PLL: Down go the defending champs

Connor Farrell of Chrome gets a step on a Whipsnakes’ player. (Photo: PLL)

It was a bad day to be a Whipsnake.

Chrome Lacrosse Club picked up their first win of the season on Sunday with a decisive 16-6 victory over the defending champions.

Either way, a streak was going to end in this one. The Whipsnakes were working on a win streak dating back to 2019, and Chrome had yet to win a game this season.

Zed Williams, injured on Friday, did not play. Shortly after the game began, a hard play caused an injury to Matt Rambo. He would be in and out of the game several times before heading off the field for the rest of the game. That, coupled with a team that seemed exhausted from play earlier this weekend, meant the Whipsnakes had to dig deeply.

Chrome, also battling some injuries, decided today was their day to shine. They got solid goaltending from John Galloway, who dazzled between the pipes as the heat radiated off the field.

Galloway made 21 saves, but even more impressive was his 78% save percentage. He stopped long shots, short shots, one-on-one shots, and almost everything else. He stated, “We have an unbelievable toughness on the defensive end… Defensively, we played fantastic. It was our job to respond.”

This is what they did today. The defense had 10 caused turnovers and scooped up 16 ground balls. They had relatively few penalties and worked hard to keep the opposing offense out of the critical scoring lane for most of the game. The few shots that did go in were expected, as the Whipsnakes have been unbeaten for years.

And the offense was present as well. Jackson Morrill led with six points (4G/2A). Colin Heacock had five (3G/2A). Also getting in on the action were Jordan MacIntosh with three points while Justin Guterding, Ned Crotty and Justin Anderson each contributed two points.

While the Premier Lacrosse League has been known for heavy hitting and a quick pace, both seemed a little calmer during this game. Perhaps it was the heat, being physically exhausted, or battling injuries, but the Whipsnakes were quite tame without Zed Williams and Matt Rambo. Their goaltenders split time, with Reed Junkin making one save and Kyle Bernlohr making 13. Seven caused turnovers was not enough to save the defense even with their 24 ground balls.

Having a solid offensive game for Whipsnakes was Chris Aslanian with three points and Connor Kirst with two. Also scoring single points for the Whipsnakes were Brad Smith, John Haus, Michael Ehrhardt and Mike Chanenchuk.

And while a loss is concerning, of greater concern are the injuries to Williams and Rambo. The team will have to learn to compete without them if their injuries are severe enough to hold them out of next weekend’s competition whereas Chrome will have to take their lessons of selfless team play and believing in themselves into next weekend to try and continue climbing in the standings.