MLL: Cockerton stakes Cannons to come-from-behind win over Lizards

July 18, 2020 Annapolis, MD – Navy Marine-Corps Memorial Stadium Boston Cannons vs New York Lizards. Steven Romano (15) defends Mark Cockerton (41). (Photography Credit: Alex McIntyre)

The Boston Cannons kicked off their 20th season with a come-from-behind 16-14 victory over their rivals, the New York Lizards, on Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, where the MLL is holding their week-long condensed season.

The Lizards were hoping for a victory after finishing last in the 2019 season, but faced an uphill battle on offense. They had no more Mark Matthews to counteract the retooled Cannons’ offense that now includes Randy Staats, Frank Brown and Bryan Cole. Those three players join the likes of Kyle Jackson, Reilly O’Connor and Challen Rogers, who excel in both field and box. The Lizards have no Canadians with that grittier style of box experience on the roster.

Staats scored once and added four assists. Newly added Bryce Wasserman and Cannons’ captain Mark Cockerton, also Canadian, led the attack with four goals each. Cockerton fired 11 shots at the Lizards’ cage and scored the winning goal with 1:44 left in the game.

“We have a pretty stacked attack group and to play with them is awesome,” said Cockerton. “Randy Staats is one of the best players in the game and Bryce Wasserman is a phenomenal player.”

New York was actually up 14-12 in the fourth quarter on the strength of hat tricks from Connor O’Hara and Colin Burke, and some sloppy defensive play by Boston. But the Cannons fought back, only allowing two goals against in the second half.

Austin Kaut made 12 saves for New York, while Nick Marrocco made 14 saves for Boston in the win.

“That was a great game, a battle from the first whistle,” Cockerton said. “Being in Boston the last three years you kinda know about that rivalry (with New York). I’m a big Patriots fan and they have it with the Giants and the Jets, and then obviously the Red Sox and the Yankees. You talk to anybody in Boston or New York City and they’re going to have the same reaction. The rivalry has been there for 20 years in this league and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.”

The Lizards face the defending champion Chesapeake Bayhawks on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., while Boston is off until Monday night at 7 p.m. to also face the Bayhawks.