Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Rochester goalkeeper Brett Queener gave a whole new meaning to the concept of using stingy defense to fuel an offense in yesterday’s Major League Lacrosse championship game at Harvard Stadium.

The fearless rookie stopped 10-of-11 shots and recorded an assist after entering a 6-5 game at halftime, sparking an outburst that earned the Rattlers their first MLL title with a 16-6 win over Denver.

“That was amazing to watch,” Rochester attackman John Grant said. “(Queener) didn’t let a goal in until the very last minute, and he was even (plus-minus). You can’t ask for anything better than that. He had some exciting plays out of the goal.”

Queener made his first save early in the third quarter and took off up field for the first of several forays into the offensive zone. His first trip over midfield was met with a bone-crushing blow by Outlaw Jeff Sonke, but the University of Albany product was not discouraged.

“It actually woke me up and made me want to get out there again so that I didn’t get knocked down,” Queener said of the hit. “After that, all the facets of our team started clicking, and I just had to make a couple of saves, and everything rolled from there.”

The Rattlers outscored Denver, 6-0, in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. Championship Weekend MVP Joe Walters (6 goals, 5 assists in the postseason) opened the floodgates 3:28 into the third.

Queener’s zig-zagging jaunts over midfield continued to steal the spotlight, however, even after Jeff Zywicki (6 goals) and two-time reigning MLL MVP Grant (4 goals, assist) tallied to extend the lead to 11-5.

With 1:14 remaining in the third, Queener made his fifth save and sprinted from the safety of his crease. After a quick give-and-go with Jordan Hall at the top of the arch, Queener earned an assist with a pass to set up Zywicki’s fifth tally on the left goal line.

As much as Queener plays like a daredevil that could give a coach a heart attack, Rochester coach B.J. O’Hara wouldn’t change a thing about his young sparkplug, who began the season as a reserve.

“When we gave him some chances to get out there, he just seemed to light up the team and light up the crowd,” O’Hara said. “We started to feed him more and more (playing time) - and the more he got, the better he did. It just kind of grew like a snowball.”

It was the second championship game loss for the Outlaws in the last three seasons, and their six-goal output was a new low for an MLL title tilt.

“We just couldn’t put a couple plays together,” said Denver coach Brian Reese, whose team was held scoreless for the first 27:45 of the second half.

“We’d make a great play on offense, and they’d make a great save. We just couldn’t get it all together. I thought we had some momentum coming into halftime, but they took it away pretty quickly.”

By Joe Vieira
The Boston Herald

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