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MLL Recap: Boston Cannons and Denver Outlaws squeak out close wins

The Boston Cannons secure a win to get back over .500, while the Outlaws remain unbeaten and secure a playoff spot.

Photo courtesy of MLL

Boston Cannons 12, Philadelphia Barrage 10

Coming into Tuesday at 1-1, the Boston Cannons needed a win to remain in the playoff hunt, and a win is exactly what they got. Each team struggled offensively in the first quarter as the Cannons took a 4-3 lead into halftime.

The third quarter would consist of multiple lead changes, as both teams would hold a two-goal lead at some point. As the fourth quarter progressed the Cannons would bring it even at 10-10 with 4:19 to go thanks to a beautiful goal by Randy Staats. A minute later Staats would find Reilly O’Connor for the go-ahead goal bringing Boston their first lead since early in the third. John Uppgren was able to add one more goal with 1:38 left on the clock to put the game out of reach.

Finding A Rhythm

Bryan Cole struggled to find his rhythm in Monday night’s game missing some open looks he was visibly upset with (2 goals on 6 shots), but Tuesday he was nearly unstoppable (3 goals on 4 shots). Not only did his shooting percentage improve dramatically, he led all Boston players in scoring. 

When asked if something contributed to Cole’s overnight transformation, Coach Quirk mentioned that “It’s really six guys getting used to each other…I’m proud of the offense and especially Bryan.” 

Same Team, New Jersey

The idea that the players are starting to gel after only five days together is impressive, and Cannon midfielder Kyle Jackson thinks that it is no coincidence.

“A lot of us have played together before like for example, Bryan Cole, Reilly O’Connor, myself, Randy (Staats), we all played together at the Hill Academy.”

It’s no surprise then that the high-powered Boston offense seems to rely on the players to generate offense as the group scored half of tonight’s goals.

Barrage Looking Up Despite Loss

Despite losing the game and moving to 1-3 for the week, the Barrage were again competitive throughout. Not only did they lead the Cannons for most of the second half, but they also created nine turnovers, and scored on 50% of their extra man opportunities. If they the Barrage hope to have any chance of winning their next game against the Lizards (Thursday, 4pm), they will need to bring it all together and find a way to play a full and complete game.

Denver Outlaws 12, New York Lizards 11

The Outlaws continued what seems to be a revenge tour as they improved to 3-0 after surviving tonight’s tilt against the Lizards. After a well-earned day off the Outlaws looked to secure a playoff spot, but would have to do so without starting FO Max Adler (league decision, player safety). Replacing Adler at the dot was Casey Dowd, a late addition to the Outlaws roster.

“Casey has been great, the first day he went 9 for 11, today he’s battling, he’s doing great, we’re thrilled with Casey,” Denver GM Jon Cohen said.

The Lizards seemed destined to find their first win of the week as they had a 6-4 lead at halftime. The third quarter was all Outlaws as they battled to tie the game 7-7 on a diving goal by Ryan Lee, and ended the quarter with a 10-7 lead. 

Whatever momentum Denver had going into the fourth disappeared when they were forced into a weather delay. When action returned the Lizards would make a run but couldn’t quite catch up as they fell 12-11 in the final seconds. 

The game ended in controversy when officials called a penalty for a moving screen on Nicky Galasso with 30 seconds left in the game. The Lizards would turn the ball over to seal their third straight loss. Other players including Lyle Thompson took issue with the controversial call.

New York will now have to win out to earn a playoff spot. Fortunately, their final two games are against the winless Connecticut Hammerheads and 1-3 Philadelphia Barrage, with their final game on July 23 against the Barrage poised to have major playoff implications.

New Faces, Same Outlaws

In the final moments leading up to training camp the Outlaws were able to secure the services of West Point grads Tom Rigney and Miles Silva. 

“The addition of these two has been massive, Silva had three in his first game, Rigney looks like as good of a defenseman that we’ve ever brought in here. We’ve asked him (Rigney) to play some tough guys already and he’s done a great job,” Cohen said.

Along with Silva and Rigney, Denver is benefitting greatly from the play of Dan Bucaro. Bucaro missed last season due to injury and has had a hat trick in each of his three games as an Outlaw, and this is just the beginning.

“He’s a beast, he’s a super gifted player, and I think the more he settles in and gets comfortable in a professional setting I think he’s only going to take off and continue to excel,” Outlaws defender Michael Rexrode said.!d08fd

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