Chesapeake will host a rare weeknight game on Thursday night as the Boston Cannons head to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to face the 2-0 Bayhawks.
It will be the return to Chesapeake for Cannons goalie Tyler Fiorito, who began his career with the Bayhawks and was acquired by Boston in a trade this past post season. Fiorito picked up his first win in a Cannons uniform in week two when he helped lead the team to a 13-12 victory over the Atlanta Blaze at Harvard Stadium.
This game also marks the return for Cannons defenders Brodie Merrill and Mitch Belisle. Merrill’s Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League did not make the post season, while Belisle’s Georgia Swarm were defeated in the quarterfinals last week.
The returns of the defensive duo will result in a different looking lineup, as backup goalie Jack Murphy and defender Andrew Sellers were both removed from the roster, and attackman Greg Rogowski was moved to the practice roster.
Challen Rogers, a midfielder who led Stony Brook with 37 assists this season, will make his MLL debut and be the Cannons first rookie to suit in 2016. He is expected to be the fourth offensive midfielder in the rotation.
Joe Walters will be the first NLL player to return to the Bayhawks after his Rochester Knighthawks missed out on the post season. Jason Noble, coming from the Georgia Swarm, should also make his MLL debut this week. Chesapeake is led by Matt Danowski, who scored eight points in week one against Atlanta, and Alex Love, who is having a strong first professional season. Rookie Nick Osello netted three goals in the 12-8 victory over Florida last week, while Matt Abbott added four of his own.
Chesapeake averages 12 turnovers per game, the least out of any team in the league. The veteran roster has Brendan Mundorf and Drew Westervelt both healthy and contributing to the roster as they hoped would happen in 2015, but Chesapeake went 6-8 to miss the playoffs by two games.
The Cannons offense overall is led by Will Manny, tied for fourth in the league with 12 points and tied for second with six assists. Max Seibald, the team’s captain along with Manny, broke out against Atlanta with five goals, including a two pointer as a part of a three goal run of his own in the second quarter.
Brian Phipps will oppose Fiorito in net, coming off of an 11 save game against Florida. Phipps was added by the Bayhawks from Ohio in the offseason after they traded Fiorito and saw Kip Turner retire.
The last time these two teams played, Boston took a 9-8 victory over Chesapeake in July to clinch a playoff spot. Now, the Cannons look for their first road victory while the Bayhawks attempt to remain undefeated.