ALLSTON, Mass – Brodie Merrill found himself back on the field at Harvard Stadium for the first time in over a year Saturday afternoon. With the Cannons returning to the hallowed grounds after a one-year hiatus from the Coliseum last season, and Merrill missing the Cannons home opener due to National Lacrosse League (NLL) duties, the pieces fell into place for a potential historic night.
With 3.3 seconds remaining on the clock in the fourth, it was desperation time for the Cannons, and Merrill found himself with the ball. Merrill put everything he could into an 80-yard heave down the field as time expired, and in miracle fashion, found the back of the net to send the Cannons into overtime.
Boston was on the back end of a two-games-in-three-days stint, something that is uncommon in Major League Lacrosse. The Cannons, fresh off a road win over the Chesapeake Bayhawks were looking to extend their win streak, and move up in the standings along the way.
Postgame Merrill mentioned, “It feels good to be back.” The long stick midfield also added, “it takes some time to transition from indoor to field lacrosse, but I feel great being back out here on the field.”
David Emala has emerged as another weapon for the Cannons, finding himself second in points thus far this season for the Cannons through four games. Emala sent the Cannons faithful home happy just 1:10 into overtime, finding the back of the net from 15 yards out to seal the come from behind victory.
“It feels outstanding,” said Emala following his game-winner over the Rochester Rattlers Saturday afternoon. “I’ve never quite finished a game like that through the years, wasn’t the prettiest game personally as well as a team but we got the one that counted.”
The Rochester Rattlers (0-3) had complete control of the game in the first half, heading into the locker room with a 9-5 lead. Boston (3-1) found itself in a deep hole with 9:03 remaining in the second quarter when Jeremy Boltus gave the Rattlers a 9-3 lead, and showed no signs of giving up.
Insert Will Manny.
Manny, who has developed into one of Boston’s most go-to guys, refused to let the Cannons fall to 2-2 on the season. A few minutes after facing a six-point deficit, Manny scored his second goal of the evening with 4:14 remaining in the second, which eventually went on to light a spark for the Cannons offense unit.
Through the course of the game, Manny added eight points (five goals, three assists) to improve to a team high 25 points on the season. Manny’s eighth and final point was to Emala on the game winner, capping off another spectacular night for the captain.
Jordan Wolf, who has already set himself up to have another record year, was a catalyst behind the Rattlers offensive unit. Wolf’s five goals were unable to lift to the Rattlers to their first victory of the season, moving Rochester into eighth place, just in front of the Florida Launch.
Boston came out in the second half ready to claw their way back into the game after showing light late in the first half.
Brent Adams, who contributed four points (three goals, one assist) and Manny continued to find the back of the net in the third. Midfield Josh Hawkins contributed four groundballs for the Cannons, a team high, while also creating crucial off-ball movement on offense.
Justin Turri and Challen Rogers both scored early in fourth to bring the game within two, including Rogers first career goal. The Stony Brook product made his home debut for the Cannons Saturday evening.
Joe Nardella had another dominating game from the faceoff X, going 20-30. Nardella has become one of the most consistent faceoff specialists in Major League Lacrosse.
First year head coach Sean Quirk was all smiles after the comeback victory for the Cannons. Quirk spoke of the game as, “extraordinarily exciting.” He went on to add, “we were down obviously the entire game, then Brodie’s two-point goal, then going into overtime and the guys pulling it out was just a really great team win.”
Quirk continued, “I couldn’t believe it to be honest to be honest” on the Merrill goal at the end of regulation. “I initially thought it was just a one pointer and we’re still down by a goal, then we realized wow it’s a two-pointer and we are going into overtime.”
The Cannons still await pieces of their roster who have yet to be activated. Kevin Buchanan, who was spotted watching the game from the sidelines, is still inactive due to NLL duties with the New England Blackwolves. Boston also has yet to welcome rookie John Uppgren from Tufts, as the Jumbos are still in the hunt for their third straight Division III title. Uppgren lead the Tufts Saturday afternoon to a 19-6 victory over Cortland in second round action with nine points (five goals, four assists.)
Boston currently sits tied for second in the Major League Lacrosse standings the Ohio Machine and behind the Charlotte Hounds. The Cannons return to action next Saturday at home versus the Machine in a battle for second place.