By Max Jacobson | 7/5/12 1:55 PM
Watch & Follow: Syndicated TV: Cable 14 (Sun 7pm), CSNNE, Altitude, Brighthouse, ESPN3, Live Blog
The Big Picture: The Boston Cannons will visit the Hamilton Nationals in a championship rematch of last season on Saturday, July 7th at 7 p.m. ET. The Cannons dropped to 5-3 after a late comeback fell short in a 14-13 loss to the Bayhawks. The Nationals hope to rebound from two consecutive losses that have left them at 2-5.
The Cannons defeated the Nationals 18-9 earlier in the season. Last year, the Cannons defeated the Nationals to win the Steinfeld Trophy and look to continue their recent success against Hamilton on Saturday coming off of the All-Star break.
Boston Cannons: The Cannons look to bounce back after losing two of the previous three games before the All-Star break. Head Coach Steve Duffy understands the importance of regaining momentum going into the second half of the season and wants his team refocused after their time off. Led by star midfielder Paul Rabil, the Cannons boast an impressive offensive attack that features a number of capable goal scorers.
Players to Watch: Rabil,the league leader in scoring, has 46 points on 25 assists and 17 goals, including four 2-pointers. Also keep an eye on attackman Kevin Buchanan, who finished with 2 goals and 2 assists in a loss to Chesapeake two weeks ago. Ryan Boyle is another threat on the attack line and is currently tied for fifth in the league in scoring with 27 points on 9 goals and 18 assists. Keep an eye on Jordan Burke in net who currently leads MLL in goals-against average (9.57), saves (104), and save percentage (.578).
Hamilton Nationals: The Nationals are a completely different team than the one that faced the Cannons earlier in the season. Their top offensive performers, Joe Walters and Stephen Keogh, have returned and give Hamilton a dangerous attack as they look to make a push in the standings and reach Championship Weekend in Boston. They have already made improvements since opening the season 0-3 but must continue to make a consistent effort each week.
Players to Watch: Midfielder Joe Walters has played in just four games this season but leads the Nationals with 21 points on 10 goals, including a 2-pointer, and 10 assists. Face-off specialist Matt Dolente will go up against Chris Eck for a second consecutive week after winning 17 of 35 face-offs against the Cannons star in last week’s All-Star Game. On defense, watch for MLL’s all-time leader in ground balls, Brodie Merrill. The veteran has continued his effective play this season but will have his hands full trying to contain Rabil.