Author’s Note: The Launch responded from last week’s disappointment with their most complete effort of the year, as they played with a desire to win for all 60 minutes, putting together a much more effective offensive approach that greatly reduced the issues raised in the Opinion piece written by me. The players reacted professionally and with pride and that needs to be noted in the same way than when criticism is leveled for bad play. Every time the Outlaws drew within a goal in the second half the Launch dug down and found an answer, whether through a key save by Austin Kaut (21 saves), a tough defensive stand and a smart offensive possession that ended with a lead-stretching goal. The Launch were able to overcome a rare off game by Chris Mattes on faceoffs and he will not likely have a game like this the rest of the season. This was the type of game that would have likely been lost earlier in the season but the team dug deep and often to gain the win. The path to a playoff shot is still an arduous one but the key is just taking it one game at a time and control what you can, which is the input, and let’s see where the rest of the season goes.
The Florida Launch beat the Denver Outlaws Saturday night to capture their first win of the season. The Launch held the lead the entire night to record the confident 19-16 victory. Florida was led by Owen Blye’s 5 goal effort with Lyle Thompson, Kieran McArdle, and Connor Buczek each recording a hat trick.
The Launch came out swinging to set the tempo of the game by scoring early and often. Connor Buczek kept his hot streak from long range alive with a hard rip to score the first two points of the night. Denver answered back with a goal but Jovan Miller took matters into his own hands, running the field, and capping the drive with a hard shot to score. The visitors hit one more goal before the Launch took control for most of the quarter with a long scoring run. Owen Blye pushed one in and Kieran Mcardle wasted no time building off the momentum to score back to back goals. The Outlaws hit one more to snap the streak but Blye capped off the productive period with one more before heading into the second quarter with the score standing at 7-3.
The second quarter featured more offense from both sides as Denver reopened scoring. Blye tallied his hat trick early in the period with the assist from Lyle Thompson. The Outlaws fought their way back into the game to bring it within two shortly after. Buczek kept his night going with another goal to start a run for the home team. Lyle Thompson put in his first of the game with McArdle following suit to mark record his hat trick. Denver finished out scoring for the half but the Launch maintained the lead at 11-7.
Denver’s attack beat the Florida defense for a score to open the second half but it was Florida keeping the lead intact with a potent attack in the third quarter. Cameron Lao-Gosney was quiet in the first half but knocked in his first just before Buczek hit another for his hat trick. Florida continued to feed the hot hand as Blye scored two more late in the period. Lyle Thompson added to his total as well to push the Launch further from the Outlaws. Both teams headed into the final quarter of play locked in a scoring battle at 16-13.
The fourth quarter stood to be the closest of all as Denver put two in the net quickly to bring the visitors within just one. Lyle Thompson became the fourth Launch player to record a hat trick as he converted an unassisted shot attempt. The Outlaws rallied back to cut the deficit to just one score. Nearly 9 minutes passed without a goal for either team as both sides were locked in a defensive showdown.
Buczek ended the drought by putting the Launch up two goals. Thompson put the final nail in the coffin to seal Florida’s first win of the season to the tune of 19-6.
With six different goal scorers for the Launch, the team finally found the balanced and effective offense it had been looking for all season. The team will look to stay cohesive as the season rolls on. Connor Buczek was excited that the talented roster was coming together as one. “We’ve been finding it individually throughout the beginning part of the season but we hit our stride as a group and started playing together,” Buczek said of the win. “I think people can see what happens when we play 19 strong,” he added.
The Launch continue their home stand next week against the Charlotte Hounds on June 18. Faceoff is set for 7:00pm. Tickets are available through www.floridalaunchlacrosse.com<http://www.floridalaunchlacrosse.com> or by calling 561-923-9067.
About Florida Launch
The Florida Launch began play in 2014 at FAU Stadium as a Major League Lacrosse expansion team. The team is dedicated to growing the game of lacrosse in Florida, as well as showcasing the sport at its highest level to the fans and community. For more information, please visit www.floridalaunchlacrosse.com<http://www.floridalaunchlacrosse.com> To hear more about the Launch be sure to like us on Facebook<https://www.facebook.com/FloridaLaunch/> and follow us on Twitter & Instagram @florida_launch to stay up to date with team news, games, contests, and more!
About Major League Lacrosse
Playing its first season in 2001, the MLL is the nation’s’ premier outdoor lacrosse league. As of 2016, the MLL fields 9 teams featuring the world’s top players. For more information, please visit www.majorleaguelacrosse.com<http://www.majorleaguelacrosse.com>.
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