Di Miller, MLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: Pretty Instant
On Saturday August 10, the Atlanta Blaze (6-5) headed into Boston to face the Cannons (6-4). Boston was sitting atop the standings and this was the chance for Atlanta to knock them out of the top spot. The Cannons had been the successor in game one between the two and the Blaze in game two. With every game important at this point of the season with all teams vying for one of four playoff spots, leading a series 2-1 can help with that quest. Boston had early leads in the two previous meetings and Atlanta had turned the tables with a six-goal run in the first. Final Score: Blaze 14—Cannons 13.
This game was certainly a game of runs. Although the Cannons were the first to strike, the Blaze would come back with a six goal run silencing the Boston fans and leaving the Cannons to wonder where the Atlanta offense came from. Mark Cockerton (2G) would start it off for Boston at the 13:59 mark with a nice lefty finisher from the right wing. Unfortunately for the Cannons, the Blaze would score six unanswered, with Shayne Jackson (4G, 1A) getting it going at the 13:28 mark off a nice BTB assist from Mark Matthews who just came over from the Lizards. Next to score for Atlanta was Christian Mazzone (2G, 3A); Tommy Palasek (2G, 4A); Brendan Sunday (2G) off the caused turnover by Leo Stouros who sent a nice entry pass to Sunday with the catch, cradle and rip putting them up 4-1. Liam Byrnes (1G), long pole D middie would notch his second of the season with a rip past Nick Marrocco at 6:52; and Jackson would get his second as he released up high hitting the right side of the cage only 48 seconds later. The Cannons newcomer James Burr (2G) would halt the run at 3:35 with his first career MLL goal and it was a beauty. Kyle Denhoff created the space on the dodge allowing Burr to make the shot; and he would notch his second with only 32 seconds left in the frame as he got the ball on the rebound, turned and fired over the left shoulder of Madalon. Boston would get one more with 3.1 seconds left on the ticker off Will Sands (1G, 1A) who made a nice shot with his shoulders going up the field, stepping away from the cage, fired back across his shoulder beating Madalon near side pipe. The stats were fairly even in the first with Boston leading in shots on goal 8-7; face-offs Boston 6-11; but the Cannons held a nice lead in ground balls 14-9. Score at the end of one: Atlanta 6—Boston 4.
Atlanta’s offense had fallen apart in the second, but their defense and stellar net-minding by Chris Madalon would shut out Boston in the second and they’d go onto score another three. The ball went north and south for over nine minutes before Jackson would notch his hat-trick breaking at 9:14 the scoring drought for the Blaze would had not scored since there was 6:04 remaining in the first. At the 8:50 mark, Madalon made three stellar highlight reel saves in tight going from side to side stunning the Cannons bench. They would score two more before the end of the first half. Jackson would notch another with the backdoor cut off another BTB pass from Matthews at 6:27; and with 1:29 left in the half, Palasek snuck up from behind the cage and hit low from goal line extended between Marrocco and the pipe giving them another five goal lead. Boston would still lead in the stats category leading 6-5 in shots on goal; 10-5 on ground balls; 5-7 on turnovers; and at the face-off dot the teams would match 2-4. Score at the end of two: Blaze 9—Cannons 3.
Boston would finally get back on the board after a 15:32 minute scoring drought. Kyle Jackson would send the feed to Cockerton who straddled the crease putting it over the shoulder of Madalon at 14:22; Denhoff (1G, 1A) got a nice feed from Sands who was set up at “X” and in front of the cage had a nifty slam dunk with the fake right to left 6-9; and Zed Williams (2G, 1 2ptG, 1A) would get his first of three at 11:42 with an off speed bounce shot closing the gap to two 7-9. The Blaze weren’t ready to relinquish and would put up two more, Mazzone would get his second going away from the cage at 10:44; and Brian Cole (3G) would finally get on the board with a crease dive dodge and got his stick around Marrocco and was able to stay above the crease putting them back up 11-7. Matthew Bertrams (1G) would notch his first goal of the 2019 season for Boston at 9:20 off a quick restart and a burst of speed, the Blaze missed their slides and he’d fire a shot past Madalon, but that would be it for Boston in the third. Atlanta would put up three more with Cole notching a true hat-trick, the first off a lob pass from Palasek at 6:12; and the final of the frame at the 2:26 mark with a low hard shot off the down screen. The Blaze had regained their five goal lead with 15 to go. Stats at the end of the third had Boston and Atlanta tied at six apiece with shots on goal; four apiece on turnovers; face-offs were 4-5 in favor of Boston; and Boston held a healthy lead in ground balls 30-24. Score at the end of three: Atlanta 13—Boston 8.
In the final frame the Cannons would start it off with another three goal run. Williams started it off with two. The first at 14:02; and the second on a man-up off the push penalty on Atlanta, Williams would fire a two-point shot with a step down and rip right past a stunned Madalon to get them to within one 13-12. The Blaze would fire back four minutes later with Sunday getting his second off a righty shot off the left wing increasing the gap back to two 14-12. But Boston wasn’t going away and Kyle Jackson (1G, 1A) would get his only one on the night on the rebound diving through the crease; and their final goal would come from Challen Rogers (1G) driving from “X” as he’d come around the cage and put the ball in far side low at 5:56. The remainder of the fourth was all defense as both teams played solid man-defense and the net-minders held strong in cage. With time running short, Williams would get hit with a technical hold in front of the cage as he put a one-handed wrap check on Mazzone resetting the shot clock at 60 seconds. Atlanta would have the ball, but lose possession with 54 seconds remaining on an off-sides call and change of possession. With 34 seconds on the clock, Madalon made a fantastic save and the Blaze would hold possession of the ball giving them the victory. Final Score: Blaze 14—Cannons 13.
Boston Cannons: 26 SOG; 40 STOT; 39 GB; FO 15-30
Atlanta Blaze: 20 SOG; 35 STOT; 32 GB; FO 15-30
The Atlanta Blaze (6-5) heads north to face the New York Lizards (3-8) at James Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, NY, on Saturday August 17, game time 7:00 p.m. EST. This game can be seen on www.laxsportsnetwork.com
Boston (6-4) will head to Annapolis to face the first place Chesapeake Bayhawks (7-3) at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, also on Saturday August 17, game time 7:00 p.m. EST. You can catch the action on www.majorleaguelacrosse.com
Di Miller, MLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©