Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/28/11
With three Central League graduates playing key roles, the Boston Cannons won their first Major League Lacrosse title in history today, edging the Hamilton Nationals, 10-9, in the Sports Authority MLL Championship game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Midfielder Pat Heim (Conestoga) scored two goals and defenseman PT Ricci (Conestoga) had the final groundball to seal it while teaming with Kyle Sweeney (Springfield-Delco) to lead the back line for the Cannons.
Attackman Matt Poskay scored all three of his goals in the first half as Boston took a 6-3 lead at one point. The Nationals closed within one goal several times and scored with 32 seconds left to draw within, 10-9, but Ricci snared a key groundball off the ensuing face-off and the Cannons ran out the clock.
Boston also featured rookie midfielder Kevin Kaminski (Strath Haven/Delaware), who did not play in the title game.
For Ricci, the title was his second in a row. Last year he was a member of the MLL champion Chesapeake Bayhawks – a team Boston defeated, 14-13, in the semifinals on a final second goal by Max Quinzani.
“It is almost a better feeling (than last year) because we beat Chesapeake in the semifinals and that was the team that traded me away,” said Ricci, who was sent to Boston shortly before the season began. “It also was very satisfying since we had four Philly guys on the team.”
Ricci said that Boston – the regular season champion – relied heavily on good team chemistry in the playoffs.
“That was huge for us,” he said. “We were down to Chesapeake, 6-1,at one point and we saw Hamilton come back several times today.
“But we always kept our heads together and stopped their runs. You don’t get to practice that much with the guys, but it helps that we’re such good friends.
“This the franchise’s first championship and I believe we are the last of the original teams to win the title. We were something like 1-8 in championship week games, so to win it is great. They really appreciate it in Boston.”
Ricci said the title was special because of the tremendous fan support the team receives in Boston.
“We get eight to ten thousand people at every game and so many came down for this one it seemed like we were the home team,” he said. “The fans pick you up.”
Casey Powell scored just over a minute into the third quarter to trim the Boston lead to 6-4 before Heim and Matt Smalley tallied back-to-back goals to increase the Cannons’ cushion to 8-4.
But the Nationals scored three straight goals to narrow the margin to 8-7 with 13:56 left in the fourth quarter. Powell led the run by scoring two goals for Hamilton.
Boston goalkeeper Jordan Burke was named as the Bud Light MLL Championships MVP after making nine saves in the championship game victory.
2011 Sports Authority MLL Championship Game:
Boston Cannons 10, Hamilton Nationals 9
Hamilton 2-1-3-3 / 9
Boston 3-3-2-2 / 10
Goals: HAM – Casey Powell 4, Cody Jamieson 2, Jeremy Boltus 1, Brodie Merrill 1, Kevin Crowley 1; BOS – Matt Poskay 3, Pat Heim 2, Brad Ross 1, Matt Smalley 1, Ryan Boyle 1, Kevin Buchanan 1, Mike Stone 1. Assists: HAM – Brett Bucktooth 1, Jordan Hall 1; BOS – Ryan Boyle 3, Paul Rabil 2, Kyle Sweeney 1. Saves: HAM – Scott Rodgers 16 (30:00, 6 goals allowed), Brett Queener 4 (30:00, 4 goals allowed); BOS – Jordan Burke 9 (60:00, 9 goals allowed). Shots: HAM – 38; BOS – 49. Power-Play Opportunities: HAM – 1 for 3; BOS – 1 for 3. Attendance: 5,027.