Boston Cannons vs. Long Island Lizards
May 22, 2004
The Game Story:
The Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse beat the Long Island Lizards 17-16 in their season opener, in front of a Cannons record 6,312 at Boston University^s Nickerson Field. The Cannons earned the win on the strength of Tim Byrnes^ game winning, behind the back ^ no look goal with just eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Cannons trailed 13 ^ 10 heading into the fourth quarter. Boston took its first lead of the game on a Steve Dusseau goal with 1:42 remaining.

Long Island^s Jay Jalbert, the 2003 MLL MVP tied it for the Lizards with 32 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Boston took possession on a Peter Inge face off win and with eight seconds remaining Chris Rotelli found Byrnes for his Picasso-esque game winner. It was Byrnes^ only goal of the game.

^Going to Syracuse I^ve seen the Powells taking those shots (Casey and Ryan),^ said Byrnes. ^I^ve seen guys like (Cannons Midfielder Kevin) Leveille do it in practice. I guess it was the right time for me to bring that shot out. The bottom line is that we won the game and sent this great crowd home happy.^

The Cannons outscored the Lizards 6-3 in the fourth quarter to earn the win. Midfielder Kevin Leveille scored two goals in the game^s final quarter to power the Cannons.

^We were working hard,^ said Leveille. ^We try to be the best conditioned team in the league and I think it showed in the fourth quarter. We were there both mentally and physically.^

Conor Gill and David Evans led the way for the Cannons with five points apiece. Evans earned his points on the strength of 3 goals, one of which was a momentum change two-pointer with 7:32 left in the third quarter, to go along with an assist. Gill recorded a goal and four assists. Chris Rotelli was strong in his Cannons debut assisting on three goals including Byrnes^ game winner. Michael Watson had 3 goals and Mike Battista notched two.

^It was a great way to christen our new stadium,^ said Battista. ^To come to Boston and get a win like that in front of a huge crowd, it^s a great feeling. I think all of the fans tonight will definitely come back.^

The Cannons opened the season at a new venue, but the result was the same. All four Cannons season openers in the franchise^s brief history have been decided by one goal. Boston improves to 3 and 1 in season openers and 2 and 1 in home openers.

Not be lost in the midst of pretty game winning goals and gaudy offensive numbers is the work of faceoff guy Peter Inge. Going against the MLL^s top faceoff guy, Chris Cercy, Inge simply won 28 of 34 faceoffs, an 82% clip. For good measure he also picked 11 ground balls.

^I^ve worked hard all offseason to get in shape,^ said Inge. ^Now that I have a year of MLL experience under my belt of feel a lot more confident. It was a great way to start the season.^

Long Island was led offensively by Jalbert who scored 4 goals. Andrew Wasik, Conor Denihan and Tim Goettlemann all notched two points apiece. Brian Dougherty had a huge game between the pipes with 23 saves.

The Cannons started the game flat, despite trailing only 3-2 after one. Boston had difficulties in the second quarter. They were outscored 5-2 and trailed 8 ^ 4 at the half. Boston trailed by as many as 5 goals (10-5 with 10:23 left in the third) before mounting a comeback.

^It was a great win, but we we didn^t play our best game,^ said Hiller. ^We^re happy to get the win, but just like last season^s opener, it was exciting, but we now we can do more.^

The Cannons made it 10-8 after an Evans two-pointer with 7:32 remaining in the third quarter, which was followed by a Battista tally that cut the lead to one with 1:27 to go in the third.

The next Cannons game is Thursday May 27 against the Bayhawks in Baltimore. The game begins at 7:30, coverage on the Boston Cannons Web Radio Network starts at 7:15.