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Marty Bowes converted a feed from Randy Fraser with 40 seconds remaining in regulation to give the defending-champion Blazers a come-from-behind win over the Minutemen in the opener of the 2018-19 Boston Box Lacrosse League fall-winter season at South Shore Sports Center in Hingham. In the nightcap, a late surge from PrimeTime broke open a close game for the mild upset over the MegaWhales.
BONUS: Read Ryan Conwell’s post for a look back at the Boston Box Lacrosse League three years ago here.
The Blazers looked like anything but the defending champs early in their game against the Minutemen, falling behind 4-0, and trailing 6-3 at the half as Ryan Murphy picked up a hat trick and created several caused turnovers that blunted Blazer possessions.
The Blazers flipped the script right off the opening whistle for the second half, pocketing four goals in the first five minutes of play to take their first lead. Kurt Hunziker netted the last two of those scores, and when he broke a 9-minute span when neither team scored by completing his natural hat trick, the Blazers had an 8-6 lead. But Patrick O’Loughlin and Murphy tied the game for the Minutemen, leading to a tense final five minutes until Bowes netted the quick-stick game-winner as time was winding down.
Hunziker’s three goals and one assist led the Blazers, who also got four points from Randy Fraser and Jared Arnitzen. Arnitzen also collected 11 loose balls on the night, and Jason Brooks made 29 saves in net.
Murphy, meanwhile, was a man possessed for the Minutemen, with 12 loose balls and six caused turnovers – as many as were recorded by the Blazers team on the night — along with four goals and one helper. O’Loughlin netted a hat trick and defender Pat Hannigan added four caused turnovers for the Minutemen.
The second game on opening night was a back-and-forth affair that saw the two teams trade goals and the lead until Kyle Danehy’s two scores – one set up by a feed from defender Peter Ashmore, the other a solo drive-and-dive – gave PrimeTime a two-goal lead at 5-3 with 2:30 remaining in the first half. The teams then traded scores to reach halftime with PrimeTime up 6-4.
Goals from Cam Egan and Danehy extended the PrimeTime lead to 8-4 in the opening minutes of the second stanza, before the MegaWhales rallied with four of the game’s next five goals – two off the stick of Mike Maggio – to make it 9-8 with eight minutes remaining in regulation.
From here, PrimeTime – which finished the fall-winter 2017-18 season in last place, showing a propensity to fade down the stretch – showed its resolve, with Danehy ‘s fourth goal of the game, plus two quick markers from defenders Ashmore and Egan shutting the door on the MegaWhales.
Danehy’s four goals and 13 loose balls led the way for PrimeTime, which also got three goals and two assists from Henry Archie and two goals with two helpers from Alex Bunick. Egan and Ashmore both had three points on the night and Jeff Smith made 32 saves for the victors.
The MegaWhales, meanwhile, dominated the game statistically – with more shots on goal, more loose balls and more caused turnovers – everywhere but on the scoreboard. Greg Melaugh had four goals to spark the offense, with Maggio, Scott Corcoran and Danny Hettler all posting multi-point nights.
Next week, the first-week winners will meet in the early game to see which squad can get an early jump on first place, and then Bullseye – which won the regular-season crown last year only to drop the playoff finals to the Blazers – will make its debut in the nightcap against the Minutemen.
The Boston Box Lacrosse League, a member of US Indoor Lacrosse, plays at South Shore Sports Center in Hingham. For stats, standings and more information on the league, go to BostonBoxLax.com. The league posts announcements and commentary on Twitter and can be followed @BostonBoxLax.
South Shore Sports Center is located at 55 Recreation Park Drive in Hingham; fans and friends can watch games from the arena seating or at the Skybox Lounge, where food and drinks are served. Information is available at southshoresportscenter.com.