As the Boston Cannons clung to a 2-goal lead in the final minute of regulation, the defense scrambled to mark the opposing attackers as the New York Lizards made a final push.
But there was a frantic lapse in the defense, a costly error that left New York midfielder Mike Kimmel wide open for the tying 2-point shot, and the marksman converted with 17 seconds left when he bounced it past goalie Jordan Burke to force overtime.
The Cannons never recovered from the stunning goal. Attacker Will Manny went offside at the 1:26 mark to give the Lizards a crucial man-up advantage, and Jo-Jo Marasco netted the winner at 1:47, as New York defeated Boston, 16-15, at Harvard Stadium Saturday night.
The loss marked the fifth time the Cannons (5-6) dropped a one-goal decision.
“That’s what Major League Lacrosse is all about — a 2-pointer with little time left,” said Manny, who led the Cannons with three goals and an assist. “It goes to overtime and anything can happen. I made a mistake and went offside and did that to my defense and playing a man down is very difficult in this league. All it takes is one shot.”
The Cannons trailed, 13-11, after Marasco opened the fourth quarter with a pair of goals for the Lizards (7-4). But the Cannons responded with four unanswered goals and appeared to be on their way to a victory, only to have Kimmel’s 2-point shot quell Boston’s late surge.
The Cannons’ comeback began with a pair of unassisted goals from Owen Blye (three goals) and Brent Adams, which came just under two minutes apart in the fourth quarter. Blye struck first with 9:54 to go, then Adams followed with 8:06 remaining.
With 4:51 to play, Mike Stone scored a power-play goal set up by Manny with a terrific cross-turf pass that put the Cannons up, 14-13. Adams scored again with 1:01 left.
“It was definitely a surprise, because Kimmel is known as a two-point threat, so it was a mental lapse there that we didn’t get out on his hands,” Adams said. “
Both teams were significantly shorthanded, with a total of 11 players unavailable because they were in Denver for the FIL World Lacrosse championship game between Team USA and Team Canada.
The Cannons were without leading scorers Paul Rabil (17 goals, 26 assists) and Kevin Buchanan (27 goals, seven assists), as well as top defenders Brodie Merrill and Mitch Belisle.
The Lizards were also without their leading scorers, Rob Pannell (27 goals, 16 assists) and Max Seibald (16 goals, two assists).
Although the Cannons were shorthanded, coach John Tucker didn’t make excuses for the loss.
“It wasn’t difficult at all [without them],” Tucker said. “We had the game won and we let it slip away. We had nobody to blame by ourselves.”Anthony Gulizia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.