Di Miller, MLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: John Zumbado
The Atlanta Blaze (4-4) returned home on Saturday July 13 to host the Boston Cannons (5-2) in the hopes of turning around their two game slide. They had dropped their previous two contests both by one goal in the last few seconds and this game would be no different. Each team was coming off recent losses and both were looking to rebound. This was a game of runs, with Boston having runs in the first, third and part of the fourth; whereas Atlanta would dominate with a run in the second and the last part of the fourth. But it was that strange hockey style goal as the buzzer sounded at the end of the third that would be their fate and they would lose the contest. Final Score: Cannons 17—Blaze 16.
The Cannons jumped out quickly going on a five-goal run in the first with Mark Cockerton (4g, 1a) at the 12:41 mark. They’d go on to score four more, the next from John Uppgren (1g) as he circled around the back side of the cage faked high and shot low blowing it past Chris Madalon two minutes later. Challen Rogers (3g, 1a) would be next; and Connor O’Hara would put up back-to-back goals giving the Cannons the lead 5-0. At the 6:24 mark, Tommy Palasek would draw the slide which allowed Randy Staats (1g, 2a) to put a laser past Nick Marrocco five-hole halting the run 5-1. The Blaze defense had tightened up a bit which allowed Atlanta to put up one more from Christian Mazzone (2g, 1a) who worked around the body check sending one low to high 5-2. Boston answered back quickly with Cal Dearth (2g) who took an aggressive drive to the cage, wound up high shot low and the ball trickled in past Madalon extending the gap back to four. With 35 seconds left in the frame, the Blaze would put two more on the board, one from Brendan Sunday (4g, 3a); and the last one with 20 seconds off Liam Byrnes (1g, 1a) who took advantage of the ground ball and found the opening to bring Atlanta to within two. Score at the end of one: Boston 6—Atlanta 4.
Atlanta dominated the second with a five-goal run of their own, but it took almost six minutes to get it going. Palasek started it off with a nice feed to Sunday who had the hard shot to the cage; and then Sunday would notch his hat-trick at the 5:22 mark from top middle as he let it rip on a man-up goal. The Blaze would get their first lead of the game on the turnover and heads up play by Byrnes to scoop the loose ball and the pass to Shayne Jackson (3g) on fast break at 4:29, 7-6. At the 3:55 mark, Bryan Cole (1g, 1a) would tip-toe around his defender, fake right and went left over the shoulder of Marrocco for another; and Staats would send a nice behind-the-back pass to Jackson up field for the goal at 3:12 giving them a three goal lead. With 1:12 left in the half, after not having scored since 1:08 in the first, Boston would get on the board on a man-up goal with a feed from Will Sands to Cockerton who was hanging on back side of the pipe closing the game to two. Score at the end of the first half: Blaze 9—Cannons 7.
A tale of two cities as we head to the third and the Cannons would dominate hands down. Atlanta would start this one off and it would turn out to be their lone gone of the contest. Mazzone would fight his way through traffic and bounced it past Marrocco as he was falling to his knees at 11:54 putting them up by three 11-7, and the curtain dropped on the Blaze in the third. Boston would go on a six goal run and see goals from: Will Sands on a man-up set play with O’Hara behind the cage to Sands who was wide open in front of the net at 10:39; Rogers; Dearth who would tie the game at 10 apiece at the 5:43 mark; Cockerton with the hat-trick at 3:13 and the lead 11-10; Kyle Jackson (1g) would make the shot as he was falling and also drew the penalty; and Cockerton to close it out at the buzzer with what was somewhat a controversial goal. They was a scrum for the ball in front of the cage as the clock was winding down, Cockerton made a “hockey shot” shoveling the ball into the net, and as the clock showed “0.00” the ball had not crossed the plane of the goal. However, after further review, the officiating crew determined that the start of the shot occurred before the clock showed zero and therefore, the goal counted. This is a goal that could have been the turning point in the contest. Score at the end of three: Boston 13—Atlanta 10.
With the fourth quarter remaining, Atlanta needed to get their offense going and their defense back on track like they did in the first when they halted the Cannons run. Zed Williams would open it up for Boston and continue the run 25 seconds in; Zach Goodrich (1g) was left wide open in front of the net and was able to plant and fire; and Cockerton on a 5 on 3 gave the Cannons their largest lead in the contest 16-10 at the 10:46 mark. But the run wasn’t over yet as Rogers would score one more on the 10 goal run with some good foot work behind the cage and with his great stick work was able to make his way to the cage at 9:20 giving them a seven goal lead. It was all just about over for Atlanta when they’d find a way to stop the run and go on one of their own. Sunday would stop the run off a rebound on a shot by Dearth on the Blaze cage which rolled to midfield; he’d grab the loose ball, pump fake and fire on cage snapping the 10 goal run. Then on a man-up situation, with a nice feed from Sunday to Dylan Maher (two 2-pt goals) would hit one five-hole on Marrocco at 4:48; Jackson would score on the doorstep 17-14; and on the identical play and another man-up, Sunday and Maher would team up yet again with Maher sending another two-point shot past Marrocco at the 2:03 mark getting them to within on 17-16. The penalty that occurred allowing the Blaze to go on the man-up was a two minute unnecessary roughness (non-releasable) for a hit to the head by Ryland Rees.
This is where it got even more exciting. Boston would call a time-out with 1:20 left on the clock. They’d turnover the ball for a clearing violation with 1:04 left in the contest. Nick Marrocco would be called for a penalty, most likely on the clearing violation and Tate Boyce who had seen no action between the pipes all season would head to the cage. He’d face a 3 on 5 situation with Shayne Jackson all alone in front of the cage with 33 seconds left on the clock and made the save of the season. Jackson was on the right side of the cage, made the shot and Boyce made the slide and stopped the ball in the netting of his stick, the Cannons gained possession and would control the ball for the remaining 30 seconds and the game. Final Score: Cannon 17—Blaze 16.
So how important was that controversial hockey style goal at the end of the third as the clock showed “o.oo”?
Blaze—SOG 18; GB 39; FO 19-33; FOW% .576; TO 23; PP 2-6
Cannons—SOG 30; GB 38; FO 14-33; FOW% .424TO 16; PP 1-3
Blaze: Chris Madalon—SOG 30; SV 13; SV% .566%; GA 17
Cannons: Nick Marrocco—SOG 19: SV 3; SV% .157%; GA 16
Cannons: Tate Boyce—SOG 1: SV 1: SV% 1.000%: GA 0
This was the first of four meetings between the two teams who will face each other three more times, the next two in Boston on July 20 and August 10; and the last in Atlanta on September 14.
You can catch the Atlanta Blaze (4-4) as they head up to Boston to face the Cannons (5-2) on Saturday July 20, game time 5:00 p.m. EST and the game will be televised on www.laxsportsnetwork.com
Di Miller, MLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©