By: Steven MacDonald
In game one of the weekend in the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL), the seventh place Waterdogs will take on the eighth place Cannons in a game featuring the bottom two teams in the league.
Each team has had their struggles this season, but the Cannons have recently made a flurry of moves to try and change the trajectory of their season.
The Cannons recently released Thomas Kelly for free agent Peyton Smith at the stripe after week three. Head coach Sean Quirk followed that up following week four by trading midfielder Chris Hogan and faceoff specialist Drew Simoneau to the Whipsnakes for faceoff specialist Kevin Reisman. The moves didn’t stop there, as Quirk then released midfielder Max Tuttle to the player pool and picked up midfielder Jamie Trimboli and attackman Christian Cuccinello. How these moves will impact the team is still to be determined, but the one win Cannons aren’t going to go down without a fight.
The Cannons have suffered three of their four losses by one goal each. They are currently ranked last in faceoff percentage, which prompted the moves by Quirk. Two of the Cannons’ strengths this season, however, have been their second ranked offensive unit and their second ranked goalie play, led by Nick Marrocco. Another bright spot has been the reemergence of midfielder Paul Rabil, who leads all midfielders in points with 19, and passed John Grant Jr. for most points in pro lacrosse history.
The Waterdogs have had their own struggles. Their defense is ranked last in the league after giving up 36 goals in their last two games. Dillon Ward has struggled in the cage in 2021, leading to the Waterdogs last place rating in that position statistically. Like the Cannons, not all has been bad for the Waterdogs, as they possess the No. 2 penalty kill unit in the league.
This game will likely determine who finishes last in the standings and, as a result, misses the post season while the other seven clubs play on.
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