After getting off to a good start to the season, the Boston Cannons have suffered a setback. Boston fell at home for the second time this season on Saturday night, a 17-14 loss to the Charlotte Hounds. The loss comes after Boston had scored 21 goals the week before against Atlanta, and it is the second loss this season to the Hounds.
“It was [a game of runs].” said head coach Sean Quirk. “Part of our game plan today was to wear Charlotte down. They were coming off a tough Thursday game where they lost to Ohio. That was part of our game plan, we were coming off of a great win. To drop two to Charlotte is certainly disappointing, but our guys will bounce back from this. They’re resilient. They’ll come back like they have a few times when we go down to New York.”
Once again the Cannons jumped out to an early lead, with Josh Hawkins scoring his first of three goals just ten seconds into the contest. The Cannons took a 3-1 lead on a two point shot from Max Seibald, but three straight goals from Charlotte stole the momentum.
Boston led 7-6 following an opening quarter full of scoring and physicality from both teams. Greg Melaugh scored his first goal at home while James Fahey, a long pole, scored his fourth of the season. The game was tied 9-9 at the half, the score reflecting a tight game on the field.
After a back-and-forth third quarter that included the second goal of the season from Joe Nardella, the game was still deadlocked 11-11 going into the final frame.
Boston scored three straight goals off of faceoff wins from Nardella, all of them on transition immediately following the draw wins. Two in a role came from long pole Brodie Merrill, followed by a tally from Hawkins, his third on the night.
Charlotte would go on a three goal run from there, taking a three goal lead and never looking back. The Hounds went on the man advantage and that gave them the momentum for the rest of the contest, with the Cannons getting a man advantage opportunity dissolved after a turnover.
Tyler Fiorito made ten saves on the night for the Cannons while Charlie Cipriano of the Hounds made 20, including eight in the third quarter when the Cannons scored just two goals. Boston scored seven in the first, but just seven overall in the remaining three quarters.
“To Charlotte’s credit, they do a really good job of taking up space defensivley pressing out,” said Quirk. “We just tried to spread them out a little bit more than we normally would on man up. Cipriano was making great saves in the cage for them. A couple of times I thought we forced it a little too much, but they did a good job defending us.”
Joey Sankey and Mike Chanenchuck each scored five points for the Hounds, while Joe McCallion picked up a hat trick. Pat Young from Maryland made his MLL debut and scored one goal.
“It’s become a good rivalry,” Quirk said. “I think us losing to them the first game of the year had our guys playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder that we want to beat these guys. It is a physical game, I think it’s like that every time we step on the field. Our guys want to compete every 60 minutes, and that’s what we preach in the locker room.”
Boston is back in action this Saturday when they head to New York to face the Lizards the first time this season, and will return next Thursday night to host the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
“We’ll get back to work on Friday,” said Quirk. “These guys are resilient, they’re competitors, when we go against New York next Saturday we’ll go back to the drawing board, refocus ourselves, individually and collectively. The guys in the locker room are great, the culture is great, so we’ll bounce back.”