-clock violation. The Bayhawks ran out the clock to improve their record to 2-2.
"We really sucked it up and were able to pick up a ground ball to get out of our end," said Bayhawks coach Brian Voelker.
Millon had brought the Bayhawks within 12-11 when he cut toward the cage, took a feed from Dan Denihan and found the back of the net. Midfielder Greg McCavera tied the game at 12 nearly three minutes later with a low shot past Dougherty.
Said defender Brian Reese, after the Bayhawks held the Rattlers scoreless for the final 8 1/2 minutes: "We know we have a good defense, and tonight we were able to eliminate some of those easy goals we were giving up."
Baltimore fell behind 9-6 after John Grant and Tracey Kelusky opened the third period with goals for the Rattlers, who were buoyed by former Syracuse star Chris Cercy. The faceoff ace won five straight in the third quarter as Rochester controlled possession.
"You just got to keep fighting and hope things start going your way," said Cantabene, who had two goals and an assist. "Come the fourth quarter, I was able to get some breaks."
Early, it did not look like it would be the Bayhawks' night. Just 49 seconds into the game, Rattlers midfielder Mike Regan (team-high three goals) bounced a shot past Bayhawks goalie Greg Cattrano for a two-point goal.
The Bayhawks answered with the first two-point goal in team history, scored by former Severn star Sims. His goal tied the game at 5.
After Sims' goal at the 12:25 mark, the Bayhawks' offense went scoreless the rest of the half and Rochester took advantage and went into halftime with a 7-6 lead.
Rochester 4 3 4 1 -- 12
Bayhawks 4 2 4 3 -- 13
Goals: R--Regan 3, Soudan 2, Grant 2, Bergey, R.Powell, Whipple, Kelusky, C.Kahoun; B--Millon 3, Sims 3, Marechek 2, Cantabene 2, Denihan, Testa, McCavera. Assists: R--Grant 2, R.Powell, Kelusky, Bergey, Soudan; B--Millon 2, Sims 2, Prout, Denihan, Cantabene. Saves: R--Dougherty 13; B--Cattrano 13.