By Paul Ryan | 10/3/13 11:30 AM
A good start and a good finish are usually the two marks to a successful season in any sport: those two things were exactly what the Boston Cannons lacked in their 2013 season.
After starting off with three straight losses, the Cannons won their first game of the season in overtime over eventual league champion Chesapeake, 15-14. Still, that win was followed by two more losses which led to a coaching change. Duffy was relieved of his duties in just his second season with the Cannons after leading them to the playoffs a year earlier. He finished with a 10-10 record in his tenure.
This led to the hiring of John Tucker, who started his tenure as head coach with a four-game winning streak. Things were looking up for the Cannons, who had won five of their last seven, but the team dropped their final four games to finish sixth in the league with a record of 5-9.
However, all was not lost for the Cannons. Paul Rabil led the team once again in points with 54, breaking Conor Gil’s Club All-Time Points Record. Although Rabil’s point total dropped from his incredible 72-point season he had a year ago, he improved his goal total to 32, five more than last season.
It’s been mostly Rabil breaking records for the Cannons, but this season it was Ryan Boyle setting milestones. The 31-year-old broke the MLL record for points in a career when he registered his 400th in the third game of the season against Denver. Boyle now has 422 points for his career. He is also the league’s all-time assists leader with 254.
In addition to Rabil and Boyle, the Cannons received strong performances from Mike Stone, who improved his point total from 2012, and Will Manny who finished with 30 points in just 10 games for his rookie campaign. In net, Jordan Burke posted a .504 save percentage with an uncharacteristically high 14.82 goals against average. Look for Burke to bounce back big next year, as his career numbers show he is far better than his stats indicated this season.
One place where the Cannons were dominant was in the faceoff X, thanks in large part to Chris Eck. It comes as no surprise to those who have seen Eck play, as his 60% on faceoffs were second in the league and on par with his career averages.
Despite their below average finish in the standings, the Cannons were well above average in terms man-up and man-down situations. The Cannons powerplay clicked 33.3% of the time, scoring once every three times they were given a chance. The penalty kill was even better, ending third in the league, killing off over 68% of the man down situations. The Cannons success on the kills can be traced back to the amount of penalties they took, committing the fewest number of infractions (41) of any team in the league.
The Cannons are an interesting case. They’ve missed the playoffs just three times in the league’s 13-year history. They won the MLL title just two years ago. And yet, they found themselves on the outside looking in this year. Looking at the middle stretch of the season, this looked like a surefire playoff team, but a difficult start and finish led to the Cannons downfall. If Boston comes out of the gate firing next season, there’s no reason why the Cannons can’t blast their way to the top of the standings in 2014.