On Saturday night the first place Chesapeake Bayhawks (9-2) travel to Massachusetts to take on the Boston Cannons (6-5). The Cannons currently sit at fourth place in the league, tied with the Rochester Rattlers. Only four teams in the league will advance to Championship Weekend at Harvard, so every game is a big deal for the Cannons. With a win over the Ohio Machine last week the Bayhawks guaranteed themselves a spot in the four-team playoff.
Boston has one of the strongest attack corps in the league. The three starting attackmen for the Cannons all have 30 or more points so far this season. Ryan Boyle, Kevin Buchanan, and Matt Poskay are all in the Top 12 league scorers, and Ryan Boyle and Kevin Buchanan both being in the Top 10. Poskay is a huge threat around the crease, and is one of Paul Rabilâ€™s favorite targets.
Drew Westervelt is having a great season for the Bayhawks; he has 30 points going into Saturdayâ€™s game. Itâ€™s hard to not have a great season when the other attack players are Danny Glading, Ben Rubeor and the great John Grant Jr. Glading and Grant both have 21 points for the Bayhawks and Rubeor has added 17.
Itâ€™s hard to say anything bad about Bostonâ€™s midfield because they have MVP-candidate Paul Rabil on their midfield line. Rabil leads the league in scoring with 56 points and is on track to break the season-scoring record. However, the Cannons have had trouble with transitions in recent weeks; so they need to improve in their transition defense at the midfield line. Offensively, Mike Stone has been having a good season so far with 22 points in 10 games.
Starring on midfield for the Bayhawks is 2-point artist Kyle Dixon. Dixon leads the league in 2-pointers this year which boosts his point total to 37. Chesapeakeâ€™s midfield line is a huge reason for the teamâ€™s success; they are one of the highest scoring midfields corps in the league. Michael Kimmel has added 30 for the Bayhawks and Steven Brooks has 29 going into this game.
Bostonâ€™s Chris Eck has established himself as one of the premier face-off specialists in the league since he joined the league in 2008. This year Eck has won 180 out of 318 attempts for a .566 percentage, which has put Boston in second place for face-off percentages.
For Chesapeake, Adam Rand has been a huge reason for their success having won 157 of 284 on the year. Winning .552 percent of his face-offs, Rand has had good success creating possessions for the strong midfield line that Chesapeake possesses.
The Cannonsâ€™ defense has had trouble stopping offensives in the recent games, but they do have star power. Brian Farrell has been a force for the Cannons, and Kyle Sweeney has also been having a great defensive season. PT Ricci is leading the defense in groundballs, scooping up 38 this year. The Cannons will have their hands full defending the Bayhawks, because they have such star-power offensively. The Cannons will need to stretch out and defend Kyle Dixon because he can score from anywhere and is a huge offensive presence.
Chesapeakeâ€™s Nicky Polanco has been one of the best defenders since he joined the league, and is a force to be reckoned with. Heâ€™ll have plenty to defend come Saturday night, having to defend one of the best attack units in the league. Brian Spallina and Barney Ehrmann have both stepped up big for the Bayhawks and have been a big reason for the teamâ€™s success on defense. Dan Hostetler has also contributed big for Chesapeake; he leads the defense in groundballs with 35.
Jordan Burke has been a stud for Boston, averaging just over 10 goals per game. Part of this is due to the Cannonsâ€™ defense, but Burke has been playing stellar ball this season. He has stopped 146 of 264 shots which gives him a save percentage of .553. Burke has made many stellar acrobatic saves for the Cannons and will need to have a great game against the Bayhawks if the Cannons hope to win.
For the Bayhawks, Kip Turner has been a savior in goal. Turner is only allowing 9.98 goals per game which is tops in the league. Turner also leads the league in save percentage, stopping .557 percent of the shots he faces. Turner has been reliable all season and thereâ€™s no reason to doubt heâ€™ll stop any time soon.