The visiting Western Conference Champions the Denver Outlaws (8-4) got caught on the short side of a one-way gun fight losing the much-anticipated showdown in front of 8,425 fans at Harvard Stadium. The Boston Cannons (7-5) ran the Outlaws out of town with a punishing 20-14 win taking full advantage of possession, face-off X specialist Chris Eck’s skills (23-37), and solid ball movement (12 assists). Bud Light MVP honors went to Cannon Matt Alrich (5g, 1a).
The Cannons punctuated their season with a hard and bittersweet finish, a mild consolation for a sideline seat on Championship Weekend. The Outlaws will return to Boston in two weeks for the MLL Championship Weekend as one of the four semifinalists. Boston will also host semifinalists the Barrage, the Rattlers, and the Riptide.
The Cannons came out strong and dictated the tempo and tenor of the game from the start. The Cannons and Outlaws combined to create 20 powerpoint play opportunities, a muscular indicator of the level of physical play start to finish. Boston moved the ball well on offense and capitalized on substitution mismatches, when the attack picked up short poles. Several Cannons had strong performances most notably Sean Morris (2g, 5a), Mikey Powell (3g, 3a), and Matt Casey (5g, 1a). Boston added some nice variety with the occasional use of the underrated bounce pass, which often falls short of proper execution as players move before the catch.
Boston out shot Denver 45-32. Outlaws goalie Jesse Schwartzman did his best to stave off the assault coming up with 22 saves for Boston’s Kip Turner’s 19 saves. The Denver defense tended to over play the ball triggering the early slide. The Outlaws were 1-9 on power plays, while Boston was 3-11. Brendan Mundorf led the Outlaws with 3g, 1a.
Boston was the first to strike winning the quarter 4-1. Boston got off to strong start lighting up the board and the crowd with a quick series, working the ball, beating the slide. Powell bounced the pass to Matt Casey who dished off to Morris on the crease. Morris finished with a righty dump over Schwartzman (1-0). Boston’s Dane Mangin added another goal going low stick side (2-0). Denver responded with a goal from Tom Ethington, who got the rebound off of a Turner save on a Mundorf shot (1-2). Boston wrapped up the first quarter with two one-two combos getting goals from Casey both assisted by Morris (4-1). Schwartzman seemed to be up to date on his Rabil shots denying his former teammate of goals on the run.
Denver tied Boston 5-5 in the second. Denver’s Brian Langtry was the first to score in the second off a pass from Peter Striebel. Langtry brought his shoulders up for the fake and then shot underhand low offside (2-5). Boston responded with a pair from Alrich (Powell) and Morris. Powell posted up at X passing off to Alrich who finished with the back door quick stick high (6-2). Morris took Lee Zink 1v1 who overplayed Morris. Morris shot off the face-dodge on the slide (7-2). Denver’s Matt Brown responded off a pass from Ryan Powell at 10:12 on a cut into the hole followed by a quickstick low (3-7). Boston put up three more goals from Casey, Poskay on the powerplay, and Powell. Powell glided in through the defense finishing off with overhand shot. Denver also posted up three more goals off the sticks off Snider, Mundorf (Powell), and Brown. Geoff Snider wins the f/o runs down shooting stick side hip.
Boston led at the 9-6 at the half and dominated in the third with a prolific 7-3 output. Mikey Powell kicked off the third getting the crowd on their feet with a spectacular goal. The double zeroes went head to head, Powell taking Cocoziello on the ISO topside. Powell got the inside roll tucked his crosse in finishing with a backhanded shot on the righty dive (10-6). Rabil finally banked a shot on the run (11-6). Casey and Powell added a pair of goals. Denver’s Mundorf scored starting from X and finishing with the righty bouncer (7-13). Bud Light MVP Matt Alrich scored off a pass from Powell faking left and shooting righty (14-7). Outlaw Jeff Sonke scored on a big 2-pt goal on the powerplay unassisted (9-14). Alrich scored the last two goals of the quarter both assisted by Morris (16-9).
Denver edged out Boston 5-4 in the fourth quarter, but it would prove to be too little a little too late. Poskay scored the first goal in the final period (17-9). The chance of a Denver comeback was looking slimmer with every goal. Denver’s Josh Sims responded with a pass from Snider going stickside low (10-17). Alrich scored his fifth goal of the game off a pass from Powell at 3:26 (18-10). Langtry answered with a righty bounce shot. Casey Cittadino is credited with the pass (11-18). Rabil capitalized on an EMO side-arm crank (19-11). Denver was able to convert shorthanded off a goal from Ethington (Mundorf). Boston got their last goal of the season on a Casey-Christmas combo (20-12). Denver logged out with two more goals from Mundorf and Brown (shorthanded from Powell) for a final score 20-14 Boston.
Boston Cannons vs. Denver Outlaws
|Brendan Mundorf||(3, 1)|
|Matt Brown||(3, 0)|
|Ryan Powell||(0, 3)|
|Brian Langtry||(2, 1)|
|Jeff Sonke||(2, 0)|
|Geoff Snider||(1, 1)|
|Tom Ethington||(2, 0)|
|Josh Sims||(1, 0)|
|Casey Cittadino||(0, 1)|
|Peter Striebel||(0, 1)|