7/3/13 12:00 AM
Cannons vs. Hounds
Face Off: 8:00 pm EST
Fan Zone Opens: 6:00 pm
Broadcast: Live on ESPN2 & ESPN3.com
Click here to download game notes
The Cannons could not have picked a more opportune time to make a run. Heading down the stretch with just five games left, Boston is 4-5 following a three-game winning streak and is poised to steal a playoff spot. Their opponent this week, the Charlotte Hounds, are coming off a 17-11 loss to the Denver Outlaws, who have completely run away with the number one spot. The Cannons are currently tied for the fourth playoff spot with the Hounds, who are also 4-5. On this holiday weekend, a showdown in Boston will feature two hungry contenders. Will Boston claim their independence over the final postseason seat?
You may be thinking, “How can this Cannons team, who is now fighting for a playoff spot, be the same team that opened the season with a 1-5 record?” The answer is simple—it’s not the same team. The turnaround, and the winning streak, began when head coach John Tucker took the reigns. He made his coaching debut against these same Charlotte Hounds and, since then, Tucker and the Cannons have gone 3-0.
“It helps me tremendously, not only to watch teams on film, but to be up and close with them personally—that’s a different animal,” said Coach Tucker, commenting on the advantage of having faced Charlotte once this year already. “It’s going to be a good challenge, a chess match for them both.”
Additionally, the injection of several young draft picks into the lineup has energized the veteran Cannons and completely changed the team dynamic. The attacking, fearless style of the first-years compliment the star-power of the established players. The team has meshed well, learning each other’s tendencies and playing off one another. Everyone is playing smarter lacrosse with fewer careless, unforced turnovers.
Nothing demonstrates the great skill that these rookies possess more than the two consecutive Rookie of the Week honors that Will Manny and Cam Flint have received. Manny won it against the New York Lizards on June 21st with a five-point (one goal, four assist) performance, while Flint earned the honor last weekend in Ohio for his five-point (four goal, one assist) performance.
“The Boston organization has taken some heat about their drafting, but I want to give a tremendous compliment to what Steve [Duffy] and Kevin [Barney] did this year,” said Tucker. “Flint does just a little bit of everything well—he gets the ball off the ground, defends, scores, obviously. He is not only extremely gifted and talented but he’s also a phenomenal young guy.”
Just three weeks ago, the Cannons traveled to Charlotte to face the Hounds in their first meeting of the season. Boston closed out a three-game road trip in Charlotte, coming away with a 15-13 victory.
The start of the game began like so many have for the Cannons this season—a quick and early deficit. Down 4-0 eleven minutes in, the Cannons finally got on the scoreboard with a Will Manny strike. Brent Adams would score at the end of the first, but the Cannons remained four goals behind after one.
The second quarter was a completely different story. Mike Stone came out firing, hitting the back of the net three consecutive times to open the frame. Kevin Buchanan scored twice and Brian Farrell added another, as the Cannons went into the half leading 8-6 and posting a shutout during the quarter.
In the third, the Cannons again scored three straight goals, sandwiched between two Hounds’ goals this time, but Boston hung on to the lead entering the fourth, 11-8. Rookie Cam Flint opened the scoring in the fourth as he notched his first career goal. PT Ricci scored his first of the season and the Cannons survived a late comeback attempt by the Hounds to leave Charlotte with the start of a winning streak.
One noteworthy aspect from this first contest was the absence of Paul Rabil’s name on the score sheet. The Hounds held him to zero points, but the Cannons’ were successful regardless, in large part due to the contribution of nine different scorers. The Cannons’ win streak began when their star player was not able to produce, a telling fact when it comes to Boston’s recent success. While Rabil was forced to contribute in other ways, the rest of the Cannons had to step up. They gained needed confidence knowing they were able to pull off a win despite Rabil’s woes. Since then, the Cannons’ have shared the ball and relied on each other, knowing that every player is equally capable. This camaraderie and trust in each other has been the key to the streak.
On this historic weekend, it is appropriate for Paul Rabil to be on the verge of Cannons history. With two more points he will break the Cannons’ all-time points record of 282, which is currently held by Conor Gill. Will the Hounds hold Rabil scoreless again or will he claim the all-time points crown?
On this Independence day weekend, the cannons control their own destiny. Will you be there to watch? Get your tickets today!