By Natalie Johnson | 8/1/14 11:30 AM
Florida Launch at Boston Cannons
Saturday, August 2 — 3:00 PM ET — Harvard Stadium
Syndicated: Altitude, MSG+, Prime Ticket, SportSouth, SportsTime Ohio, CSN New England
The Florida Launch and the Boston Cannons will be meeting for the second time in eight days on Saturday, and both teams will be playing for their postseason lives. After Florida embarrassed Boston last weekend, winning by a score of 23-17, the Cannons will be looking for revenge in front of their home crowd.
Last Time Out
Florida: Although the Launch entered last week’s game on a five-game losing streak, they put that slump behind them with a resounding victory over the Cannons in Boca Raton. Florida had the edge in nearly every statistical category and put together a statement win, something they desperately needed as they look to remain in the playoff picture. Kieran McArdle led all scorers with 10 points (5 G, 5 A), but the Launch also had five other players who tallied at least four points in the game.
Boston: The Cannons came out firing, as Chris Eck won the opening faceoff and immediately scored the first goal of the night. They built a 5-2 lead in the first quarter, but allowed the Launch to storm back in the second, a quarter that would prove to be the catalyst for Florida’s win. Although Paul Rabil had eight points (3 G, 5 A), and Will Manny and Brent Adams each added a hat trick, it wasn’t enough for Boston to get the win.
Burn Cancer Week: In partnership with the HEADstrong Foundation, MLL’s first ever Burn Cancer Week will be from July 31-August 2. In order to raise awareness for the fight against all types of blood cancer, MLL players will be wearing lime green shoelaces, while coaches will be wearing lime green shirts. You can learn more about Burn Cancer Week here.
On the Bubble: Florida and Boston, along with the Ohio Machine, are still in the running for the final postseason bid. Although neither the Launch nor the Cannons can clinch that spot this weekend, either team could be knocked out of the race. Boston would be eliminated from the playoffs with a loss, while Florida would be eliminated with a loss and an Ohio win.
Extra Emotions: With postseason hopes on the line, this game is already guaranteed to be tense, but combining that high-stakes nature with the roughness of the last game between Florida and Boston means this matchup is sure to be a dynamic one. In the fourth quarter of last week’s game, there were 13 penalties, and nine of those were handed out in the final four minutes alone. Since that game is fresh in everyone’s mind, it will be interesting to see how much of last week’s action carries over to this game.
Players to Watch
Florida: Midfielder Steven Brooks, recently acquired from Chesapeake in the Kevin Crowley trade, has performed well with his new team, tallying nine points in two games with Florida. Last week, he had three goals and two assists, and was an integral part of the Launch’s win.
Boston: Veteran attackman Ryan Boyle tied his season high with four points last week, notching two goals and two assists. Although the majority of his 25 points this season have come from assists (9 G, 16 A), Boyle has an impressive .474 shooting percentage.
Florida: Just as he has all season, Casey Powell continues to lead the Launch with 54 total points and 29 assists. Standout rookie McArdle now has a team-high 30 goals. Chris Mattes leads the way with 79 ground balls and 167 face off wins, while Brett Queener has been the team’s primary goalkeeper this season, tallying 143 saves and a .532 save percentage.
Boston: Paul Rabil has a team-high 52 points this season, thanks in part to an MLL-leading 31 assists. The Cannons have four players with at least 20 goals: Will Manny (29), Kevin Buchanan (28), Stephen Berger (23), and Rabil (20). Defensively, Chris Eck leads the team—and the league— with 89 ground balls, and also has a winning percentage at the X of .585.
2014 Season Series
As mentioned above, the first matchup between Florida and Boston came last week, a game that the Launch won by a score of 23-17.
The Boston Cannons lead the league in assists (90) and total points (253) this season.
Florida’s 23 goals last weekend tied the 2014 MLL record for goals by a team in a single game. The Machine also scored 23 goals last weekend, although Ohio needed an overtime period to score that final goal.
Last week’s game between the Launch and Cannons was the most-penalized game of the season— players were given a combined 20.5 PIM.
If you’re going to Harvard Stadium to cheer on the Cannons, grab this awesome tee from the MLL Shop before the game! It’s the perfect way to show your team spirit, and it’s available in both youth and adult sizes. Get yours here or by clicking the image to the right.