The Cannons entered their 4 P.M. game against the Philadelphia Barrage on Tuesday with a bit of an advantage.
Philly had played in each of the first four days of the week-long season/tournament. Meanwhile, Boston had played only their second game until about 11 P.M. on Monday night. But still, the Cannons technically entered as the fresher squad.
Despite the slight advantage, both teams looked sluggish at times with sweltering temperatures. The Cannons trailed by two with less than eight minutes remaining in the game, and unable to build any real momentum on offense. Yet somehow, Boston found a way to pull out a thrilling 12-10 win.
The win moved Boston to 2-1 in their five game “regular season” schedule. The Cannons have games against Connecticut and Denver remaining Thursday and Friday. The top four teams then head to the semifinals Saturday.
Boston led 4-3 at the half, but trailed 9-7 after three quarters.
Bryan Cole made it 5-3 Cannons early in the third, but Philly rattled off four straight to go up 7-5. Mark Cockerton cut it to 7-6, but the Barrage soon pushed it back to 8-6. Bryce Wasserman cut it to 8-7 but Philly again answered late for the two-goal lead heading into the final 15-minutes.
With 11:28 remaining in the game Bryan Cole finished a backhanded diving goal to cut the deficit to 9-8. Phlly then appeared to go up 10-8, but the goal was called back after goalie interference. The Barrage went up 10-8 for real with 7:48 to go, but Boston wasn’t going down that easily.
Kevin Reisman soon began to put on a face off clinic (he won 16) to help spark the Cannons’ run. With 5:06 left Cockerton finished a feed from Bryce Wasserman to make it 10-9. Just 47 seconds later a face dodge and rip in transition for Randy Staats tied the game at 10-10. 1:05 later the Cannons took the lead for good on a lefty laser from Reilly O’Connor. A bounce shot from John Uppgren gave Boston some huge insurance to make it 12-10 with 1:38 left.
Philadelphia had one final possession to try and tie things up with a two-pointer, but Nick Marrocco (13 saves) made a key save and Boston ran out the clock for the thrilling comeback win.
“We’re still getting used to each other but things are starting to click,” said Cole. “That’s ultimately what you’re looking for as a team, seeing that ball start to move and guys starting to find where each other are on the field. Everyone’s dealing with the same heat and everyone’s playing the same amount, so at the end of the day there’s no excuses.”
THE EARLY STAGES
This was a goalie showcase early on as Marrocco and Philly goalie Chris Madalon (11 saves) were spectacular all afternoon.
Cole opened the scoring early with a diving shot to make it 1-0. O’Connor added a low lefty rip for the 2-0 lead before a late Philly goal made it 2-1 after one.
Both goalies continued to keep their teams in it until they were able to get adjusted to the heat. Philly made it 2-2 with 9:05 remaining in the half. Long stick midfielder Scott Corcoran came up with an interception on the defensive end and went coast-to-coast for a long pole goal to make it 3-2. Philly answered, but a goal from Wasserman with 26 seconds left in the half made it 4-3 Cannons heading into the break.
THOUGHTS AND WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Reisman’s face off game has been big for Boston in the first three contests. The turnovers (18 of them) are still extremely high. It feels like those are eventually going to come back to hurt, but they haven’t yet.
Marrocco is an absolute game changer in the cage for Boston. Any time the teams needs a big stop to try and spark some momentum it’s always nice to know you have a goalie back there that can give it to you.
Wednesday’s day off is a perfect time to regroup and watch some film. Boston’s next game is against a below-average Connecticut team. A win over them would make the game against a much tougher Denver team far less stressful on Friday.
Overall, the Cannons’ offensive weaponry is extremely impressive and the defense seems to be finding its stride. If Boston can limit turnovers and work shot clocks a bit more, instead of rushing things at times, it feels as if they have as good a chance as any of the teams to take home the title on Sunday.
(QUOTE USED FROM CANNONS PR DEPARTMENT)