When the Florida Launch traveled up to Boston, they did so with the hope that getting their main attack line of Casey Powell, Kieren McArdle, and Lyle Thompson would finally get their offense on the right track this season. Unfortunately for the Launch, nothing seemed to go right for them while the Cannons were able to capitalize on nearly every opportunity they had on their way to a 13-9 victory.
Not to take anything away from Boston—they had a fantastic game in their own right. They used some very balanced scoring to put on a show for their season high attendance number of 10,142. Out of the midfield, Kevin Buchanan led all scorers with five points. He would have been tied with David Emala’s three goals and one assist if it weren’t for a two point empty netter off a broken clear that put him up by one. Josh Amidon also put in a pair of goals while Max Seibald recorded three assists. Will Manny had two goals, including an empty net goal with 12 seconds left. It was a fitting end to what was an extremely frustrating evening in the Florida crease for Brett Queener.
Queener played great all night, notching 24 saves during an evening where Boston sent a total of 55 shots his way. Unfortunately, he was at the wrong end of several miscues by the Launch. Whether it was a broken clear, lost ground ball battle, or the ball being thrown out of bounds on offense, the ball kept staying in Florida’s defensive half of the field. After Buchanan’s goal on the broken clear, Queener had to pace the end line to compose himself before returning to the net. After another goal late in the game, he broke his stick over his knee. It was that kind of night.
Florida’s potentially explosive offense really struggled to get going. Down 6-3 at half, they still only managed a single goal in the third quarter, and that was a goal from rookie long pole Casey Ikeda. Steven Brooks scored only 35 seconds into the final frame, and there would be another three goals, one being a two pointer by Bobby Lawrence, to round out the game for Florida. It was not a great showing from an attack group featuring the reigning MLL MVP (Powell), MLL Rookie of the year (McArdle), and Tewaaraton winner (Thompson).
Asked about this after the game, Powell said, “We were fluttering today. We didn’t play so well offensively, and we got behind again in the second and the third. We started to come alive a little bit late in the game, but we’re trying new things, new personnel each weekend.” He later added, “We’re trying to find some chemistry with them, which I believe we will.” Powell is optimistic with the direction of the team and feels they are very close to coming together at the right spots.
Lyle Thompson was also asked about the attack unit’s struggles on the day. “This is only our first game all together,” he said. “I don’t think we’re quite there, especially after seeing today. Just getting used to playing with each other, I don’t think we’re on the same page yet.” He went on to praise how Boston’s defensive group played team defense, especially with very fast slides. He said it was a big change from last week (versus Ohio) where they relied more on individual matchups.
Florida is in search of their second win next week as the visit New York before breaking for the All-Star game. That is going to be a very tough team to find some chemistry against. After that break, they will play Boston once again, but down in Florida this time. Boston will be visiting Rochester next week in what was a rematch of Boston’s 17-16 overtime win back on May 17. The Cannons are one of four 4-3 teams at the moment, and Rochester is one of the others. A sweep over the Rattlers could wind up being crucial if the standings stay this tight through the rest of the season and tie breakers come into play. The difference between 4-4 and 5-3 may seem small now, but that could be what pushes the rebuilt Cannons into the postseason in 2015.