Outlaws Rout Hounds, Tie MLL Record with 9-0 Season Start

DENVER The Denver Outlaws improved to 9-0 with a 17-11 win vs. Charlotte, tying a MLL record for consecutive wins to start a season (Bayhawks, 2005) and in the process became the first club to clinch a postseason spot this year.

At 9-0, the worst Denver can finish is 9-5. The only MLL teams that can finish 9-5 or better are Hamilton, Chesapeake, Boston, Charlotte and the winner of Sunday's New York vs. Rochester contest.

Denver has clinched the tiebreaker over both Boston and Charlotte as the Outlaws have swept the season series against those two opponents. Therefore, the only three other teams can finish with a 9-5-or-better record: Hamilton, Chesapeake and the winner of Sunday's New York vs. Rochester game.

Denver's postseason appearance will be the team's eighth in its eight years of existence. No other club has been the playoffs in each of the past eight years.

The Outlaws return home to Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Thursday for its Mile High Fourth of July game against the New York Lizards.

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The Charlotte Hounds on Saturday night became the latest team to fall victim to the Denver Outlaws' bid for an undefeated season, dropping a 17-11 decision in front of 4,588 fans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Outlaws goaltender Jesse Schwartzman was named Player of the Game for a season-high 27 saves on 37 shots, while Matt Danowski led the Hounds with four points.

The game's first quarter was action packed. Ryan Flanagan came up with the groundball off the opening faceoff, setting up Danowski on the doorstep for a 1-0 Hounds lead just 23 seconds in. But some sloppy passing a minute later led to a goal by Eric Law to tie the game at 1, and Zack Greer added another to give the Outlaws a 2-1 advantage.

Mike Sawyer and Chris Bocklet traded goals before Danowski tallied his second of the night to knot things up at 3. Ryan Young pushed the Hounds back in front 4-3 with an athletic play in which he dove over the stick of an Outlaws defender to score. Jeremy Sieverts responded with a goal on the run, but Jake Tripucka beat Schwartzman low to close out the quarter with a 5-4 advantage for the Hounds.

The Outlaws, however, took control of the game in the second quarter following a slew of penalties handed down on the Hounds. Mason Poli was hit with the first penalty, a 30-second pushing call, followed by two unsportsmanlike conduct calls on Joe Cinosky totaling seven minutes, and a one-minute illegal body check call on goalie Adam Ghitelman. Backup Sean Aaron came in to the game facing a six-on-three situation, and the Outlaws took advantage with a goal from Drew Snider to tie it at 5.

Ghitelman returned to cage, but Brendan Mundorf added a second man-up goal for a 6-5 Outlaws advantage. Terry Kimener and Mundorf each tacked on another to push the lead to 8-5 before Danowksi was called offsides. The Outlaws again capitalized on the man-up, as Law scored his second of the night for a 9-5 advantage with 4:05 remaining in the half. Jeremy Boltus scored the sixth-straight goal for the Outlaws to take a 10-5 lead into the intermission.

Momentum stayed with the Outlaws, as Law opened up the quarter with a quick strike that caught Ghitelman out of position to push the lead to six goals, 11-5. Poli finally stopped the bleeding for the Hounds, with a dunk from just outside the crease.

But the penalty woes continued, as Danowski got called for an illegal body check and Sieverts scored goal line extended. Law followed that up with his fourth of the night to give the Outlaws their biggest lead of the night at 13-6. The Hounds caught a break though, as Bocklet and Chris O'Dougherty were both called for holding, giving the team a two-man advantage. Josh Amidon capitalized with a 2-point goal to pull the Hounds back within five, 13-8, with nine minutes remaining in the quarter.

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