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Live From The Star – Update

  It’s about 4:30pm CST and the gates have opened here in Frisco. I was up early this morning to catch the walk-throughs of the two teams.  Ohio at 7:30am and Denver about an hour later.  Both seemed calm and collected but I thought Ohio looked a little sharper . . . which means those with a few bucks on the game should go Denver given my track record. Dave Ryan and Evan Washburn will be calling the game and I stopped by to talk to Dave a little.  He’s local, up in Cocoa Beach and loves calling the sport. Had a light lunch with Matt Kinnear of Inside Lacrosse . . . he’s their Editor-In-Chief . . . and as is the norm in a conversation we tried to fix all that is wrong with the lacrosse scene . . . and it only took one beer to do it.  That must be some kind of record. On the way back to the stadium I passed the BSN booth and stopped by to chat.  Joel White of Rochester and Syracuse fame . . . I won’t hold that against him . . . was manning the booth and we had a good chat.  Also stopped by the New Balance/Warrior booth and talked up affiliate marketing with them too. One interesting vendor inside the stadium is Lacrosse Lamps and we are talking to them too.  Imagine taking your old gear, helmet and stick and making a table lamp out of them?  That’s a fun idea! Snuck a little food out of the CBS catering area . . . as Woody Allen once said, 90% of life is just showing up . . . Well, we’ll update you as it goes along but now I’ll take a saunter down to the field.   5:45pm 15 minutes to go and introductions are coming.  All the tickets sold are on one side of the stadium and those seats are filling up nicely. The audio in this place is LOUD but crisp.  Ohio is on the field and Denver is still inside, but now coming out. Denver has its own drummer!  Pretty cool listening to the entrance music. Brian, I think we need something like this too.  Drummer, horn section . . . why not? I don’t see any surprises in the lineup but I want to mention something I saw this morning at Ohio’s run through.  At the end of the practice the Ohio trainers were working on Greg Puskuldjian’s left shoulder and arm so i will be watching to see if it effects him at all.   6:15pm First TV time out with Ohio leading 2-1, with Denver just scoring to take us to the timeout.  a few miscommunications by Denver’s defense led to two open looks and Denver took advantage of a broken stick to score 6 on 5.  Very fast paced and the atmosphere is great. Some early nerves but they’ll settle down quickly   3:29 to go in the first and it’s 3-3, TV timeout.  Cannizaro with the tying goal after Denver ran off 3 straight.  I count only three turnovers so far as the game is crisp.  5 assists on the 6 goals . . . take note kids. Kelly starting to get a rhythm at the faceoff Cannizaro with the fadeaway for 4-3 and Pusk . . . with the faceoff win (too long to type it every time!) And we end the first with Ohio with the 4-3 lead as the final minutes got a little sloppy.   Schreiber makes it 5-3 at 10:36, beating his defender to the left.  Denver’s offense has gone one on one in the second and is missing the net on the dodges. Cavanaugh pulls one back on a bit of a fortunate play as the feed looked more like an aborted shot that had eyes.  5-4 with 9:33 to go. Action is up and down and a little ragged.  Law takes a late hit from Waldeck and Denver will go man up with 4:49 left.   Kavanagh ties it at 5 with the dive across the crease from the right with 2:16 left A quick Pusk pop but Jack Kelly with the save.  Denver turns it back over and Ohio draws the penalty as Holman drives the net.  Ohio up one minute of a Matt Bocklet penalty. Holman from Schreiber on man up with 1:17 left, in the middle from up top.  6-5. Currier off the wing on the faceoff, beats everyone down the middle for 6-6 and draws the late hit on Jackson Place.  Faceoff with one man down. Bocklet scores as the penalty ends with Currier making a 20-yard cross-feed to the left cage as time expires.  Denver 7-6 at the half.   Berg with the early goal for 8-6. McMahon with a bad penalty after Schreiber was turned over and Currier is slow to get up.  Denver goes man up with 12:16 to go in the 3rd. Ohio with a big kill. TV timeout and Denver holds on to the 8-6 lead.   Kavanagh to Law on a back door cut to the middle and it’s 9-6 Denver.  