The Boston Cannons kept their playoff hopes alive with a 16-15 win over the Florida Launch on Saturday afternoon at Harvard Stadium. Stephen Berger and Kevin Buchanan led the Cannons with four goals and one assist each while Casey Powell netted eight points (4g, 4a) for the visitors. Launch rookie Kieran McArdle set the record for goals by a rookie in a season with his lone tally of the day and 31
st of the season.
The first half belonged solely to the Boston Cannons, who completely dominated the field offensively and defensively. The Cannons got it going early with a goal from Berger merely 17 seconds into the game. Buchanan and Kyle Sweeney followed suit, putting the Cannons up 3-0 in just under two minutes of play.
Powell and David Earl, both unassisted, got the Launch up on the board. Unfortunately, Florida didn't find the net again until the second quarter. Four unanswered Boston goals followed from a wave of offense and truly outstanding ball movement to end the quarter 7-2 in favor of the hosts.
The Launch showed some life in the second quarter, but still couldn't manage to quiet the raging Cannons. Buchanan and Berger both found the net again, ending the half with four goals each. Kevin Cunningham showed some energy on offense, notching two goals for the Launch. The half ended with the Cannons holding on to a five-goal lead up 10-5.
After a quick spin move, Florida’s Jordan Hall kicked off the third quarter with a cross dive goal to beat goalie Jordan Burke. Boston answered right away with a goal from sophomore sensation Will Manny, attempting to savor the five-point lead. With a noticeable shift in the Launch, the Cannons weren’t able to savor it for long. Steven Brooks and P.T. Ricci notched two consecutive goals for Florida, closing the gap and hinting at a comeback.
Manny found the net again twice to keep Boston in the game, but Florida kept fighting back with a goal from Powell and Chris LaPierre closing the third down by three at 13-10.
Boston’s faceoff specialist Craig Bunker opened the third quarter with a goal of his own a mere eight seconds in, followed by a tally by Brent Adams that would bring the gap back to five.
The Launch however did not let up as Earl, Powell and Steven Brooks scored three back-to-back to bring the visitors within two. Boston responded with another Adams goal with less than three minutes left in the game.
Florida, however, did not give up and scored two more with Powell and McArdle but it was not enough for the visitors to seal Boston’s fate and take the season series fixing the result at 16-15 for the Cannons.
The Cannons will have to win their last game of the season next Saturday, against the Rochester Rattlers in hopes to earn that fourth and final playoff spot. The Launch have to wait for the result of Saturday’s nightcap to find out if they can still qualify for the postseason as an Ohio win over Rochester would eliminate them. Florida’s final game of their inaugural season will be at Ohio on Saturday, August 9.
-Jordan Burke recorded 15 saves on his way to earn Coca-Cola Player of the Game honors.
-Kieran McArdle recorded his 31
st goal of the season which broke the record for goals by a rookie in a season held by Kevin Huntley since 2008.
-McArdle also tied the record for points by a rookie set by Boston’s Ryan Boyle in 2004 at 45.
-The Cannons won the faceoff battle with Craig Bunker taking 18 and Florida’s Chris Mattes winning 17 of 35 total faceoffs.
-Boston went 1-2 in man up situations while Florida went 0-2
-The Cannons are 3-5 in one goal games this season, The Launch are 1-2.
-The game featured lime green nets, coaches wore lime green polos and select players used HEADstrong branded Warrior gear in honor of #BurnCancer Week, a partnership between the HEADstrong Foundation and the MLL to raise awareness for all forms of blood cancer