Launch Stun MLL Champ Lizards on Road 20-19!

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via Launch web site  
Author’s Note:  Watched the game on the LaxSportsNetwork (for die hard Lax fans the $7.99 per month is well worth it!) and the team showed a depth of commitment that truly earned them the victory.  Having watched the home games from the sideline each year I can certainly vouch for the intensity these two play with against each other and I suspect that this, if not the most important win in Launch history, certainly might be the sweetest.  There is certainly an undercurrent between these two teams and those that watched the game certainly saw that come through.  Kieran McArdle pretty much had the perfect response with a 7 goal/3 assist performance as he rebounded from what was probably his worst game as a pro in Denver as he responded to the chirping directed his way by the Lizard players.  Austin Kaut played a terrific game even with the 19 points against and a number of his tougher saves came when they would count the most, when a NY run might have been imminent.  The long poles have started to gel and the open looks in front were cut down substantially.  Chris Mattes won the most important faceoff, the last one, and the Launch were able to run out the clock. There will be a quick turnaround as the Launch come home to face the Chesapeake Bayhawks Saturday night at FAU.  Keeping up that intensity will be a struggle but hopefully the team will be able to give the home crowd a similar result.
  The Florida Launch defeated the defending MLL champions the New York Lizards Thursday on the road. Florida was led by All-Star Kieran McArdle’s monster 10 point performance that earned him Coca-Cola Player of the Game honors. The Launch take the win in the first part of a doubleheader that will have the team back at FAU Stadium on Saturday to take on the Chesapeake Bayhawks. The Launch controlled the first possession with Chris Mattes winning the opening faceoff. McArdle opened the night’s scoring with a close shot inside. Shortly after, Connor Buczek converted his fifth two-point goal of the season to extend the early lead. Following an empty trip down the field by the Lizards, the Launch took advantage of the quick restart with another goal by McArdle. New York scored twice to answer back but Launch goalie Austin Kaut made a key save to end the run. Lyle Thompson found an open Steven Brooks on the other end of the field for a long goal inside the two-point line. On the next play, P.T. Ricci’s illegal slash gave way to a New York goal. Despite playing a man down, Owen Blye found the back of the net for his first of the night. The Lizards responded with a goal before Steve Pontrello scored his first goal in the MLL. With time quickly expiring, Pontrello fed Brooks for his second goal of the night. The Launch ended the first quarter on top 8-4. The Lizards turned two faceoff wins into goals to start the second quarter. Blye’s second score of the night came from a Lyle Thompson pass to end the home team’s run. The Lizards punched a goal in just before McArdle was able to get open to record his hat trick. On McArdle’s scoring play, the Lizards committed a foul giving the visitors a powerplay opportunity. Pontrello wasted no time to capitalize on the advantage with his second goal of the night. The Lizards finished the first half scoring to make it 11-8 with the Launch leading. Coming out of halftime, Buczek found Blye who turned the strong pass into his hat trick. Lyle Thompson notched his fourth assist of the night when he set up Mcardle for another goal. Pushing the tempo in the Launch’s favor, McArdle created his own shot to score his fifth of the game. The Lizards put an end to their scoring drought with a two-point shot although the Launch were still up by four. Pontrello took a short pass from McArdle to give the rookie his hat trick on a slick turnaround shot. The third period was a back and forth affair, as New York scored on the next play. Blye put in his fourth goal with the Lizards scoring shortly after. McArdle’s big night continued as he made a cut from behind the net, drew contact with the defender, and turned to score his sixth goal. The Lizards advanced the ball into the crease with a diving shot that sparked a scuffle resulting in several penalties. The Launch were left to play out the penalty with four players and the Lizards with five. Kaut kept his stellar night going with a clutch save to close out the third quarter. The Lizards powerplay continued at the start of the fourth, but Kaut was unable to stop the attack this time around as he allowed a goal. Returning to action after an illegal cross check penalty, McArdle displayed his craftiness by working a defender near goal to score his seventh. Buczek kept the momentum going as he used his strength to work past several defenders to tally his second. McArdle could not stop being a driving force on offense as he found Miles Thompson who put in his first goal. The Lizards went on a four score run to bring the home team the closest they had been all night. Up by just one, the Launch won the final faceoff and held the ball for time to expire. The Launch head home to Florida with the 20-19 win. The Florida Launch will look for the second win of the week against the Bayhawks Saturday at home. Faceoff is set for 7:30p.m. ET.