Boston Cannons Championship Postgame: Rabil, Heim, Boyle
I caught up with several players on the field in the lockerroom after the Cannons beat the Hamilton Nationals, 10-9, Sunday to win their first Major League Lacrosse title in 11 years as a franchise. If you followed the team and the league at all this summer, I think you'll enjoy...
Midfielder Paul Rabil...
Boston has traditionally had some of the best teams to play lacrosse in the MLL. For whatever reason, we had just come up short, myself included. It's good to get it done this year.
It's a huge relief, a huge sense of satisfaction. I'm just really happy to do it with these guys. We invested a whole lot emotionally in each other in the locker room. We had the team to do it, and we just needed to figure out how.
Guys developed really tight friendships on this team, from the rookies on all the way up. Brian Farrell, the kid at dinner two nights ago, gave a passionate speech to us. We were halfway kidding around, making him give us a rookie speech, which we just made up on the spot. It turns into some moment of inspiration for us. I think that kind of stuff was what the season is all about.
He gave us a great speech. Everyone talks about the camaraderie you get in college. He played at the highest level at Maryland a season ago, and he said his first [MLL] game was here [at Navy] when he came and he scored his first goal on his first shift when we dressed him. And he said he never thought he would get the same feeling as you do when you get in college and score with his teammates. He said he re-experienced it. That's something special. That type of attitude a lot of us have.
It's a great group of guys. We had talented guys at every position. Goal scorers at the long stick midfield, goal scorers in close. Shut down guys at close, goal scorers at the midfield. Savvy attackmen. We had everything we needed. We just needed to put it together.
We got it done somehow. Where did my helmet go?
Midfielder Pat Heim...
It's been a long time coming. It's something I've been striving for my whole career. When you go through four years of college [at Penn State], only making the playoffs once ... Then to get into the professional level, and just kind of keep plugging away, and in this league, it's a drag. We sacrifice a lot. Everybody goes to the beach in the summer and has a good time on the weekend. We're traveling on a plane and gutting it out for our sport. It's very gratifying to finally hoist the Cup. It's something that means so much.
This is just a great group of guys. A great locker room. We play like a team. We want to win like a team. I consider them all my good friends and that's what it's all about.
Boyle is our vocal leader. He's very smart. He's been in these situations before. He's a guy we listen to for advice that we want with us. Everything he says, we take it to heart.
Attackman Ryan Boyle...
It's a proud organization. You're always going for that championship. When I got reassigned, three years ago, I know it was a franchise that had had a lot of success but wasn't able to get over the hump. It's something that I've been so dedicated to doing, and to be able to be a part of it the first team to do that for this franchise in special.
The list is too long to go through. It's special to win with guys that have been here for a while like Matt Poskay, and special to win with new guys such as Matt Smalley and Brian Farrell. To have old Barrage members a part of that, Mike Fox and Kyle Sweeney, and Mitch Belisle who I work with. He's one of my best friends.
I've been around a while. I've seen a lot of these play out. You can't replace experience. It only comes with time. I've seen this song-and-dance before. So you gotta adapt to the game and how it's being played out. The bottom line was our defense was the reason we were in this game. It got to a point where they were doing real well defensively. We just had to make sure that we cut off any transition, and I felt that gave us our best chance. Would we have loved to hang 20 on a team? Sure. I care more about that ring.
When you're able to get stops in six-on-six defense that's when you can get out and push the ball. We have three of the best poles, Kyle, P.T. Ricci, and Farrell, it made us dynamic in transition. They got back and forced us to play six-on-six. We had intermittent success.
I threw it to the only spot that was available [on Matt Smalley's man-down goal]. The handle for a d-middie, I should bite my tongue. He was running back out of the zone. I was like, we're still man down, you're actually in the arc with us. That was an unbelievable play. That was huge because that could have changed the momentum of the game. For us to get one there, held them at bay.