The Lizards may have come into Sunday's game as the hottest team in Major League Lacrosse, but they cooled off in a hurry.
The Chesapeake Bayhawks scored four unanswered points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Lizards, 12-11, at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium.
The Lizards led 11-8 heading into the final period, before Joe Walters scored three minutes and 44 seconds into the quarter to make it 11-9. Six minutes later, Jesse Bernhardt scored a two-point goal to tie the game and, with 4:20 left, Pete Poillon netted the game winner.
The loss drops the Lizards to 7-5 and snaps the team's four-game winning streak. It was also the team's first home loss this season, albeit one that came away from its usual home at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium. While the Lizards still clinched a playoff berth by virtue of Boston's loss Saturday, they missed a chance to tie Denver for second place.
"I don't think we were ever in a good flow the entire game," said Lizards coach Joe Spallina. "I felt like we were kind of 'herky jerky.' We were kind of scattered. We'd do a good thing, then we'd do two bad things. Early on, they weren't making us pay. As the game went on, they made us pay. A lot of those empty possessions we had came back to bite [us]."
The Lizards scored on just over 26 percent of their 42 total shots (the league average is 29.4%).
"Drew [Adams] really stepped up in net and made a lot of big saves," said Lizards midfielder JoJo Marasco, who had a goal and an assist. "When we [got] the ball down on offense, it felt like a lot of transition. We really didn't get into much flow. I think that hurt us today."
"We just didn't keep our foot on the gas," said Adams, who made 14 saves on 25 shots on goal. "We made some internal mistakes in the second half. I think if we would've continued to play the game we wanted to play, we would've been fine."
Ned Crotty scored a game-high three goals and Rob Pannell added a goal and three assists for the Lizards. Faceoff specialist Greg Gurenlian, who came into the game as the MLL's leader in faceoff percentage, went 14-for-26.
Walters had two goals and two assists and Tyler Fiorito made 15 saves on 26 shots faced for Chesapeake (4-8).
With a playoff berth secure, the Lizards will head into their remaining two games with an eye on landing one of the league's top two seeds, which would secure a home playoff game.
The Lizards travel to Charlotte on Friday before concluding the regular season at Hofstra on August 9 against Denver.
"It's a challenge for us," Adams said, "because we want to go into the playoffs on a high note. We would love to have a home game. We're certainly playing for one of those top two seeds."
"At the end of the day, we have the talent to beat anybody," Adams continued. "We just need to not make mistakes that allow other teams to capitalize. We just need to play our game and we'll be fine."