By Rachel Villari | 4/26/14 10:00 AM
Chesapeake Bayhawks at Boston Cannons
Sunday, April 27 – 1:00 p.m. (EST) – Harvard Stadium
The Boston Cannons host the reigning Steinfeld Trophy Champion Chesapeake Bayhawks in one of two games Sunday afternoon to finish up the 2014 Faceoff Weekend.
Last Time Out:
Chesapeake: The last time the Bayhawks were in uniform it was to contend for their second consecutive League championship title. Superstars like Drew Westervelt, Ben Rubeor, and goaltender Kip Turner, who helped defeat the Charlotte Hounds 10-9 in the ultimate matchup last year, will return, this time alongside new faces such as Brendan Mundorf and Joe Walters.
Boston: The Cannons ended the season on an unfortunate note, dropping their final game to the Rochester Rattlers 23-14, and not qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in five years. During the game, midfielder Chris Eck recorded his 1,000th career faceoff win, as he tallied a 65% winning percentage for the game.
Rivalry Renewed: Matchups between the Chesapeake Bayhawks and the Boston Cannons always seem to be a bit tense. Both teams come from areas were lacrosse is prevalent and expectations are high. The Bayhawks are easily the most decorated team in the League, winning five Steinfeld Trophies, whereas the Cannons are looking to collect their second, despite multiple post-season appearances. As always, expect a neck-and-neck game until the very last few seconds.
New Beginnings: Both the Bayhawks and the Cannons should come crashing out of the gate this season opener. Chesapeake will be intending to uphold their consecutive championship honors while Boston will be looking to show the MLL world that they are going to bounce back this season.
Boston Revisited: After somewhat of an unfortunate season for the Cannons, who missed entry into the post season for the first time since 2008, Head Coach John Tucker is looking to turn a few things around. Tucker was appointed as the leading coach in June of last season, not giving him adequate time to rejuvenate the struggling team. Now, having an entire season to work with the Cannons, the entire team should be ready to come out running.
Players to Watch:
Chesapeake: The Bayhawks have a forceful offense, even after having lost John Grant, Jr. and Casey Powell. Last year nine players had over 20 points, Drew Westervelt leading the chase with 48 of his own. Attackman Brendan Mundorf should also join that category this season, with the help of newly acquired midfielders Stephen Peyser and Joe Walters. Look for Kip Turner to continue to shine in goal.
Boston: The greatest key to Boston’s success this year will be a fortified defense, which is sure to come with recently added six-time MLL Defender of the Year Brodie Merrill. In typical Cannons fashion, perennial All-Star Paul Rabil will lead the offensive charge, hopefully with a higher success rate with rookie stars Will Manny and Cam Flint now having a full season under their belt.
Chesapeake: As mentioned previously, nine Bayhawks were able to breach the 20-point milestone last season, Drew Westervelt leading with 48 points, earning him fifth place in collected points on the League leaderboard. Close behind him was Ben Rubeor with 41 points and 30 goals, and MLL sophomore Matt Mackrides, who also notched 30 goals. Kip Turner ended the regular season ranked third all-time for the lowest goals-against average earned in a single season with 10.35. As a Steinfeld Trophy winner at the end of the postseason, that number fell even lower to a solid 10 goals-against.
Boston: Although the Cannons had a rough season, midfielder Chris Eck was able to finish the year with a 59.8 faceoff winning percentage and a total of 113 collected ground balls, both career and Cannons bests. Even plagued with injury throughout majority of the season, Rabil was still able to accrue 54 points, earning himself third place on the League’s leaderboard, just a single point behind the first and second place. He was also able to pass the 300 career point milestone.
2013 Season Series:
Chesapeake and Boston split the two matchups last season 1-1, each team winning at home, but needing overtime to seal the victory. The first game at Harvard Stadium had a final score of 15-14, with Rabil leading the attack by collecting seven points (four goals, one two-pointer, and two assists). The second matchup saw Boston take the lead, but Chesapeake execute a comeback with the season debut of Casey Powell, who totaled four points (three goals and one assist), ultimately taking the W 13-12.
Boston is the only team not named the “Chesapeake Bayhawks” to have won the Steinfeld Trophy this decade.
The Bayhawks’ last two playoff losses were at the hand of the Cannons (2004 and 2011)