I Already Wrote This…
I’ve already written the championship article. It’s not that I’m that confident about it; it’s just that it is so much easier to plug stats into a framework and make it look like an original article. It’s a fun little trick that Sports information directors pull to convince people that their job is real. It’s sort of like madlibs with numbers and superlatives instead of random nouns like “Feces” or “Posterior”. I’m on to you, SID’s. I am ON to you.
So what’s going to happen tomorrow? Despite the victory article being ¾ in the can, I’m still not 100% sure the Cannons will curb stomp the Bayhawks. I’d put it somewhere around 75% – in case anyone wants any bulletin board material. But hey, if you’re on the opposing team’s site looking for bulletin board material then you should probably just face the fact that your team isn’t the favourite even though you’re playing at home. And that’s just sad.
Enough with the riling. Let us get on to the game preview – because you HAVEN’T read one of those yet, right? Right. Well if you did I wrote it or someone else wrote it and stole half of it and claimed it was theirs – you know who you are. This is the definitive preview of the Boston Cannons vs. Chesapeake Bayhawks semi-final match-up.
Attack: The Cannons have the best feeder in the game right now. Ryan Boyle (7g, 25a) has more assists than the entire Bayhawks attack line. 25 vs. 23. I’d say that’s an advantage. The Cannons attack also has the newly crowned MVP Matt “Barn cat” Poskay (45g, 6a) to go with their spritely rookie Max Quinzani (14g, 5a). You already know these things – why repeat them? It’s important to revel when you’re rooting for a team this good. Everyone that followed this team from the beginning knows that. It doesn’t mean I dislike Mike Battista or David Evans any less, it’s just important to note that this team would romp on those early 00’s teams like a zombie toddler in a room full of newborns. The Bayhawks attack is their weakest link as the majority of the Chesapeake offense runs through the midfield. Still, wily veterans like Buggs Combs and…Buggs Combs still need to be kept in check. Chesapeake’s attack does well against teams that open up the middle and allow them to feed inside – which the Cannons allowed them to do in the season finale, but not in their previous match up. Laziness or gamesmanship from the Boston coaching staff? We’ll find out Saturday.
Midfield: The Bayhawks are not fun to match up against in the midfield. They are fast fast fast and key transition like breaking up with a girl by using a text message. In other words: they’re ruthless. Kyle Dixon (19g, 11 two-pointers, 7a), Peet Poillon (24g, 14a) and Ben Hunt (9g, 3a) bring serious heat from distance. Kip Turner has to watch out for screens from his defense if he wants to stop the long-range bombs and keep the Cannons on top. It would be a short(sighted) preview if I failed to mention that the Bayhawks have about 4-5 other midfielders that can dodge and make things happen with the ball. Michael Kimmel (7g, 5a), Matt Abbott (5g, 5a) and Jeff Reynolds (5g, 0a) may not have gaudy numbers, but they make things happen between the restraining lines and they are far more versatile than the Cannons midfield crop. Ask Matt Casey about Michael Kimmel if you don’t believe me. It’s not like the Cannons are toothless at the midfield spot, though. Far from it. Have you heard of this Paul Rabil (21g, 6 two-pointers, 10a) guy? Totally decent. Pat Heim (14g, 2a) and Kevin Buchanan (20g, 11a) are also top tier players. Justin Smith (19g, 4a) rounds out the midfield offense as the team’s creative visualizer. Aside from Rabil, he’s the one guy on the team that can create his own shot whenever he wants. Look for a big time effort from Smitty on Saturday.
Defense: Boston’s defense is a lot better, statistically speaking, than I give them credit for. It’s too bad that stats mean almost nothing when you’re qualifying a defense against another defense in a six-team league. You could look at man-down numbers, but that’s not going to tell the whole story. (The Cannons have a 70% kill percentage, Chesapeake clocks in at 76%). Chesapeake has a great crop of young and physical defenders; Boston has a great crop of grizzled hard-checking veterans (Sweeney, McClay, Passavia). If you look at the style match-ups, Boston has the immediate advantage, as the Bayhawks attack is rather pedestrian and easily contained by a tight defense that communicates well. The Bayhawks only initiate from behind the cage when their midfielders are inverting, so if the Cannons D adjusts to that they should benefit from their strength on the interior. The Bayhawks have great individual defenders like Joe Cinosky and Michael Evans, but their team defense is much more suspect than the Cannons. Then again, Kyle Hartzell has this highlight in his pocket:
Advantage: It’s a wash, yo.
Face-off: Alex Smith’s statistics make me want to puke. He’s the greatest cheater this nation has seen since Richard Nixon. You are a crook, Mr. Smith and Mr. Samuel L. Jackson agrees:
Chris Eck is a saint. Like Val Kilmer “Saint”, not mother Teresa “Saint”. I just exhausted all of my religious imagery allowance for the entire year. It was worth it.
Eck’s stats vs. Smith: 30-63
Smith’s stats vs. Eck: 33-63
Advantage: The Ice Cream Scooper. Barely.
Goalie: A Pariah in Boston, Chris Garrity has made a concerted effort to gain followers at his new digs. Joining him down there in Charm City, or whatever you arrogant Balti-Morons call it, is another former Cannon Mike Levin. What does it say about a team when they take another team’s scraps over and over? It says they’re desperate. Kip Turner is the goalie of the year, but somehow did not make the All-MLL team because the rest of the league thinks that if they give the Cannons too many awards that they will break every record for being awesome in the history of the MLL. Newsflash – they already have. Turner’s snub for the All-MLL team is even more egregious when you consider that the player that replaced him on the team is Drew Adams. Drew Adams? The goalie with THE BEST defense in the league playing in front of him? That Drew Adams? Wow. That is insane. I don’t even want to finish this goalie preview. Goalie of the year and rightful heir to the All-MLL team goalie spot vs. Benedict Arnold’s horse?
Advantage: Kip Turner! Yay, Kip!
Coach: Bill Daye wears pressed khakis and a new polo shirt at every game. Brendan Kelly wears a trucker hat on the sidelines and has little to no MLL experience to speak of.
Intangibles: The Cannons have you, me, an army of bro-ish interns and The Ginger Wizard Kevin Barney. The Bayhawks have Press Releases and an average attendance of 4,412.
Advantage: Cannons Nation.