By Rachel Villari | 7/3/14 12:00 PM
Boston Cannons at Denver Outlaws
Friday, July 4 – 9:00 p.m. (ET) – Sports Authority Field at Mile High
WATCH: CBS Sports Network
The Boston Cannons (4-5) look to even out their record as the push for the playoffs commences and split the season series with the Outlaws (7-2). Coming off of a recent loss, Denver hopes to bounce back and close out the sweep.
Last Time Out:
Boston: In what seems to be a recurring situation, the Cannons completely buckled in the fourth quarter against the Charlotte Hounds, allowing their hosts to score nine goals and ultimately take the game 15-12.
Denver: Although the Outlaws are still at the top of the League, they lost their second game of the season to the Rochester Rattlers last weekend, falling 14-19 to rookie Jordan Wolf and his offensive barrage.
Team USA: Six players in this upcoming matchup will be teammates soon enough in Denver, Colo. for the FIL World Championship Games, starting July 10th. Donning the red, white, and blue from the Cannons are midfielders Paul Rabil and Kevin Buchanan, faceoff specialist Chris Eck, and defenseman Mitch Belisle. The Outlaws will firm up the backend of the team with defenseman Lee Zink and goaltender Jesse Schwartzman. Watch these players battle head to head this weekend, and then alongside one another in Denver.
A Few Two Many?: Denver has now lost two games, which is the most regular season losses the team has compiled since 2012, in which they only lost three and kicked off their 25-game winning streak. Does this depict any downward movement in the powerhouse team?
Boston’s Cannons: It just so happens that the League’s leader in goals plays on the same team as the League’s leader in assists. Additionally, it also just so happens that both players are peaking at the same time. Buchanan shares the top of the League leaderboard in goals with Ohio Machine’s Peter Baum, both with 26 apiece, while Rabil heads in assists with a whopping 42. Rabil has fed 10 of Buchanan’s goals this season, two of which have been scored on the man-advantage. The only weeks in which the two did not combine for some kind of point were Week 2 and Week 6; however they both still helped out and scored independently.
Players to Watch:
Boston: While the Hounds focused on grounding Rabil in Boston’s visit to Charlotte last weekend, top guns Buchanan and Manny continued to do offensive work. Buchanan scored two goals and Manny netted a hat trick, Brent Adams and Stephen Berger also stepping up and putting two away. Keep an eye out for Eck, who continues to reign king of the ‘X’. Against the Hounds he came away with 16 out of 25 faceoffs.
Denver: Eric Law and Drew Snider were offensive threats against the Rattlers in their last game, Law completing a hat trick and Snider netting four goals of his own. Although the Outlaws lost and Schwartzman was pulled midway through the game, the Team USA goaltender continues to lead the League with the fewest goals against average (9.75)
Boston: Rabil, Buchanan, Manny and Berger lead the Cannons roster in points and goals. Rabil has collected the most points with 42, followed closest by Manny with 34, then Buchanan (32) and Berger (27). Buchanan leads the team (and the League) with 26 goals, seconded by Manny with 20, and then Berger (18) and Rabil (16). Brodie Merrill has the most groundballs collected (38) behind faceoff specialist Eck, who has 69 including his battles at the ‘X’.
Denver: Law leads the Outlaws in points with 36, followed by Jeremy Sieverts with 28, and then John Grant, Jr. with 25. Law also leads the team in goals with 25, followed by Snider (18) and Sieverts (16). Schwartzman has the fewest goals against average in the League, as well as the best save percentage (.627).
The Cannons and the Outlaws have met once before this season, in a closely matched overtime game that favored the Outlaws. The game was back and forth, Denver scoring three goals in the first to Boston’s one, and then the reverse happening in the second. After a higher scoring second half, the teams were tied at nine goals apiece until Denver attackman Chris Bocklet was able to notch the game-winner less than a minute into extra time.
· The League’s leaders in goals and assists are both members of the Boston Cannons. The offensive threat Buchanan and Rabil pose will be important for the Outlaws shutdown.
· Eck still leads the League in most faceoffs won, having gone at least 60% in his past three games. Going up against Anthony Kelly, FOGO for Denver, who is currently ranked third will promise to be a good showing. Should the game favor a certain side, the leaderboard may look differently come Tuesday.
Planning on catching the fireworks over Sports Authority Field at Mile High? It might get a bit breezy, so be sure to suit up with this Denver Outlaws hoodie, available here!