Jared Welsh, LTR Mid-Atlantic
As the field temperature at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium rose to 120 degrees, the New York Lizards took on the Boston Cannons in Annapolis. The second game of a triple header in the week long Major League Lacrosse week long tournament. The Lizards came out shooting in their isolation style offence. Lizards rookie Colin Burke (Fairfield) turned heads with a couple of upper corner goals that challenged the strength of the goal netting. New York also received a goal from another rookie, Leigh’s Andrew Pettit to end the first quarter up 5-3 with the help of Connor O’Hara and Brendan Kearns. Boston getting goals from Mark Cockerton, Bryce Wasserman, and Challen Rogers.
Mark Ellis kept the scoring going for New York to open up the second quarter. It would be the first of five back and forth goals for the pair of teams until Boston used two back to back goals from Wasserman to pull with one at 8-7. The scoring streak would not last long as Colin Burke ripped off his third goal of the game with a time a room shot that any lacrosse player would wish for. As the quarter wore on, the physicality and chippy play started to pick up with Boston serving a trippin and unnecessary roughness penalties to go along with pushing and shoving from both sides after many whistles. Scott Corcoran would end up scoring the first 2-point goal of the 2020 tournament for the Cannons, but the Lizards would take a 12-9 lead into the locker room at half.
It was Boston’s Mark Cockerton who took advantage of a great pick to score a wide open goal to pull the Cannons within two just minutes into the third quarter. However, a mix of sloppy play and good defense by both teams rattled off over 8 minutes of scoreless play until Cockerton scored again off a Randy Staats assist to make it 12-11 New York. The Lizards would not go down quietly as Dylan Malloy dodged and muscled his way to his second goal of the game less than a minute later. Connor O’Hara would add another New York goal. Boston would answer back with some flare as Randy Staats connected with Kyle Jackson for the behind the back goal. The quarter would end 14-12 New York.
The final stanza continued the chippy play that even included Boston’s goalie Nick Marrocco coming out of the crease to throw his weight around. The scoring would begin almost five minutes into the quarter as Randy Staats was given too much room to step into a shot. Boston was now within one goal. A face-off violation and a flag down would lead to the Cannons tying the game as Staats found Jackson on the crease. Jackson was able to beat Austin Kaut with three quick fakes to bury the goal. An eight minute scoring drought by the Cannons was broken by another Cockerton goal, is fourth of the game with only 1:44 to play and gave Boston the lead, their first lead since 1-0 in the first quarter. The insurance goal game just a minute later as Bryce Wasserman also collected his fourth. Them game would end with Boston taking the 16-14 win.
After the game Bryce Wasserman said, “this was an interesting game for us as a team, there’s a lot of guys from this Cannons team last year, but obviously myself included there are a lot of new pieces. We really only had four hours to mesh together as a team, and Randy Staats was only there for two of them. This was a unique game because we were learning how to play with each other while playing against another team”. The Cannons spent almost the entire game playing from behind or tied. “We know what we have, we have some of the most talented in the league and in the world in general. We never lost faith in that and I think we just stayed composed because we knew what we had, it was just going take time”, Wasserman said. Cannon’s goalie Nick Marrocco said of the new players and shortened pre-season, “it’s tough when you have new guys, trying to develop team chemistry in two days isn’t an easy thing to do”. He continued, “the mentality coming in, it’s going to be a grind, but a lot of it is mental. We have a lot of guys that have experience playing pro lacrosse, we can bounce ideas and settle the boys down when things aren’t going well”.
The Cannons (1-0) will take on the Bayhawks (1-0) on Monday at 7pm on ESPN+. The Lizards (0-1) will face the Bayhawks tomorrow at 1pm on ESPN2.