Last week, I asked if it was time for the Boston Cannons to panic, but after this past weekend, it looks like the crew from Beantown is hitting their stride again. So what changed, and how can Boston keep their winning ways going? Can they get better?
Photo Credit: Cecil Copeland
Sure, I can see how one win doesn’t mean that the Cannons are “back”, but if you look at the way they did it, you too may become a believer.
The Cannons have long had excellent leadership on the team, and their veteran players definitely brought it against Rochester. Ryan Boyle, Mitch Belisle, Paul Rabil, Matt Poskay and Kyle Sweeney all played with passion, and toughness, and their desire to win shone brightly when Charlotte got close late in the game, 9-7. Boston had been letting teams back in to games, but here they buckled down, and stuck it out.
Will Manny continued to look good, and his movement down to attack provided instant offense, and another dimension to their scoring. Manny should continue to put pressure on defenses, and this will only open up other players more, as the second half of the season rolls along.
Rabil played a lot more midfield, and even though his scoring went down, the TEAM looked much more dangerous. Drawing two defenders up to him allowed for the rest of the guys to get good looks, and Rabil was often assisting the assist. Mike Stone showed up in a big way, and that is not a coincidence. Stone is very talented, and becomes a huge threat when he is not the primary concern of the other team.
Defensively, the Cannons looked much better. They still extended out, and got burnt for goals at times, but more often than not, they were able to force dodgers into more predictable shots, and this resulted in some fantastic saves by Jordan Burke.
Kyle Sweeney and Brian Farrell continued to produce points with the longstick, and Scott Ratliff was tenacious when he played down low. His quick feet and active stick make him an exciting option for the rest of the year, and he fits the Cannons aggressive defensive system to perfection. Sweeney’s jumping takeaway on Matt Danowski was the best of the year. I re-wound the DVR and watched it at least 8 times.
But the biggest difference for Boston? Brent Adams. Holy smokes! He gave up one or two goals, and got beat for good shots one or two more times, but other than that, Adams was lights out for a guy getting dodged on so much. He scored a great goal in transition, and gives Boston a short stick D-mid with legit offensive potential. Adams is insanely quick, and while a bit light, he reminds me of Matt Abbot, and I think he could be a true difference maker the rest of the way.
Overall, the Cannons didn’t change all that much. They still played aggressively on defense, and gave up some goals because of it. They got offense from their longsticks, but also from a SSDM. The O looked more fluid, and the midfield was dangerous. Cam Flint saw more time, and joined the man up unit, where he made an immediate positive impact.
Most importantly, the Cannons played a full game, and never let up, or got into a slump where a lack of passion hurt them. Guys seemed excited to play again, and they circled the wagons nicely. Of course it’s easy to do that when you’re 1-5, and have a brand new coach. But what happens now?
With New York coming to town, the Cannons will have to do it all over again. NY is looking great after playing an intense game with Hamilton, and this is going to be a true test for Boston. It’s two teams, both bent on playing passionate lacrosse, as they know it’s their key to success. Who wants it more? This weekend, it pretty much just comes down to that.