By Max Jacobson | 6/19/12 2:56 PM
Watch & Follow: Syndicated TV: CSNNE, CSN Mid Atlantic, Brighthouse (6/24 12:20pm) ESPN3, Live Blog, MLL Radio
The Big Picture: The Chesapeake Bayhawks will host the Boston Cannons in a battle for first place on Saturday, June 23rd at 7 p.m. (ET). The Cannons improved to 5-2 after a 16-8 victory over the Hounds last week. The Bayhawks are currently on a 4-game winning streak after surviving a late burst from the Nationals in a 16-15 victory last week. Chesapeake sits atop the league standings with a record of 6-1.
This is the first time the Cannons face the Bayhawks this season. Last year, Boston defeated Chesapeake three times, including a 14-13 victory in the semi-finals that propelled the Cannons on to the Steinfeld Trophy. This match-up will be revisited next on Saturday, July 28th in Boston.
Boston Cannons: The Cannons are in unfamiliar territory this week as the underdogs against the Bayhawks but expect their championship experience to help them in this challenging match-up. Head Coach Steve Duffy added, “Our guys know what it takes to win in this league. They understand what they have to do to be successful.” The Cannons have kept nearly every player from last season’s championship team and continue to be centered on star midfielder, Paul Rabil. He has been particularly effective this year as a feeder, getting open opportunities for Ryan Boyle and Matt Poskay among others. Coach Duffy said, “Our guys understand that he (Rabil) is going to garner a lot of attention and if they can do the right things off the ball, then they will get chances to make plays.”
Players to Watch: Paul Rabil is the league leader in scoring with 38 points on 21 assists and 15 goals, including two 2-pointers. Also keep an eye on attack, Ryan Boyle, who rebounded from a rare 0-point outing two weeks ago with 2 goals and 3 assists against the Hounds last Saturday. Matt Poskay is another threat on the attack line. He has 8 goals in the past two games, including 5 scores last week. In the cage watch Jordan Burke, who made 15 saves and allowed just 4 goals against Charlotte on his way to winning Defensive Player of the Week.
Chesapeake Bayhawks: The Bayhawks view the Cannons organization as a bit of a measuring stick because of their outstanding success over the past few years. Head Coach Dave Cottle understands the stakes involved with playing Boston for first place but added, “On Saturday night, we just have to be the best team in the stadium. We don’t have to be the best team in the league.” This one game at a time mentality has propelled Chesapeake to a four-game winning streak and a league best 6-1 record. Midfielders Kyle Dixon and Steven Brooks have become reliable scoring options on the outside but have also proven the ability to make smart decisions and find open attackmen underneath. John Grant Jr. and Drew Westervelt have executed these open opportunities with great efficiency. Coach Cottle said, “We have good players on offense. We can score from out front or from behind so we can come at you a couple different ways.”
Players to Watch: Midfielder Kyle Dixon is currently third in MLL in scoring with 27 points after scoring a 2-point goal and adding 2 assists against Hamilton. Attack Danny Glading appears to be returning to his All-Star form of last season after recording 5 points last week as the Bud Light Player of the Game. Goalie Kip Turner will face his former team for the first time after playing in Boston for 5 seasons. He is coming off a 10 save performance in which he played the entire game for just the second time this season.
MLL will host its marquee event in Palm Beach County, FL this year on Saturday, June 30! To buy your tickets now, click here. To learn more about the 2012 MLL All-Star Game presented by Moe's Southwest Grill, click here. The 2012 MLL All-Star Game will feature the best lacrosse players in the world, all on one field and will be aired live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.