By Kevin J. Stone with media supplemental credits to PLL

FOXBORO – Friday night was not just a historic night for the Cannons Lacrosse Club, but it also represented some history for Professional lacrosse in Massachusetts.

The Premier Lacrosse League kicked off their third season with the Cannons LC – the newly minted club, with a rich historical presence – from the former Major League Lacrosse, along with many familiar faces to the Boston area, on display at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

With the opening game of the 2021 season being televised on the Peacock Television Network, and the stands full of lively and excited fans, the stage was set for a memorable opener, as the Cannons battled the Redwoods Lacrosse Club.

The Cannons ended up on the short end of this Friday-night thriller, by a score of 12-11, but this night and weekend are about the “fastest game on two feet” returning to play in front of crowds -with a collection of local lacrosse stars showcasing their skills for three days at the House That Brady Built. The estimated 7,000-8,000 people on hand were treated to a game that featured, back and forths, star power, and a one-goal game that came down to the final minute of play.

Local Talent Shines Bright

On Friday, John Sexton (Lincoln-Sudbury) Finn Sullivan (West Roxbury, Roxbury Latin, Avon Old Farms), and Ryder Garnsey (Wolfeboro, NH & Philips Academy Andover), suited up for the Redwoods while Nick Marrocco (Duxbury) assumed his regular role as starting goalie for the Cannons while Drew Simoneau (Goffstown, NH), John Uppgren (Tufts, Choate) and Reece Reddy (Boston University) were all wearing the red, white and blue as well.

“It was electric,” said Redwoods head coach Nat St. Laurent. “I was a little jammed up, our bus missed the first turn into security so we had to circle around the stadium twice, but it was just a cool feeling to see kids out playing lacrosse. It’s raining, there was tailgating, and that kind of got the juices flowing. You walk out to the stadium, the music’s playing, and the lights are on, so that was great.

“Then, during pregame hugs, I talked to both (Sullivan and Sexton) and the first thing out of my mouth was “welcome home.” I got a huge smile out of both of those guys, they were excited and I’m happy we were able to get a win for those guys.”

Cannons head coach Sean Quirk – who coached the Boston Cannons to a MLL title a year ago, and now represents the Cannons LC as their first head coach – talked about how excited the entire team was as well as the local guys.

“I think for those guys they’re more local to the Boston area and they were certainly excited to get out there and compete,” he said. “They were excited to compete in the Boston area and they obviously mean a lot to the Cannons, but every guy in that locker room means a lot to the Cannons so every guy was excited to get out there and compete tonight at the highest level.”

As for the game itself, the Cannons couldn’t have asked for a better start to their historic new endeavor as arguably the best player in the world, Lyle Thompson scored the first goal with a ridiculous dive. Holden Garlent and Thompson added two more quickies for a 3-0 Cannons lead.

Myles Jones showed his impressive size, speed, and skill combo with an insane leaping/diving goal to get the Redwoods on the board. Tyson Bell scored on a fast break to push it to 4-2 but Matt Kavanaugh cut it to 4-3 before a lefty from Andrew Kew made it 5-3 but a late goal from Rob Pannell cut the Cannons lead to just 5-4 after one.

It was all Redwoods in the second despite the best efforts of Marrocco. Goals from Jones, Jules Heninburg, Sergio Perkovic, and Ryan Lee put the Cannons in an 8-5 hole at the half while in the other cage Tim Troutner made life difficult.

The Cannons exploded out of the gate in the third with three straight goals from Ryan Drenner, Paul Rabil, and Andrew Kew to make it 8-8 heading to the fourth.

Rabil was just getting started, potting the first two goals in the fourth to put the Cannons up 10-8 with 8:05 left. Drenner made it 11-8 19 seconds later, but that was the last time the Cannons found the back of the net. TD Ierlan was a beast at the faceoff X (21/27) and allowed the Redwoods to rip off the next three goals to tie things up at 11-11 with 3:36 to go.

A critical offside penalty ended up costing the Cannons the game as Pannell scored on the man-up opportunity with under two minutes left and the Redwoods’ D snuffed out the final Cannons’ possession.

“We ended up losing, but it was against the run of play in my opinion,” said Rabil. “I thought the atmosphere was really great. It was really a template of how a PLL game goes…I think you saw great individual performances on their end and on our end you saw great offense.”

“Seeing the two go head-to-head is always going to get people excited. The environment was fantastic and I think where we’re at as a league right now is just the beginning.”

Saturday’s Slate

Games are set for 5:00 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. on Saturday and the Cannons return to the field at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday to face the Waterdogs before the game of the weekend concludes with the Chrome and the Redwoods (4 PM). At halftime of the 7:45 p.m. game this evening, the Boston College women’s lacrosse team will be recognized for their recent national championship. The Tewaarton Award will also be announced and presented tonight at halftime of the 6:00 p.m. game. The best players in the men’s and women’s college lacrosse season will be honored.

Media from the PLL

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Game Clips/Highlights /Photos from last night’s action – PLL