Entering week 12 of the MLL 2013 season, the Hamilton Nationals will hold host to the Boston Cannons in their second match-up this year. In their first meeting, Coach Huntley’s squad took home a 15-8 win.
This is an essential game for the Cannons as their playoff hopes are in their own hands. They are tied with Charlotte record wise at 5-6, but hold the fourth playoff spot with their two regular season wins over the Hounds. Coach Tucker’s Cannons haven’t performed well in the winning section, as they are 2-4. They’ve held games close, most recently losing in overtime at Chesapeake, snapping their four game win streak. Goaltender Jordan Burke and his defense will be busy as they take on Hamilton’s pesky offense. Joe Walter’s has been the hot hand of the Nationals offense, recording 22 points over the last five games. Kevin Crowley is still a top performer and is due to break out at home, with only twelve points in the teams five home games. Kevin Cunningham is the biggest threat at attack, leading their three-man unit with 29 points. Cody Jamieson can cause problems for a team’s defense. Jammer does his best during the post-season, and he’s starting to show it as the season winds down, tallying six point’s vs Ohio. The third attack spot is undecided with Martin Cahill and Garrett Thul as the two possibilities with Stephen Keogh not on the roster the past couple of games.
Hamilton has second place and a playoff berth all but locked up. On their heels are the Bayhawks that are one game behind the Nationals. Holding steady will be key to the Nats slot at championship weekend. The squad is 4-1 at home, but hasn’t really dominated on their home turf, winning three games by only one goal. Dillon Ward was in net for the Nats against Ohio after Brett Queener was scratched due to an undisclosed illness. However, Queener should be back in the cage tonight, chirping up the Cannon attack. His defense better be ready to go as they duke it out with a fired up Boston offense. With the addition of Stephen Berger, it gives the Cannon offense a new look and new life. His presence and fired up attitude can strike and cause his team to not hold back. Paul Rabil has to show up along with Mike Stone pulling the trigger. On the EMO, Matt Poskay has to be watched. He is the main finisher for Boston’s extra man unit and will put the ball in the back of the net if left open. The trio of attack in Ryan Boyle, Kevin Buchanan and rookie Will Manny need to help out. They will have Tucker Durkin, Sid Smith, MJ Kiekebelt, and Matt Lovejoy in their faces and not give them an inch.
The biggest factor in today’s game is faceoffs. Matt Dolente is no longer a National, giving Chris Eck some hope at the draw. However, in his way will be rookie Mike Poppleton, who has performed well since taking over for Dolente. Defensive midfielders will play a crucial role in today’s game. Defensively, they cannot take one break and will have to cause transitional goals. Biggest threat in this area is Hamilton’s Roy Lang. He will push it, play offense and at times, score.
Fans will be entertained tonight, as this game will impact playoffs. Tonight’s game will begine at 7:00 PM EST and aired live on the Major League Lacrosse YouTube channel.