It wasn’t exactly the play attacker Ryan Boyle had in his mind, but with the shot clock dwindling, his options were slim.
As each option closed, Boyle sprinted out from behind the cage and rifled his shot into the net just as the shot clock expired, giving the Boston Cannons a 15-14 overtime victory against the Chesapeake Bayhawks at Harvard Stadium Saturday night in front of a season-high 11,156 fans.
“I don’t think that was the top option,” Boyle said. “We ran a pretty well-choreographed offense, but at the end of the shot clock you have to make something happen. I was able to get through a check and [defender Michael Evans] just jumped, and I had a little bit of an opportunity to go underneath.”
Boyle edged close to the crease, and it wasn’t exactly clear if his shot beat the clock. But the referees didn’t review the play.
“I was a little worried,” Boyle said. “But once I got up and processed all the information, I realized it went in and they hadn’t called anything on the crease, it was a sense of relief.”
For 60 minutes, the Cannons engaged aggressively with the defending MLL champion Bayhawks (3-1), but couldn’t put them away in regulation despite leading seven times.
But Boyle’s score, which came 1:26 into the sudden-death quarter, gave the Cannons (1-3) their first victory of the season.
“We’re just trying to stay within our own game,” said Cannons coach Steve Duffy, whose team started 0-3 for the first time in franchise history. “This stuff is going to happen. There’s going to be ups and downs, but you just have to weather the runs and make plays.”
The game was tied at 12 entering the fourth quarter. Boyle (three goals, two assists) fired a centering pass to Michael Stone, who scored to give Boston a 14-13 lead with four minutes to play.
But 48 seconds later, Bayhawks attacker John Grant scored his fourth goal of the game to even the score.
Another 44 seconds after that, Grant scored to give the Bayhawks the lead and what looked like their fourth victory, until Paul Rabil scored the equalizer for the Cannons.
Rabil, who entered the night tied for third in MLL scoring (11 points), spun past two defenders and beat goaltender Kip Turner (14 saves) for his fourth goal with 1:11 remaining in regulation.
“You just have to have the right leadership,” Rabil said. “In this league, the game is so long and there’s so many different swings. We felt it the first three games of the season.”
The Cannons, who had previously been blitzed by opponents’ first-half attacks, clung to an 8-7 halftime lead, but the Bayhawks attacked in the third quarter with goals from Grant and Matt Abbott.
But the Cannons never faltered. Rabil scored a goal and a 2-pointer, and then Kyle Sweeney scored to give Boston a 12-9 advantage with 3:05 left in the third quarter.
In the closing minute of the quarter, Chesapeake made a ferocious comeback.
Matt Mackrides scored with 33 seconds on the clock, and Steven Brooks’s 2-pointer beat Mike Gabel (17 saves) with five seconds left to tie the score.
With goalie Jordan Burke out with a broken thumb, Gabel has played strong in net with 28 saves in the last two games.
“They can hit you from anywhere on the field, so our defense was well and Gabel was phenomenal,” Rabil said. “We’re always confident with him in net.”
The Cannons have the week off and will resume play May 31, on the road against the Denver Outlaws.