February 5, 2011

Dawson Scores 300th Goal in Boston Win

by Patrick Clark O'Brien | NLL.com

The Boston Blazers defeated the Toronto Rock 9-7 on Saturday night at TD Garden. The Blazers improve to 4-3 while the Rock drop to 4-2. Boston led 6-2 at halftime and hung on behind the play of Anthony Cosmo, who made 29 saves in the Blazers net. Dan Dawson and Kevin Buchanan each had three goals for the Blazers. Garrett Billings led the Rock with three goals.

In a defense driven rematch, the Boston Blazers (4-3) won 9-7 against the Toronto Rock (4-2) at the TD Garden on Saturday night.

"I thought we were really good defensively; I thought [Boston] was really good defensively," said Rock Head Coach Troy Cordingley. "We struggled a lot on offense in the first quarter. The first half, their defense played very physically and we couldn't penetrate the prime scoring area."

The first quarter of the game was defined by quick turnovers and solid defense on both ends of the field. Boston's Anthony Cosmo and Toronto's Bob Watson made quite a few good saves in net. Casey Powell fired a behind the back snap to Geoff McNulty who scored the only goal for the Blazers in the first quarter.

A penalty on Blazers defenseman Damon Edwards handed the Rock a power play which they took advantage of. Garret Billings scored for the Rock; it was 1-1 going into the second frame.

"We always try to stress being disciplined from the penalty aspect and also disciplined sticking to our systems," said Blazers Head Coach Matt Sawyer. "We took a couple of undisciplined penalties, three of them to be exact and I thought that let them back in the game. So that is something we are constantly battling with and I'm sure every coach will tell you that."

In the second quarter, the Blazers picked up more rebounds and fresh shot-clocks allowing them to score five more goals including Dawson's 300th career goal. The Rock were less fortunate and were only able to add one more point to the board. The Blazers pulled ahead in the second quarter, defining the rest of the night. The score was 6-2 going into the half.

"We only put up 14 shots in the first half and that's just not good enough," said Cordingley. "We were chasing the whole time against a very good team, Boston. We can't play that way, we can't play catch-up because they are very well coached."

Kevin Buchanan and Dan Dawson led the Blazers with goals, both scoring hat-tricks. Buchanan scored his three goals by whipping the ball at the net, while Dawson sent a few snipes and dives at crucial moments.

"I'll trade those 300 [goals] for a championship any day, I've been ten years in the making. That's a nice accolade for yourself, but honestly those things don't mean much to me," said Dawson.

"I thought [the game] was a very good character win from every aspect of the whole team: defense, offense, and goal. I thought it was a step in the right direction," added Dawson. "We tend to be a Jekyll and Hyde team, sometimes we put together a full 60 minutes and last weekend at home we showed what happens when we don't show-up."

Cosmo surpassed 6,000 career minutes in net, and made 29 saves out of 36 shots tonight. Watson, NLL Defensive Player of the Week last week, made 37 saves out of 46 shots.

"[Cosmo] is the heart and soul of this team. He is our backbone and when he puts together an effort like that, it is fun to watch," said Dawson. "Holding Toronto to seven goals is just remarkable and they are a very lethal team offensively and he showed why he is the best goalie in this league. We are going to ride him as far as he'll take us and he knows that."

After pulling ahead in the second quarter, the Blazers kept there lead throughout the second half. They put three goals on the board in the final 30 minutes. The Rock, who scored five goals in the final half, were never able to catch up. Josh Sanderson rallied the team and crowd when he scored after Toronto's Leblanc and Beirnes each scored. The final score was 9-7.

"We have eight offensive players out there and there is one ball and they share it around a lot. One day Casey has five and [Buchanan] has three and if Casey goes one then we are hoping that Dawson picks it up," said Sawyer. "So again we don't care who scores in the group, as long as we score one more than the other team. That's two games in a row where Dan has piled up multiple goal games."

The Boston Blazers were led by Dan Dawson (3g, 2a), Kevin Buchanan (3g, 0a), and Casey Powell (1g, 5a). Leading the way for the Toronto Rock were Garrett Billings (3g, 0a), Blaine Manning (1g, 2a), and Stephan Leblanc (1g, 2a).

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