By Aly Morrissey | 4/26/12 3:14 PM
RATTLERS at CANNONS
Saturday, April 28 7PM
The Big Picture: This Saturday, the defending MLL Champion Boston Cannons will host the Rochester Rattlers who finished sixth in league standings last season. The Cannons won both match-ups over the Rattlers in 2011, including a 16-15 overtime thriller to end the regular season. The Cannons earned their first victory over the Rattlers in the fifth week of the season, coming from behind on Paul Rabil’s six-point performance to win 16-14.
While the Cannons retained the core of their 2011 championship roster this off-season, the Rattlers made big changes including the signing of legendary MLL attackman Kevin Leveille, who has scored 224 goals in the first seven years of his career (including four 30-goal seasons). The Rattlers also signed attackman Steven Boyle, who was a three-time All-American at Johns Hopkins and played in two Boston Cannons games in 2010.
Boston Cannons: For the first time in the league’s 12 seasons, the Boston Cannons begin the MLL season as reigning champions. “We’ve talked about having a target on our back,” said Head Coach Steve Duffy. “We know it’s not going to be like it has been in the past. But we have a strong group of guys and the character of the team will show through as we take it one game at a time this season.”
Coach Duffy takes over the reins for Bill Daye after serving as the team’s assistant coach for the past three years. Duffy was able to keep most of the team’s championship roster throughout the MLL Expansion and Supplemental Drafts including Paul Rabil, who was named as the 2011 Bud Light MLL MVP and the 2011 Warrior MLL Offensive Player of the year, both of which he won in 2009 as well.
Rochester Rattlers: The Rattlers have playoff potential this season, but need to get through the first four weeks with a short roster to realize that potential (the team will have eight players on the NLL Inactive list this Saturday). Their challenge in the first week of the season won’t be easy as the Cannons are returning the league’s most prolific offense.
“The season is two games longer this season, so the league starts two weeks earlier.” Rattlers coach Tim Soudan said. “That’s kind of put a strain on teams that feature players who play in both leagues. We feel like we’ve done a lot of good work in the offseason. We’re a lot deeper than we were last season, and we feel we have a roster in place that can come in and challenge Boston on Saturday night.”
Next Matchup: The Cannons and Rattlers will meet next on Friday, June 1 7PM at Sahlen Stadium in Rochester, NY.
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