4/28/13 1:00 AM
St. Petersburg, Fla. (April 27, 2013) - Veteran midfielder Kyle Dixon piled up seven points and tied a Major League Lacrosse record with three 2-point goals as the Chesapeake Bayhawks opened the 2013 season by beating the Rochester Rattlers 17-14 in a wild shootout in front of 3,940 fans at Historic Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The game marked the return to competive play by veteran Mark Millon who recorded one goal and one assist in front of his family.
“It was a typical first game. We didn’t play great, but fortunately we got the win and that’s all that matters,” Bayhawks head coach Dave Cottle said.
Dixon, in his eighth MLL season, had his cannon crank shot on target and increased his MLL career record for 2-pointers to 50. The perennial All-Star also dished off an assist as Chesapeake began defense of its MLL championship with a thrilling victory.
“I guess you could say I was feeling it tonight,” said Dixon, who was named Player of the Game. “Teams just continue to back off and give me space beyond the arc. Coach Cottle has given me the green light to shoot whenever I’m open out there and tonight I was fortunate to connect on a few.”
Midfielder Ben Hunt fired in a pair of 2-pointers of his own in totaling six points for the Bayhawks, who won without seven players who are still involved in the National Lacrosse League playoffs. Among that group were two returning starting attackmen in Drew Westervelt and John Grant, Jr.
Chesapeake’s Nicky Polanco was all over the field and played like a man possessed in anchoring a defense that rose to the occasion and shut out Rochester in the fourth quarter. Polanco provided great man-to-man coverage on Millon, caused several turnovers and gobbled up three ground balls.
“I thought Nicky was tremendous tonight. He was extremely active, very aggressive and really owned Mark Millon,” Cottle said.
Bayhawks rookieTyler Fiorito started between the pipes for Chesapeake, but was replaced in the second quarter by second-year man T.C. DiBartolo, who finished with nine saves.
Rattlers goalies also split time in the net with Jason LaShomb starting and recording 13 saves, and Joe Banno filling in for the second half and recording 14 saves.
The Rattlers return to action as they host the Charlotte Hounds at Sahlen’s Stadium on Sunday, May 5 at 3:00 p.m. For tickets and information visit www.rochesterrattlers.com.