Photo courtesy of Major League Lacrosse
The condensed Major League Lacrosse season came to a close on Sunday as the Boston Cannons winning their first championship since 2011 with their victory over the Denver Outlaws 13-10.
The championship game looked to be in jeopardy of not happening after mutliple players on the Chesapeake Bayhawks tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the league’s semifinal tilts. When the dust settled, both the Bayhawks and Connecticut Hammerheads decided to back out of tournament play. These departures left the Cannons and Outlaws, which was supposed to be one of the semifinal match-up, to play for the championship.
Despite advancing to the championship, the Cannons were not without casualties of their own as five members of their team decided to leave the MLL bubble for safety reasons, including Randy Staats and Bryan Cole. Boston was left with only 20 players going into the game against the Outlaws.
Despite the depleted roster, the Cannons were able to hang with the high-powered Denver offense thanks to a five-goal performance from John Uppgren. The Tufts alum came up big for the short-handed Cannons, matching his entire goal total on the week in the championship.
Denver’s Dan Bucaro continued his dominant rookie campaign, leading the Outlaws in scoring with Chris Aslanian, who both notched a hat-trick in the season finale.
Boston looked as if they would run away with the victory midway through the 3rd quarter. Boston had been on a 9-2 run before the Outlaws scored 3 goals in under a minute to get back into the contest at 11-9. The final of those 3 goals came of the stick of FO Max Adler, who went 14 of 25 from the X.
The 3rd quarter saw the end of the scoring, as both offenses did not find the back of the net in the final 15 minutes of play. This was thanks of in large part to the play of both goalkeepers. Cannons’ Nick Marrocco made a handle of stellar saves late to clinch the title for Boston.
Despite the loss, goalie Christian Knight gave Outlaws’ fans something to look forward to in future seasons, as the first year start cemented his spot as Denver’s starter after making 13 saves in just over 3 quarters of action.
Following the contest, Commisioner Sandy Brown awarded Boston’s Bryce Wasserman the week’s MVP honors. The Texas native finished the day with a goal and an assist despite breaking his hand midway through the third quarter.
“I hope every kid watching can take from my story. I didn’t grow up in a hot bed area. I went to Monmouth. I just never took no for an answer,” Wasserman said. “Here I am. 2020 champion and MVP. I hope that that’s something they can see and follow.”
Nick Marrocco’s big day
Boston goalie Nick Marrocco started the day on the right foot, stopping the first shot he saw in the opening moments of Sunday’s championship tilt and did not look back. Marrocco came up big when the Cannons need him the most. The veteran stopped 10 shots on the day, including stuffing John Grant Jr. on the doorstep on three different occasions.
One last goal, for old times’ sake
John Grant Jr. scored and an assist to close out his career on Sunday. Junior came out of retirement to play in what was his 20th season in the league. The all-timer has been the one constant in the history of Major League Lacrosse, and will continue to influence the league from the Outlaws’ sideline in future season as he will continue on as an assistant.