Chromeback Complete: Messenger delivers winners at Homewood Field


Chromeback Complete: Messenger delivers winners at Homewood Field

PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE

Mike Messenger scored two goals Saturday night, including the overtime winner against the Cannons.

BALTIMORE — Don’t call it a comeback. A Chromeback is more suitable.

And Mike Messenger was the one who provided the final balance sheet.

When JT Giles-Harris and Lyle Thompson traded body punches in overtime on Saturday night, Messenger came over to double down on the Cannons LC attacker. When they pushed him past the two-point arc, Messenger released the ball and picked the ball up off the Homewood Field turf.

Messenger cleared the ball and threw it to Dylan Molloy, whose lateral arm tear jumped off the right wing by Cannon goalie Nick Marrocco. What happened next happened so fast that even the ESPN cameraman was a bit behind.

Brendan Nichtern picked up the ball after the restart and immediately found Messenger catching it at the crease with no one around. Messenger skipped the crucial goal – the punctuation mark in a wild six-goal run that sent the Chrome home in a 12-11 win in front of a sold-out crowd.

Messenger, transferred from the player pool before the start of summer, dove over the front of the crease in the first quarter with a 6:24 lead and scored the first goal of a 6-0 run that turned an 11-6 deficit into a dismal one comeback win.

“He made two incredible plays offensively,” said Chrome head coach Tim Sudan. “The game winner and the jump gate were great. I just turned around and saw him flying through the air.”

Most of Chrome’s comeback (4-0) came in the final two minutes, just as Connor Farrell began to assert himself at the face-off point. Justin Anderson converted a right-hander to reduce the deficit to 11-8 with 1:55, then Ryan Terefenko capitalized on a turnover, clearing the ball and finding nieces to make it 11-9.

Anderson scored after a Chrome timeout with Molloy to make it 11-10 with 53.8 left, and then Terefenko delighted the Charm City contingent with the equalizer.

Terefenko backed up on the transition, as if trying to shoot from beyond the two-point arc. He then pocketed his stick and dodged an oncoming Matt Rahill. The rest of the defense collapsed on him midway through, but not nearly in time. Terefenko bailed out with his left foot and equalized with an overhand laser for the 11th point.

Chrome’s victory overshadowed the Cannons’ impressive advances (1-3) on offense. Lyle Thompson (two goals, three assists) and Asher Nolting (four goals, two assists) was an impressive one-two, especially as Nolting returned to the X-Attack role he’d mastered in his five seasons at High Point.

“I was happy with how we played offensively,” Thompson said. “They ran at the end of the game. Of course, the team in front feels a little too comfortable with the lead.”

Bubba Fairman, another Cannons rookie, delivered the final blow with 7:52 minutes remaining. A long rebound off the pipe sent the ball down the center of the field, and Fairman came darting down the middle and caught it in the crotch. It was a one-man substitution opportunity as Fairman scored his first PLL goal and celebrated, a result that gave the Cannons an 11-6 lead.

The Chrome hadn’t shone with the same luster as it did in the first three games of the season. Fairman’s gate could have frozen it. It didn’t.

“We just have to learn how to finish a game,” Nolting said.

Perhaps inspired by a rousing – a powerful – halftime speech by Jesse Bernhardt, Chrome reversed course. Farrell (16 to 25, 12 balls) led the effort from the middle.

“I don’t really feel a lot of pressure because that’s my job,” Farrell said. “My job is to give the offensive the ball.”

Nine players scored from Chrome’s offense, led by nieces (one goal, four assists). Messenger, Anderson and Jordan MacIntosh each scored two goals. Six goals came from the rope unit Chrome.

“I blacked out while I was partying,” Farrell said. “I was so excited. i love to win I hate losing more than I hate winning.”

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