The Florida Launch broke their five game losing streak after beating the Boston Cannons 23-17 at FAU Stadium on Saturday night in their last home game of their inaugural season. Both Boston and Florida are now tied for fifth place with a 5-7 record.
Chris Eck gave the Cannons a strong start in the first fives seconds of the game after he won the face off and scored the first goal of the night, and his first goal all season. David Earl responded a few minutes later to put the Launch up on the scoreboard.
Between a Mario Ventiquattro goal getting called back for a crease violation and Boston’s Kyle Sweeney playing great defense in the shooting lane, blocking a Florida shot; it was obvious both teams were out for a fight as they both try to stay alive to earn a postseason berth.
The entire first fifteen minutes were a back and forth battle. Florida’s Steven Brooks scored a perfect post shot. But Cannon’s players Brent Adams, Paul Rabil, Ryan Boyle and Defender Scott Ratliff put Boston ahead by three coming into the second quarter.
Boston continued to pull away with a 6-2 lead after Adams made his second goal of the night. The three-goal streak by Boston was enough to light the fire for Launch rookie Kieran McArdle, who played arguably his best game to date in the MLL. In the first three minutes of the second, McArdle buried two goals for Florida.
The second quarter was filled with the most action on both nets. Casey Powell and Kevin Cunningham made their first goals of the night, and David Earl made his second. McArdle continued his stellar performance adding three goals and two assists before the half. McArdle tied the all-time record in goals scored by a rookie with a total of 30 so far this season.
Stephen Berger briefly shut down Florida’s three-goal streak with a bounce shot. However, despite Cannons goals by Adams, Will Manny, and Owen Blye, Boston was unable to extinguish McArdle’s fire and fell behind 9-11 at the half.
In the first few minutes of the third quarter, Florida’s Brett Queener made some major saves to continue the Launch momentum. Rabil and Adams attempted to stop the bleeding, but Jordan Hall, Roman Lao-Gosney and Steven Brooks worked to give Florida their largest lead of the game. Kevin Cunningham continued the Launch’s 5-0 run by making back-to-back goals. Boston’s Kevin Buchannan and Rabil put the Cannons back in the game with a couple goals to end the quarter 16-13.
Steven Brooks kicked off the fourth quarter with a wide-open shot on net to give Florida their four goal lead back, followed by two goals from Powell and one from Hall. Three more Florida goals gave them security and a nine goal lead, however, Boyle, Berger, and Manny went out fighting, racking up a few more goals before the final buzzer fixed the score at 23-17.
The Cannons will have a chance to redeem themselves when they host the Launch next Saturday, August 2 at 3:00 PM ET at Harvard Stadium. The game can be seen on ESPN3.com.
-There was a season high of five fouls called on four different players in a play in the fourth quarter.
-McArdle scored 10 points, five goals and 5 assists. His total of 30 goals this season ties the all-time record of goals by a rookie held by Kevin Huntley.
- Paul Rabil (52) and Casey Powell (54) are in a back and forth battle for the overall points lead for 2014.