Top takeaways as Cannons bomb past Archers for third straight win

By PLL Beat Writers | Jun 29, 2024

The Boston Cannons rode a record-setting barrage of two-pointers to a 14-9 victory over the Utah Archers on Friday night in Minneapolis.

Here were our beat writers' top takeaways from the late-night matchup:

Sarah Griffin: Boston two party powers the Cannons to victory

It was raining twos in Minneapolis for the Cannons. In its first win over the Archers in the club’s PLL history, Boston got it done from range. 

The Boom Squad set a new PLL record with five two-point goals to turn what would have been a 9-9 tie into their third straight victory.

With Archers top defenseman Graeme Hossack back in the mix, the Cannons’ quarterback, Asher Nolting, was limited from X, making it difficult for their offense to get into its usual flow. But like all good teams do, the Cannons found a way to make do. 

Matt Campbell led the charge in the first half with three goals, including two two-pointers. Outside of a lone goal from Marcus Holman right before the half, it was all Campbell through the first 24 minutes for the Cannons. 

Skilled with both hands and with one heck of a powerful shot from range, the second-year midfielder set the tone for Boston in the first half. In the second half, his teammates followed suit. 

There were five ties throughout the game, but it was Ryan Drenner’s first two-pointer of the night in the final four seconds of the third quarter that really kick-started the “Boston two party.”

Leading 10-8 entering the fourth quarter, Boston never lost its advantage thanks to -- you guessed it -- more two-pointers. 

Drenner buried his second -- this one less of a lucky bounce than the first -- off a feed from Holman. Chris Aslanian, another of Boston's noted range scorers, then put the nail in the coffin with a two-point goal that closed out the scoring.

Of course, none of it would’ve been possible without Colin Kirst in the cage. Kirst made 11 saves for a 55% save percentage on the night, holding an offense that included the reigning MVP and one of the best shooters in the game to fewer than 10 goals. 

Boston continues to find ways to win no matter the obstacles. This was an all-out team effort and another feel-good win as the Cannons head into their Homecoming Weekend. 

Up next for Boston: vs. California Redwoods (Friday, July 5, 6 p.m. ET)

Zach Carey: Archers offense can’t match Cannons’ two-point assault

Friday night’s loss to the Cannons was already the second time that the Archers didn’t score in the final 11-plus minutes of a game this season. It was their fifth scoring drought of eight-plus minutes in four games. Meanwhile, their 21 turnovers per game lead the league by a wide margin. 

For an offense that returned every piece from its 2023 title run and is far healthier than it was back in September, scoring nine points in back-to-back weeks is a head-scratcher. 

Grant Ament, Tom Schreiber, Mac O’Keefe and Connor Fields continue to lead the offense, but the group as a whole has struggled to win matchups at the same rate as it did in 2023. That plus the league-leading turnover rate has hampered an offense that is third in the league in shooting percentage. 

The club could benefit from All-Star Matt Moore getting going. He has one point in four games on 0-for-13 shooting. That said, there also has been a lack of production from Utah's fifth midfield spot. 

Challen Rogers made his 2024 debut against Boston and had a rough go of it. Whether it was due to injury – he missed the first three games and then left the loss due to a hamstring issue – or rust, he only registered three turnovers and one penalty on the statsheet. Ryan Aughavin, who played in Rogers’ place to start the season, has two assists in three games. 

With Rogers and Aughavin quiet thus far, second-round pick Dyson Williams could get the nod for Utah against the Maryland Whipsnakes next week. The Canadian lefty could be the shot in the arm the offense needs as an off-ball demon who can help to free up Fields and O’Keefe even more in two-man games on the lefty wing.    

Defensively, nine goals allowed totaling 14 points allowed has to be a tough pill to swallow. The Cannons' shooters got hot, and goalie Brett Dobson wasn’t seeing the ball as well as he typically does. That’s how it goes sometimes. 

The Archers can be encouraged by how well Hossack bottled up Nolting and by Mike Sisselberger’s return to form at the faceoff stripe with a 68.4% performance. But cleaning up the sloppiness on offense and finding a greater diversity in the group’s production will be key as the Archers hope to turn things around next week against a resurgent Whipsnakes squad. 

Up next for Utah: vs. Maryland Whipsnakes (Saturday, July 6, 4:30 p.m. ET)