Ohio seriously needs a momentum changer. An early Ohio shot easily stopped. Currier draws a flag and Karalunas takes the slash. Bernlohr with a huge save on the crease. Kelly stops Schreiber and a quick clear.  Late in the shot clock Kavanagh finds a cutting Berg for the one timer and Denver stretches it to 10-6.  Ohio’s offense is really rushing things and not getting the best looks. Berg goal waved off in the crease and it’s time out with 4:15 left.   Baum finally gets Ohio on the board off the Holman feed with 2:45 left in teh 3rd for 10-7.  Kelly pops forward but Bernlohr stones him on the breakaway. Harrison then puts one top left from just inside the 2-point line and now it’s 10-8 at 1:54! Pusk wins one and Ohio looks for the run.Baum shoots high.  And then Baum converts from Cockerton and just like that it is 10-9 with 49 seconds left.  3 goals in 2 minutes. Pusk with the win but a trail check gives Denver one last shot but nothing comes of it and we go to the 4th with Denver up 10-9!   The announced attendance is nearly 7,500!  Nice number. Kavanagh with the goals with one second left in the shot clock after a loose ball scrum outside the line.  Denver really fortunate on that one.  11-9 early 4th. Kelly with the win but a turnover for Ohio.  Cannizaro with the backhand wraparound with 12:11 left to make it 11-10. Pusk with the win and Ohio looks for the tie.  Baum with a bit of a wild shot and Denver with the backup. Kavanagh with the rip to the top left off the Currier feed for 12-10.  Kavanagh right now the easy favorite for MVP.   Bernhardt takes the Baum feed in the middle and rips one low between the legs with 9:59 left for 12-11! Pusk has started to even the faceoff battle and with this latest win he goes right down the middle to tie it with 9:52 left. He wins it again but the pass goes off the wing’s stick and Denver takes over. Kavanagh fires wide and Ohio takes over. Molnar takes  a tough call and Holman takes advantage to give Ohio the lead back! Kelly wins but Berg is stoned by Bernlohr and Ohio looks to stretch.   After an over and back Bernhardt finds Holman low left wing from 40 yards out and Holman rips high left and it’s Ohio 14-12 with 4:56 left. Holman with another rip to the top left with one second on the shot clock and it looks like Denver has to right the ship quickly.  15-12 with 3:56 to go! Another Ohio faceoff win and Bernhardt to Cannizaro and it’s 16-12!   Denver wins the draw but Ohio’s defense holds and a clearing pass leads to a timeout by Ohio as they gain possession just in their offensive zone. Time getting short for Denver. Bernhardt pretty much puts it away with 1:23 left on an open net. Ohio with possession and a timeout with 56 seconds left.  This is all over.   Went down to the field for the post-game ceremonies and found Lake Brantley’s Jake Bernhardt, who was on quite the high.  If memory serves, he lost an FHSAA final to Saint Andrew’s and lost an NCAA championship game at Maryland so this is, I think, his first major championship.  Congrats to him!  Tony Seaman left relatively quickly so I didn’t get to talk to him but I did track down Denver head coach O’Hara and he basically saw it as two reasons for the loss.  The faceoff battle in the fourth was a killer and late in the third, when Denver could have really stretched it out they missed opportunities and Ohio was able to pull off that 3-goal run late in the period to turn the game around. In reality, looking back, this was in many ways the exact opposite of last year’s game, where Ohio was able to rally strongly in the second half, while Denver gave up the lead.  Ohio scored 11 goals in the last 18 minutes of the game, and as so many lacrosse fans know, this is a game of momentum and runs and Ohio saved their best for last. Congrats to the Machine for their win and we all should look forward to next season, as the talent in this league continues to grow in leaps and bounds, as the quality of play in this game was off the charts.  And our Launch are certainly in the mix too.  I kind of hope this venue is given another chance to host as the playing conditions were perfect.  One thing is that as far as I can tell, not one player actually slipped on the playing surface and that was also a great advantage to the skill of play. So long from the Star! Another great day for the sport!