Lacrosse – like basketball – is often considered a game of runs. On Monday night, the Boston Cannons had a few in them but it wasn’t enough.
Boston fell to the defending Major League Lacrosse champion Chesapeake Bayhawks 15-13 in the second game of the season. Navy’s Memorial Stadium in Annapolis is the site this week and weekend for the MLL’s season and championship tournament.
The loss dropped the Cannons to 1-1, while Chesapeake remained unbeaten (3-0). The top four teams of the six after the five-game schedule on Friday will head to the semifinals Saturday.
“It was a good game back and forth,” said Challen Rogers. Rogers also had one of the best goals you’ll see on anywhere on Monday. “They’re the defending champs, so we knew what to expect but it didn’t go our way.”
Rogers opened the scoring less than three minutes in with an absolute laser behind his back. But it wasn’t an ordinary behind the back shot. Rogers was just steps inside the two-point line (15-yards out) and let it go around a defender’s head and into the top left corner. Look for the highlight, you won’t regret it.
Moments later Bryce Wasserman (hat trick for the second straight game) made it 2-0.
Then, the wheels fell off a bit. Baltimore built a 5-2 lead after one and eventually pushed it to 9-2. The Cannons didn’t’t score for 23:08, until Mark Cockerton broke the drought to make it 9-3.
Cockerton’s goal sparked a 5-0 run to close the half. Randy Staats (backhand dive), Wasserman (2) and John Uppgren (backhand dive) all scored in the run to cut it to 9-7 at the half.
Chesapeake started the third quarter on another mini run, pushing its lead to 11-7. Reilly O’Connor cut it to 11-8 with 9:03 to go in the quarter on a quick-stick goal from Staats.
Chesapeake answered but a low-to-high rip from Cockerton made it 12-9. The Bayhawks got a filthy goal from arguably the best player in the league, Lyle Thompson, to go up 14-9 heading to the fourth.
“He (Thompson) is one of the best players in the world right now if not the best,” said Rogers. “Iv’e been seeing him play since college and he does some magical things out there. But, I think our D did a great job on him and gave us a chance to win.”
A lefty rip from Bryan Cole cut the Cannons’ deficit to 14-10 early in the fourth. The Bayhawks capped their scoring with 10:51 remaining to make it 15-10. The Cannons made things very interesting with 1:44 to go when Rogers ripped home a two-point laser to cut it to 15-12.
An ensuing face off win from Kevin Reisman (18-31) led to a behind-the-back goal from Cole and made it 15-13 with 1:16 left.
The Cannons got the ensuing face off, giving themselves a chance to tie late. Unfortunately Boston settled for a dodge and poor shot selection instead of working the ball around. It was a problem that plagued them often on Monday. Brian Phipps was outstanding all night in the cage for the Bayhawks (13 saves) and got a final stop. Chesapeake killed the rest of the clock to seal the win.
THOUGHTS AND WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The Cannons offense has an abundance of talent, but seems to be settling for low quality shots too often on offense.
The talent and speed is ridiculously clear, but often times on Monday the Cannons made life way too easy on the Bayhawks’ defense.
Phipps was phenomenal for the Bayhawks in goal, but the Cannons have a superstar goalie of their own in Nick Marrocco. Marrocco – like Phipps – had some highlight reel saves in this one, and will seemingly always keep his team in it. The former Duxbury Dragon had 14 saves.
After 20 turnovers in their first game the Cannons had 14 in this one. That’s also something that’s going to have to be addressed if they want to move forward this weekend.
One thing that did get fixed was the ground balls. The Cannons dominated that battle to the tune of a 45-36 win. Perhaps the most glaring stat though was 53 shots, but only 26 of them were on goal. That’s also going to have to improve if the Cannons have any shot at playing this weekend.
Boston has a quick turnaround with a 4 P.M. game on Tuesday against the 1-2 Philadelphia Barrage. It’s the first back-to-back game for Boston. Monday night’s game was delayed due to lightning and didn’t end until 10 minutes of 11. So it’ll be interesting to see how ready they are on Tuesday afternoon.
(QUOTES USED FROM CANNONS PR DEPARTMENT)