Cannons Halt Hamilton, Clinch Top Seed for MLL Postseason
from press releases
Jordan Burke tied a career-high with 24 saves, including nine fourth-quarter stops, as the Boston Cannons clinched the top overall seed for the MLL playoffs.
© Mark Piscotty
HAMILTON, Ontario - Goalkeeper Jordan Burke tied a career high by making 24 saves, including 15 in the second half, as the Boston Cannons (8-3) secured the Major League Lacrosse regular-season title with a 13-8 victory over the Hamilton Nationals (6-5) at Ron Joyce Stadium on Saturday night.
WIth the victory, the Cannons also secure the top seed for the four-team MLL playoffs, which take place in three weeks at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
Hamilton, which had won four of its previous five games, now faces a near must-win situation next weekend against Long Island for the fourth and final postseason berth up for grabs. The Nationals can make the postseason with a win, or a loss by fewer than six goals to Long Island coupled with a Chesapeake win over Denver on Saturday.
Led by two goals from midfielder Kevin Buchanan, the Cannons sprinted out to a quick 4-0 lead in the opening six minutes of the first quarter. But, the Nationals answered by scoring three straight goals over a two-minute span to trim the deficit to 4-3 with 3:39 left in the period.
The Cannons responded with a three-goal run of their own, including a pair of goals from attackman Max Quinzani, to extend their advantage to 7-3 with 5:36 left in the first half.
The Nationals narrowed the margin to 7-5 at the intermission on a pair of goals from rookie midfielder Stephen Keogh.
The teams traded goals in the third quarter before the Nationals tied the game at 8-8 with back-to-back goals from midfielder Joe Walters and rookie attackman Jeremy Boltus.
However, the Cannons secured the victory by scoring five straight goals over the final 12 minutes. Midfielder Brad Ross and Buchanan each scored two goals during the run.
While Burke led the Cannons defense to earn Bud Light Player of the Game honors, Buchanan contributed four goals with an assist. Quinzani, who had been limited to three goals and an assist over the last three games, tallied his fourth "hat trick" of the season with three goals along with a pair of assists.
Playing for the first time in nearly three years, attackman Casey Powell led the Nationals in a losing effort by scoring two goals with two assists. Keogh added two goals for the Nationals, who lost for just the second time in the last seven games.
In the second quarter, Hamilton starting goaltender Scott Rodgers was forced to leave the game after a goal-mouth collision just 1:08 into the frame. In stepped the energetic Brett Queener, who made 10 saves in relief.
Hamilton outshot Boston by a 50-34 margin and had a slim 31-30 advantage in ground balls.