Lyle leads Cannons over Waterdogs, 16-10
By Sarah Griffin | Jun 6, 2022
The Cannons came out swinging in Sunday’s opening matchup against the Waterdogs, defeating the Dogs 16-10.
In typical Lyle Thompson fashion, Thompson led the way offensively for the Boom Squad with a six-point afternoon with four goals and two assists. Both his assists came on rookie Asher Nolting’s first two professional career goals, as the two clicked on attack.
“Playing with Lyle, I don’t know how you can’t become a better lacrosse player,” said Nolting. “It’s unbelievable playing with him, it’s a dream come true.”
The Cannons’ offensive identity got a face lift this offseason, as head coach Sean Quirk built around Thompson adding guys like Nolting, midfielder Jake Froccaro, and attackman Brendan Bomberry who all got on the scoresheet as well. Bomberry recorded a goal on two shots on net and Frocarro had three assists.
A dominant first half for the Cannons gave them a comfortable 12-3 lead going into the second half not only thanks to their red-hot attack, but commanding performances from Stephen Kelly at the faceoff stripe and Nick Marrocco between the pipes.
Kelly went 11-for-15 at the X in the first half, neutralizing perhaps the best faceoff wing in the league in Jake Withers, Zach Currier, and Ryland Rees.
The faceoff was a big struggle for the Cannons last season and Quirk said while he doesn’t blame those multiple one-goal losses on that, both Kelly and Alex Woodall’s performances helped wear down the Waterdogs’ wing, something that’s going to make them even more competitive this year.
Marrocco posted the best goaltending performance of the weekend with a 66% save percentage recording 19 saves and holding the Waterdogs to only ten goals. He had the save of the weekend as well as he robbed Michael Sowers on the doorstep in the fourth quarter with the Dogs on the man advantage.
Despite the Waterdogs slow start they looked more themselves in the second half. They outscored the Cannons 7-4, and Withers settled in at the X. Ultimately it was just too little too late to make the comeback.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to Coach Quirk and his staff and that squad. Certainly early on we got outcompeted. The field was tilted in terms of possession time, and the little possession time we had [in the first half], we did not take full advantage of,” said head coach Andy Copelan.
Currier got the Waterdogs on the board to start the third quarter, and Ethan Walker, Kieran McArdle, rookie Jack Hannah, and Michael Sowers followed suit. Defenseman Eli Gobrecht made a highlight reel-worthy between the legs long pole goal to start the fourth, but the aggressive offensive push was not enough, especially given the day Marrocco was having between the pipes.
“When we started going on that run [in the second half] we started to turn it on - drawing slides and dodging harder was the key,” said Sowers. He said the pace of play and lack of aggression, especially on the dodge, was the squad’s major issue in the first half.
The Cannons will face off against the Atlas who ended their season last year in the first round of the playoffs next Saturday in Charlotte at 6 ET. The Waterdogs play after at 8:45 versus the Whipsnakes as they search for their first win.