Chris Bocklet scored 56 seconds into sudden-death overtime to lift the unbeaten Denver Outlaws over the Boston Cannons, 10-9, in a frenetic Major League Lacrosse game before 9,066 at Harvard Stadium Saturday night.
It was the second goal of the game for Bocklet, who also had an assist, as the Outlaws emerged from a fast-paced fourth quarter tied at 9 with the persistent Cannons. Goals from Brodie Merrill at 12:42, and Kevin Buchanan (his third of the game and 12th of the season) at 14:34 brought the Cannons back from a two-goal deficit in the final minutes.
The Cannons had reached the fourth quarter holding a 6-5 advantage over Denver (3-0), but the Outlaws, who pushed their regular-season unbeaten streak to 23, ramped up their attack in the fourth quarter, countering each Cannon score and finally going ahead when Jeremy Sieverts and Bocklet scored 31 seconds apart to push Denver in front, 8-7.
“A little bit of luck, I guess,’’ said Bocklet, who needed two shots to get the winner past goalie Jordan Burke.
“I guess it ringed off the pipe and bounced right back to me. And when that happened I noticed that Burke was a little bit out of the cage and I saw some net. So I had a second chance and you usually don’t get those, but I was happy to bury it in the end.”
Denver goalie Jesse Schwartzman, who had 24 saves, became the all-time winningest MLL goalie with his 61st victory. Burke had 16 saves for Boston.
It was a disappointing loss for the Cannons (1-2), who stretched the league’s only unbeaten team to the breaking point.
“I think we made too many mistakes to win tonight,’’ said Cannons coach John Tucker. “At some point I don’t know if it was nerves — maybe anxiety — we were too keyed up more than nervous. But it’s still not good, we need to control our emotions there, settle down a little bit. That’s absolutely what we aspire to be, a confident team like Denver.
“I thought our defense was very good, Jordan Burke played well. Our offense just got a little sloppy at times. Too many turnovers. Not moving the ball quickly. But we’ll continue to try to clean it up. We’re really close to being a very good team.”
Following a 50-minute delay while a lightning storm moved through, the Cannons jumped out to a two-goal lead in the third quarter as Buchanan and Mike Stone scored in succession. Buchanan collected his second of the game at 2:24 with a sidearm shot off a pass from Paul Rabil, and Stone fired in a low one at 5:43 that skidded past Schwartzman.
Denver’s Eric Law cut the lead to one with his third goal of the game on a quick shot, but Jack Rice restored the two-goal lead with a hard shot from 15 yards out. John Grant Jr. then cut it to one again, scoring off a fast break at 14:56.
Denver got the start it wanted, scoring three times in the first quarter to take a 3-1 lead. The Outlaws’ last regular-season loss was more than 22 months ago, on June 23, 2012, at Long Island.
Justin Pennington opened it up, scooting past the defense of Rabil by the right post and rolling around to score at 0:58.
It wasn’t until 7:01 that the Cannons’ offense found its footing, when Rice evened the score with a quick shot in front on the pass from Will Manny.
It was the first time in three games a team had scored on Denver in the first quarter.
But a pair of goals from Law pushed Denver in front, as the Outlaws’ attack moved quickly and efficiently.
The Cannons battled back in the second quarter, outscoring Denver, 3-1, on goals from Buchanan, Scott Ratliff, and Stephen Berger.
The Cannons were in good form when the weather interfered, a strong thunderstorm moving quickly into the area.
The Outlaws were able to tie the score with 8.7 seconds remaining in the half when Domenic Sebastiani converted a pass from Law as sheets of rain swept across the field.