PLL: Archers in first after win over Chaos

Archers’ Will Manny waves to the opposition after a goal. (Photo: PLL)

The Premier Lacrosse League’s second weekend of action came to a close Sunday with the Archers using an 11-2 scoring run over the final three quarters to beat Chaos 12-8. The win vaults the Archers to the top of the PLL standings with a 2-0 record – tied with Whipsnakes, but ahead on goal differential – while the Chaos second loss in Atlanta keeps them winless on the season, now 0-3.

Things looked good for Chaos as they led 4-1 after the first quarter thanks to a pair of transition two-point balls from longpole Ian MacKay. Head coach Andy Towers was asked about MacKay leading the offensive charge, to which he responded, “[MacKay]’s got a lot of swagger and a lot of confidence.”

The first quarter featured a series of turnovers by Archers attackmen, something head coach Chris Bates referenced at halftime, including one while they had a three-on-two advantage after a Chaos defender fell. Grant Ament scored the Archers’ lone first-quarter goal.

A pair of Chaos goals 29 seconds apart kept their momentum going, and their lead rising, now to 6-1. Dhane Smith found himself alone after good ball movement, and Jake Froccaro scored off a power play shot he admitted “got tipped, I got a bit lucky.” In week one, the Archers offense was all over Atlas 15-3 at halftime. It was only a matter of time before they got going.

Over four minutes and 22 seconds Tom Schreiber would convert a nifty Marcus Holman behind the back feed, Ament would score his second of the game on a shot that was possibly screened and Will Manny netted the first two thirds of his eventual hat trick. Smith tried to stop the run with his second of the game – a shot from just inside the two-point arc, and the third goal off four shots on target for Chaos in the period. Manny wasn’t done though, as he’d score from a seemingly impossible angle to the left of Blaze Riorden off a quick restart. Stephen Kelly won the ensuing faceoff, one of his 15 of 21 (71%), and ran straight to the net switching hands to tie the game at seven. Six seconds between goals was five seconds short of his own previous PLL record.

As Archers looked to keep their momentum in the second half, they had to kill off an early Latrell Harris holding penalty. Facing a powerplay of their own, with MacKay in the box for a full minute, Manny and then Connor Fields would score, both from the low left of Riorden – MacKay’s normal defensive spot. Following the goal, Fields commented in game “It’s really unselfish out there.” His words not only recapped the offensive outburst, but also proved prophetic. The passes were flying around the horn, but soon started coming from X. Schreiber was first to benefit as he beat the first defender and finished with a beautiful twist shot in tight, and then Holman would work off a double team, accept the pass from Ament and go airborne in front of Riorden for the finish.

Sergio Salcido’s dodge past the high midfield defender led to a goal for Chaos, ending not only a 10-2 Archers run, but also a 10 minute, 28 second goalless drought for Chaos. Manny would add his fifth before the end of the quarter as no one picked him up off a change and he made it 12-8.

Chaos tried to mount a comeback in the fourth, but they either turned the ball over (three times in the opening five minutes), or were stopped by Adam Ghitelman, who came on in relief of Drew Adams at halftime. Ghitelman allowed only one goal off eight shots on target in the half. Archers had a few chances of their own during another one minute man advantage but a Ryan McNamara shot was blocked and Manny’s bid for six was denied by Riorden. Despite the score, and loss, Blaze Riorden saved 21 of 33 shots on net (64%) – from a staggering total of 53 overall.

Chaos and Archers both return to the field June 26th in Baltimore with Chaos looking for their first win against the 2-1 Redwoods, and Archers trying to stay undefeated against the 2-1 Waterdogs.