This afternoon on ESPN at 2pm the Denver Outlaws will face the Boston Cannons for the MLL Championship. Denver will be looking for their fourth title while Boston will seek their second.
The championship game didn’t come without some problems. A statement from the league released on Saturday stated the following:
Friday night a player on the Chesapeake Bayhawks approached a member of his team’s medical staff with potential symptoms of COVID-19. He was immediately placed into a full quarantine and tested. Within a few hours it was determined that he had tested positive for the virus. Following the protocol, developed with a team of leading physicians before the start of the season, Major League Lacrosse immediately placed all players into quarantine.
Saturday morning all Major League Lacrosse tested all players, coaches and league staff members. When the results came back it was confirmed that 2 additional Bayhawks players tested positive. With that the Bayhawks withdrew from the playoffs, and for safety concerns the Connecticut Hammerheads withdrew as well.
“The most important priority is the health and wellness of our players,” said Commissioner Alexander (Sandy) Brown. “We have been prepared, thorough and measured in our response and have followed league protocol. It is thanks to our medical and COVID teams that we have had a rapid and exhaustive response. We look forward to taking the field tomorrow and rounding out our 20th anniversary season.
Both Denver and Boston played on the final day of the week with playoff berths already determined, the Cannons came out on top 10-8. They were to meet in the semi-finals, but now that will be the championship game.
This may very well be the swan song for John Grant Jr. Grant will turn 46 in November and his play during the pandemic season has not been up to par. Last season the Outlaws lost the championship to the Bayhawks over some questionable calls.
So they will come out very hungry. Ryan Lee has been feasting all week long and is hungry for more. In the five games Lee has 18 goals, Daniel Bucaro has 13. Chris Aslanian leads the team with 10 assists to go along with his seven goals. You can look for a lot of the action to go through these three players.
Even though Grant Jr., has yet to find the back of the net he is still a threat when he has the ball.
In between the pipes the Outlaws have split the time with Nick Washuta (3-1, 8.61 GAA, 20 saves) and Christian Knight (1-0, 10.40 GAA, 26 Saves) so chances are we may see the same this this afternoon. Denver has outscored their opponents 66-48.
For the Cannons they are looking for their first title since 2011. Boston is led by Bryce Wasserman with 14 goals, Mark Cockerton (8), Reilly O’Connor (6), Kyle Jackson, John Uppgren and Bryan Cole all with five.
Goalie Nick Marrocco (4-0, 12.53 GAA) has logged most of the time. Marrocco has turned in some stellar performances, turning a defeat into a much-needed victory on more than one occasion. Dom Madonna played the final game versus Denver on Friday night.
If Boston wants to win the championship, they will have to devise a plan to stop Ryan Lee. Every time Lee has the ball they will need to double team or have another defender slide over without leaving someone else open. They will also need a near perfect game from Marrocco in goal.
The offense will have to be clicking on all cylinders to get past the Denver defense today. Boston has outscored their opponents 59-58.