UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Bayhawks have an almost entirely new face in 2006, but they may have a ways to go before they look like defending Major League Lacrosse champions.
The Bayhawks were unable to overcome a sluggish start and fell to the Long Island Lizards, 17-11, last night in front of 3,436 at Mitchel Athletic Complex in the season opener for both teams.
The Bayhawks had major roster changes after capturing the league title last season, beginning with the decision of MLL co-Most Valuable Player Gary Gait not to return. Mikey Powell and Gavin Prout joined Gait as prominent former Bayhawks.
Scott Hiller lost his first game as Bayhawks coach, as his team could not overcome a hot start from Keith Cromwell, who had three goals in the first half to help the Lizards take a 10-4 lead at the half.
"We have a lot of new guys, so I wasn't surprised," Hiller said. "But I was pretty pleased with the second half. We still have the defending champion label and a lot of teams are going to take a shot at us."
Tim Goettelmann (Loyola College) again had his way with the Bayhawks with three goals and three assists. He has 21 goals in 11 regular-season games against the Bayhawks.
"Baltimore always will have a talented team," Goettelmann said. "There is always a rivalry and you will always get excited when you play them."
Mike Mollot had three goals and an assist and Mark Millon had two goals and two assists for the Bayhawks.
Long Island lost to the Bayhawks, 15-9, in the 2005 championship game and a good chunk of its core players are back this season, including goaltender Greg Cattrano, who played for the Bayhawks during their first three seasons. Cattrano made several outstanding saves and had 14 total before leaving late in the fourth quarter.
Long Island scored four points in the final 3:03 of the first quarter to take a 7-2 lead, highlighted by a two-point goal from Adam Borcz.
Mollot and Justin Rudd scored for the Bayhawks early in the second half to cut the lead, but the Lizards scored the next four goals and led 16-7 after three quarters.
Bayhawks goalie Scott Schroeder had 15 saves.
The Bayhawks won their first nine games last season and didn't lose their first until July 31. They will try to avoid matching their loss total for all of last season when they host the Chicago Machine on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Bayhawks 2 2 3 4 - 11
Long Island 7 3 6 1 - 17
Goals: B-Mollot 3, Marachek 2, Cutler, Millon 2, Redd 2, Goldman; LI-Cromwell 3, Borcz 3 (2 pt. goal), Massey 2, Goettelmann 3, Miller 3, Garrison 2, Gagliardi. Assists: B-Millon 2, Redd 2, Mollot, Marohl, Marechek. LI-Goettelmann 3, Miller. Saves: B-Schroeder 15; LI-Cattrano 14, Goldstein. A: 3,436.