[BOSTON CANNONS MEDIA RELEASE]
Featured Image Photo Credit: Pretty Instant
Will Sands five points not enough to take Atlanta at home
QUINCY, MA – Despite a 7-7 tie at halftime, the Blaze used a four-goal run in the third quarter to fuel a 15-12 win over the Cannons at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Cannons pulled it close late in the fourth, but late penalties and turnovers hurt Boston as they go 1-1 versus Atlanta for 2019.
“I think a big thing [in] this game was unforced turnovers. We had quite a few of those,” said Cannons Head Coach Sean Quirk. “Giving them those possessions, Atlanta’s got a great offense, so they capitalized off that. And then groundball opportunities. Groundballs are possessions, possessions are goals, and goals are wins. We just didn’t win that battle today. We got to play a little bit tougher and bounce back from this one.”
The Cannons started the first quarter on a four-goal run, with Will Sands opening the scoring with his eighth goal of the season 3:08 into the game. Connor O’Hara put the Cannons up 2-0 a little over two minutes later after defenseman PT Ricci rushed the field in transition, creating the scoring opportunity. John Uppgren faked out Chris Madalon to bury his sixth of the season with 7:57 left, and then Mark Cockerton scored his team-leading 25th goal of the season to put the Cannons up 4-0.
Atlanta scored its first goal of the game with 4:37 left, as long-pole Leo Stouros beat Nick Marrocco on a fast shot from just inside the two-point arc to end Boston’s run. Christian Mazzone cut the Cannons’ lead in half after taking the ball to the cage on a run in from behind the goal with 4:00 left.
The Cannons responded with a big shift from Zach Goodrich and James Leary. After the two rushed the ball out of the defensive zone, Leary fed Goodrich, who wrapped it around the Atlanta goal before firing his third of the season through Madalon. This gave the Cannons a 5-2 lead at the end of one.
After Matthew Whitcher scored to cut the Cannons’ lead to 5-3 early in the second, O’Hara tallied his 20th goal of the season to give Boston a 6-3 lead with 9:10 left in the quarter. Then, Atlanta scored the four of the last five goals in the second to make the score 7-7 at the half, with tallies from Colton Jackson, Randy Staats, TJ Comizio, and Bryan Cole.
After some back and forth action to start the third, the Blaze finally found the back of the net with 10:47 left, as Shayne Jackson scored to give Atlanta its first lead of the night. The Cannons turned the ball over with the defense out of position. Boston responded with a nifty between-the-legs goal from Zed Williams and a rushing goal by Sands to take a 9-8 lead with 6:32 remaining in the quarter.
Tommy Palasek tied the game with 2:33 to play in the third, and scored twice more in the next 1:11 to give Atlanta an 11-9 lead. Jackson buried his second of the quarter with 44 seconds left to give the Blaze a 12-9 lead through three quarters.
“We knew they were a good team,” said Marrocco. “We tried to play more of a full game, offensively and defensively, but obviously it’s a game of runs. We had a run at one point, and we knew they were going to go on a run, and they did. It’s lacrosse. That’s what happens. They got a couple lucky bounces. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top.”
Staats scored his second of the game at 10:31 of the fourth to give the Blaze a 13-9 lead. Atlanta rushed the field and made a few quick passes to get around the Boston defense before Staats put the ball in the back of the net. The Cannons responded less than a minute later on Williams’ second of the night, as the midfielder caught a blooper pass from Cockerton and found a lane to shoot through Madalon to pull within three.
Challen Rogers scored the next two goals for the Cannons to make it a one-goal game with 4:45 left, but the Blaze capped off the game with two goals from Jackson in the last 2:23 to earn the win.
With the loss, the Cannons fall to 5-3 on the season with the All-Star Break next week. The Cannons will use this time to rest up and get healthy so everyone is prepared when games resume on August 3.
“Going into the All-Star Break, you get some rest,” said Quirk. “You regroup a little bit and refocus. The last two weeks, playing four games, it’s a grind. We just got to be ready to go come the second half of the season for sure.”
The Cannons will be represented by Cockerton, Kyle Denhoff, James Fahey, Goodrich, Marrocco, Justin Pugal, Ryland Rees, and Kevin Reisman in the All-Star Game next weekend. Denhoff, Fahey, and Reisman are all currently on injured reserve, but news regarding their All-Star status will be posted on BostonCannons.com and MajorLeagueLacrosse.com.
The Cannons return to action on Saturday, August 3 in Denver, CO at Mile High Stadium.