LOWELL, MASS. — LOWELL, Mass. - Any resemblance the 2002 Major League Lacrosse champion Bayhawks team shares with the 2003 squad is pure coincidence.
And player-coach Gary Gait didn't need to run his fingers through his gray hair while contemplating the reasons.
"I just don't think we're in sync," Gait said last night after the Boston Cannons routed the Bayhawks, 22-15, at Cawley Stadium. "We've got to pick up the intensity and effort, and we're not playing smart."
No wonder the Bayhawks (6-4) have lost three of their last four games and last night blew a chance to clinch a playoff berth and move into the National Division lead.
"Tonight, it was really about loose balls," Gait said. "In the first half, that was the key.
"We kept giving them opportunity after opportunity. Instead of giving them one 45-second clock, they'd get three and they're out. And we'd come down and get one. Once they possessed the ball and got three chances every time they got the ball on offense, then you're going to get penalties."
He was right, because the Cannons (6-4) whipped five man-up goals past Bayhawks goalie Greg Cattrano.
Consecutive man-up goals by Gait gave the Bayhawks a 7-6 lead barely four minutes into the second quarter. But when the Bayhawks' Matt Dwan was whistled for slashing, Boston's Steve Dusseau and Mike Battista fired man-up goals past Cattrano for a lead the Cannons would not relinquish.
Conor Gill paced Boston with three goals and three assists while Dusseau and Michael Watson notched four goals apiece. Mark Millon and Buggs Combs paced the Bayhawks with three goals apiece.
"They got a lot of goals off rebounds," Gait said.
Nobody was in better position to verify that statement than Cattrano, the three-time all-star who allowed one goal fewer than his season high.
"They had some good looks and shot the ball incredibly well," Cattrano said. "They were very effective shooting the ball on the run. When teams shoot on the run, they're going to score some goals. They're going to shoot some wide, but they're going to score some goals."
Whatever hopes the Bayhawks had of continuing the momentum built up by their win over New Jersey were dashed in a few minutes - or just as long as it took the Cannons to build a 3-1 lead.
The Bayhawks showed signs of life when Millon scored a goal and assisted on another to spark a rally that pulled them into a 5-5 tie after the first quarter. But Michael Watson's man-up goal 19 seconds into the second quarter gave Boston a 6-5 lead.
"We might just be looking toward the playoffs too soon," Cattrano said, groping for another reason for the team's dismal performance. "We cannot do that. It's happened in the last three games we've lost. The playoffs are still a few weeks away."
Bayhawks 5 4 2 4 - 15
Boston 5 7 5 5 - 22
Goals: BA-Combs 3, Millon 3, Gait 2, Sims, Frye, Marechek, Cantabene, Moran, Sonke; BO-Dusseau 4, Watson 4, Rothfuss 3, Gill 3, Battista 3, Regan, Evans, Leveille. Two-point goals: BA-Sonke; BO-Regan. Assists: BA-Millon 3, Marechek, Cattrano; BO-Evans 3, Gill 3, Silcott, Dusseau. Shots: BA 9 --14- 10- 12 - 45, BO 14 --21- 18 -17 - 70. Saves: BA-Catttrano 3 5 7 7 - 22; BO-Garrity 3 5 7 6 - 21. Penalties-minutes: BA-10-13; BO-5-7. A-4,172.