The sight of an ambulance pulling into the crease at Cawley Memorial Stadium (Lowell, MA) underscored the end-to-end clash between the Rochester Rattlers (2-2) and Boston Cannons (2-2). Cannons goalie Bill Daye (UNC 93’) went down in the first period suffering from a 'neck stinger.' The game had all the makings of a post-season style classic with a 2-point long stick goal from Rattler defender Brendan Shook (JHU 01'), a handful of technicals, a third-period crowd taunting “No More Powell,” the exciting debut of rookie play maker Connor Gill (UVA 02’), a half-time dead-heat 10-10 tie and the intense poetry of Coach Arsdale. Rattler John Fay (Duke 98’) led Rochester with 4g, 1a while Mike Regan (Butler 00’) led Boston with a 4g (one 2-pointer), 1a.
The evening had somewhat of an off-tempo beat on and off the field. The game started on a semi-flat note with a time delay due to technical difficulties and the absence of the pre-game laser light show. Injuries and periodic timeouts offset the rowdy 3,572 on hand who, at times, got so worked up by the prime time hot-doggin’ and the players’ shenanigans. Prior to the game, Rochester and Boston suffered hits to their roster due to injury. Cannons midfielder Brian Silcott (Nazareth 93’) broke his jaw during practice and Rattler Ryan Powell would be making his first appearance after missing the first two games due to a knee surgery. The blow to the Boston bench came with the first period injury of starting goalie and team anchor Bill Daye. Reserve goalie Kevin O’Brien (Georgetown 99') finished with a respectable 7 saves. You would have to wonder if the outcomes would have been different if Daye were in goal given the razor-thin margin. This loss follows another heartbreaker. Boston dropped their home opener to the Long Island Lizards 13-15 last week. Regardless of the results, the Cannons have had to fight hard for every game. The two Boston wins came from their first game against the Lizards (16-5) and an overtime 19-18 victory against Bridgeport. Rochester entered the game with a 1-2 record. The Rattlers lost on June 7th to the Bayhawks 10-13 and a week later against Baltimore 13-17. The Rattlers snagged their first win last Saturday against New Jersey 15-7. Powell fired it up late in the second half starting a nine-goal run against New Jersey and scored his sixth goal in the fourth quarter.
There was no clear favorite entering the game. Rochester was coming off a win against New Jersey and the Cannons had a tough loss against Long Island. Given the radical turnaround by the Boston club, the 2001 results against Rochester were really too weak to base any predictions. In 2001, Rochester defeated Boston twice, 9-8 (OT) and 16-9. In a 2002, pre-season scrimmage, Boston tied the Rattlers 9-9. According to the balance sheet items and discounting game injuries, Rochester played on overall tighter match. Mike Regan from the Cannons confessed, “We had our chances, but in the end, they were able to capitalize and we weren’t.” The Cannons had 55 to Rochester’s 41 shots on goal. Rochester had 16 to Boston’s 10 saves. Boston failed to cash in on their 10 EMO attempts to Rochester’s 4. Possession was key. Rochester edged out Boston 31-21 on grounders and face-off wonder Chris Cercy (Syracuse 01’) was doing the job.
The Rattlers wasted no time getting pumped up and seized immediate control of the game with three-unanswered goals at the start of the first period. Rochester gained possession of the face-off and scored within 10 seconds off a fast-break opportunity. Chris Schiller (Penn State 99’) fed John Fay (Duke 98’) who was rightside top. Fay gunned one in that hit upper 90 (1-0). Ryan Powell who was already fired up à la John Starks scored the second goal nearly one minute later. Fay was trying to roll the rightside crease when the double team forced him to cough up the ball, but he managed a tight and short pass to Powell who was in the hole. Powell went behind the back past Daye’s rightside hip (2-0). Rochester scored again on another fast break series. The Rattlers were able to capitalize on the transition more effectively on Boston and that was in most part due to the ability of Rochester keeper Brian Dougherty’s (Maryland 97’) ability to get the ball in play quickly. Matt Hahn (Maryland 98’) found Fay downfield. Fay lined up the low roller past Daye with a diving finish (3-0). Play got a little sloppy when players traded technique in for overly affectionate loose ball attempts. The go-to-2-point guy for Boston did it again. Mike Regan who was assisted by Battista (Loyola 00’) cut the margin down to one as he cranked on in from rightside top that hit lower right corner (2-3). Battista scored the equalizer with a goal that hit lower right (3-3). Rochester gained possession of the face-off and Powell worked the crease from behind hard and finally got a shot off that hit top shelf (4-3). Powell topped off his goal with a friendly-reminder-to-the-ref-on-what-constitutes-slashing-chaser. Fay worked the same shot on the opposite side nailing the bouncer (5-3). Nate Watkins (Maryland 02’) challenged on the right drawing the double. Watkins used his height advantage and got the turnaround jumper (6-3). It was at this point in the fray that Boston keeper Bill Daye sustained his injury (6:15). When play resumed, Rochester scored within 15 seconds. Powell assisted Hahn who shot hip high past Cannons keeper Kevin O’Brien (7-3). Boston responded with an impressive behind the back goal from Bill Edell (Umass 94’). Edell was assisted by Connor Gill (UVA 02’) who threaded the needle to an open Edell on the crease (4-7). Fellow Minuteman alum Brendan Glass (Umass 97’) followed with two goals. Glass snagged the loose grounder in the hole and faked Dougherty high and took him low (5-7). Glass capped of the dive with a bouncer off an assist from Marshall Abrams (Syracuse 01’) and with that narrowed the margin to one (6-7). Powell closed out the scoring bonanza in the first when he unleashed the fury with a back leg curler that high right corner (8-6). Jake Bergey was credited with the assist (Salisbury State 98’). With 44 seconds remaining, Boston’s Battista and Rochester’s Watkins both got pulled for unsportsman like conduct when the two got hot and heavy on an off-ball tango.
