Welcome to the Premier Lacrosse League, Ryan McNamara. The Archers’ second-round pick in the PLL Entry Draft scored a hattrick in his team’s first half, helping lead them to an 18-6 rout over Atlas on Saturday night. Eleven different Archers scored over the course of the triple-header finale, en route to shooting over 62 per cent for the game.
Of their 26 shots on net, the first eight counted in what was a rough night for Atlas netminder Jack Concannon (41 per cent save percentage for the game). The first quarter included a pair of two-point goals for Archers, including a transition rush by Scott Ratliff where the long-pole ripped a shot from beyond the line, and a buzzer-beater off the stick of Connor Fields – his first career two-point goal in his first game with Archers.
Atlas drew as close as 3-2 when John Crawley scored following sustained attack pressure, and three straight saves from Archers’ goaltender Adam Ghitelman – one off his own turnover. Archers pulled away from there, including a push up-field leading to the Fields buzzer-beater to lead 6-2 after 12 minutes.
They continued to roll to start the second with goals from Latrell Harris and McNamara sandwiched between a pair from Christian Mazzone – four goals in a one minute, four second span. Tom Schreiber only scored once in the game (following the four-goal outburst), but he drew a lot of attention from Atlas defenders. On one such play, two long poles were focused on ‘Captain America’ up high, allowing him to find McNamara on the right side to complete his hat trick and see Concannon replaced (until the third quarter) by JD Colarusso.
The change sparked third-overall Entry Draft pick Daniel Bucaro as he responded with a beautiful move cutting from behind the net and using a defender as a screen to score the only Atlas goal of the quarter. Archers would add three more before intermission, however, and lead 15-3 at the break. As good as the Archers offense was in the opening half, Atlas could not generate an attack of their own netting just three of 22 shots. Ghitelman allowed only four goals, making 17 saves for an 81 percentage.
Archers head coach Chris Bates commented before halftime, “We’re scoring in unconventional ways,” referring to Fields’ two-pointer, one goal for Schreiber, and no goals for Marcus Holman. That is, until two minutes into the third when Ratliff started transition again and fed a leading pass to Holman cutting in front of the net, who converted the easy finish. Crawley would answer with his second of the game, keeping his feet just above the two-point line to help the Atlas win the quarter 2-1, but still trail 16-5.
The Archers capitalized on Atlas drawman Trevor Baptiste missing the opening faceoff due to a late third quarter violation (he’d win 14 of 22 draws in the game), leading to a Ryan Ambler goal in the opening minute. Grant Ament added his second of the game before Romar Dennis used a nifty stutter-step to break to the net and net a final goal for Atlas.
Atlas were playing without first overall collegiate pick Jeff Teat who is on the ineligible to travel list || The PLL/NBC broadcast ran a feature on Archers’ Jackson Place who was playing his first game since the 2019 season where he was taken off the field on a stretcher suffering a ‘spinal concussion’ || Paired with Ghitelman’s stellar evening was a pair of defenders making their debuts – Graeme Hossack and Warren Jeffrey – who both had strong games || This was the only game of Opening Weekend for both Atlas and Archers. Atlas face Redwoods June 12th at 3 p.m., and Archers will battle Chaos June 13th at 3:45 p.m. when the PLL stops in Georgia || PLL action, and ILWT coverage, continues with a pair of Sunday games – Cannons vs Waterdogs at 1 p.m. and Redwoods vs Chrome at 3:45 p.m.