Copperheads Victorious Over Jax In Opener

The PLL season started with a bang this weekend as the Charlotte Copperheads defeated the Jacksonville Bullies on the road by a score of 19 to 14 in front of 1,850 fans at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The big guns for both sides stepped up to the occasion, but the Bullies in the end fell just short.

The first goal in PLL history belongs to Copperheads forward Ethan Farrell who put it behind the Bullies goalkeeper. Charlotte marched out to an early 4 to 1 lead thanks to Matt Smalley and Brian Hickman but watched as that lead slowly slipped away. With goals from Kyle Hartzell, Scott Kahoe, and Kiel Matisz the Bullies tied things back up at four. Each team netted one more goal as the score stood 5-5 at the end of one quarter.

The teams exchanged blows in the second until it reached 8-7 in favor of the Copperheads. Charlotte began to pull away towards the end of the second scoring four straight goals, two of which coming from Greg Rogowski. The Copperheads took their 12 to 7 lead into halftime.

Matisz scored the first goal of the second half for the Bullies, but the Copperheads run was far from over. Charlotte scored four goals in a row to make the score 16 to 8 as the game was beginning to slip out of Jacksonville’s hands. However the Bullies weren’t ready to give up and closed the gap up once again in the fourth. The team got within three goals, but Charlotte was just too much. The Copperheads once again extended their lead and left the floor with a hard fought 19 to 14 victory.

Farrell (3+4) and Hickman (4+3) lead Charlotte with seven points each. Rogowski also competed the hat trick while dishing out one assist. Smalley, Nick Cotter, and Ryan Hotaling all netted two goals on the evening. Brad Conlon and Tory Stevens split time in net, each playing a half. Conlon made 14 saves on 23 shots while Stevens made 15 saves on 20 shots.

The Bullies roster featured some big names who stepped up to the plate despite the loss. Kiel Matisz, who is projected to be a top five pick in the upcoming NLL draft, lead the Bullies in scoring with four goals and an assist. Kyle Hartzell, an established defenseman in the NLL (Washington Stealth) and MLL (Chesapeake Bayhawks) also scored four goals. Josh Porcell had two goals while Kahoe, Wade Bucktooth, and Junior Bucktooth each had one goal. Spencer Lyons spent a majority of the time in net, making 25 saves on 39 shots. Erik Miller also got some time in as well, making 9 saves on 14 shots in 15 minutes of action.

The Charlotte Copperheads start off their season by moving to 1-0 while Jacksonville falls to 0-1. These two teams match-up once again next week as the teams move north to Charlotte. Stay tuned for all the latest out of the PLL now that they have one game under their belt.