The intensity picked up in the second quarter with wall-to-wall “slashing” and some loose-lipped comments. Bill Edell had a nice one-handed midfield interception, which momentarily interrupted the sloppy play. John Fay was first to hit the boards in the second period with an assist from Powell. Fay hit the open cage when O’Brien was late to recover from a dead play (9-6). For the following seven minutes, the Boston defense logged in some overtime hours defending the cage. Rattler Charlie Lockwood (Syracuse 94’) finally broke the scoring embargo with bouncer snagged off a rebound (10-6). Dave Evans responded with a radar-breaker. John Madigan (Umass 01’) dished off to Evans who then singed upper 90 for the nasty and much needed 2-pointer (8-10). Rookie Connor Gill scored on a bouncer reducing the margin to one (9-10). Boston secured the tie going into the half with the sweetest shot of the game. Gill held the ball behind just a step outside of the crease. He threaded the needle with a no-look pass and got it passed Dougherty to Edell who finished with a behind the back (10-10).
Mike Regan kicked off the third period with a goal for Boston. Regan weaved in and out of five o’clock traffic to finish with a bouncer (11-10). Rochester gained possession of the face-off and the intensity picked up. The Rattlers broke it down on a 1-4-1 during man-up. Rochester turned over the ball and Connor Gill gave some homage to the alma mater and took a Watson-esque dive on a reverse stick. Unfortunately, the ref denied it. Rochester’s Hahan scored on man-down goal when he snagged the grounder for a low shot (11-11). Boston would then jump ahead by two. Tim Byrners (Syracuse 00’) used the screens up high and fired away for the lower left corner (12-11). Regan was credited with the assist. Madigan scored his second goal of the game for the Cannons with a high hard one that hit top right (13-11). Rochester got a clutch equalizer from long stick defender Brendan Shook (JHU 01’) who fired the 2-pointer in the top left corner (13-13). Possession would flip-flop and Powell would easily draw a triple. His reaction to the calls (or lack thereof) would elicit “No More Powell!” chants from the crowd. Veteran Tim Soudan (UMass 90’) broke the tie. Soudan setup up top and dipped the right shoulder and let loose a nasty one that hit top right corner (14-31). Conor Denihan scored the game-winner for Rochester. As he was moving left, Denihan crossed over for a lower left corner shot (15-13). Mike Regan came up big for Boston yet again as he weaved in and out of defender for a diving bouncer (14-15). The ball changed possession several times and Boston wasn’t able to convert. Final score Rochester 15 Boston 14.
Boston will face the Baltimore Bayhawks next on July 4th in Baltimore. The Bayhawks were defeated by New Jersey last night and stand at 4-2, while Boston advances with an .500 record of 2-2. On July 5th, it will be a Powell Brothers Camp production with the Rattlers facing off against the Lizards
Boston Cannons vs. Rochester Rattlers
|Ryan Powell||(3, 2)|
|John Fay||(4, 1)|
|Matt Hahn||(2, 1)|
|Brendan Shook||(2, 0)|
|Tim Soudan||(1, 0)|
|Jake Bergey||(0, 1)|
|Nate Watkins||(1, 0)|
|Charlie Lockwood||(1, 0)|
|Conor Denihan||(1, 0)|
|Chris Schiller||(0, 1)|