PLL: Every team in action during opening weekend in Albany

Atlas LC’ Jeff Teat in PLL action. (Photo: Premier Lacrosse League)

The Premier Lacrosse League opened their 2022 season this weekend with four games at the University of Albany.

On Saturday, Atlas Lacrosse Club beat Redwoods Lacrosse Club 17-11 while the Whipsnakes narrowly escaped peril, beating Chaos 9-8. The Whipsnakes-Chaos game was a repeat of last year’s championship.

Chaos won that championship last season and goaltender Blaze Riorden was the MVP. Before the game, Riorden said that “it’s great to be home… I can’t wait to display what the 2022 Chaos team will do.”

The Whipsnakes were able to use their midfield players to score four of their nine goals. Mike Chanenchuk scored a hat trick while Connor Kirst scored once. The attack had five points with Justin Guterding scoring twice. Matt Rambo, Jay Carlson and Jackson Reid had the others.

Kyle Bernhlor made eight saves for Whipsnakes and let in seven, one of which was a 2-point goal by Mac O’Keefe to kick off the second quarter and put them up 5-2 at the time. O’Keefe added another for Chaos later in the game.

The rookie class of Chaos did well with O’Keefe stealing the show. Five of their seven rookies made a big impact for Chaos, which helped due to the number of missing players for the team, with several still playing in the NLL Finals (Josh Byrne, Dhane Smith, Chase Fraser, etc).

Speaking of Chaos, it was anything but with Blaze in the cage. Riorden, who seems to thrive in Albany, had 13 saves. And although his team couldn’t find the back of the net enough times to win, Riorden leads the league with his save percentage early in the season.

The Atlas-Redwoods game was a little more lopsided. The game began with two goals from Jeff Teat, and he would add two more goals (back to back again) later in the game. He also score the last goal of the game, bringing his total goals to five for the night while adding two assists along the way. Eric Law was also an offensive star for Atlas as he pulled in three goals and four assists. Combined, they were responsible for 14 points.

Redwoods LC saw Jules Heningburg score four goals. Jack Kelly struggled in goal with a 23% save average and his teammate, Tim Troutner, fared just a little better at 25%. Of course guys like Law and Teat find many ways to put the ball in the net.

On Sunday, the league was back in action with two more games, and their scores were reminiscent of Saturday’s outcomes with one game decided by a single goal, and one with a clear winner. It was all Cannons in the 16-10 game against the Waterdogs while Chrome squeaked out an 11-10 win over the Archers.

First up, firing with all Cannons.

The Cannons dominated the game in both the first and second quarters. They went up 7-2 in the first quarter, and scored five more in the second to make it 12-3 at the end of the half. The Waterdogs would score more in both the third and fourth quarters; but not nearly enough to pull off the win.

Lyle Thompson continued to look like the superstar that he is. He threw in four goals and had two assists. Two of his goals were unassisted. And true to Thompson ‘sstyle, he isn’t just a threat on offense. He can also threaten goalies when they have the ball, as well as defensive players who go on the offense.

Several Waterdog players had two-point games including Michael Sowers, Ethan Walker and Zach Currier. However, it was not enough to put them over the Cannons.

The faceoffs were evenly matched on both teams. Between the pipes, Matt DeLuca struggled a little with just a 38% save percentage for the Waterdogs. His counterpart for the Cannons, Nick Marrocco, had a 66% save percentage.

Chrome then narrowly defeated the Archers in a closely contested game. Much like the other Sunday game, one team dominated the first half while the other team dominated the second half. It was all Chrome in the first half, outscoring the Archers 8-3. The second half saw the Archers score seven to Chrome’s three. It was not enough.

Dylan Molloy had two goals and two assists to lead the offense for Chrome. Brendan Nichtern also had two goals as did Jordan MacIntosh. Connor Farrell had a 61% face off percentage, dominating in the game. Between the pipes, Sean Sconone saved 11 while letting in 10.

For the Archers, Marcus Holman and Will Manny each scored four times and had three assists each. Surprisingly, Tom Schreiber had just one assist. Adam Ghitelman had a 44% save percentage in goal.

Week two’s matchups include Chrome taking on Redwoods. Chrome will need to have solid team play to beat a hungry Redwoods team. Also playing on Friday is the Archers and Chaos. Look for returning MVP Blaze Riorden to be tested by the Archers who have the potential to have a potent offense.

Week two’s other matchups include the Cannons playing Atlas. Look for the offensive superstars to collide in that one. The goalies will have to work extra hard as both teams proved they are dangerous in week one. The Whipsnakes will then take on the Waterdogs. Both teams struggled to find their rhythm with their offenses. Look for one team to try to get on the board early. One team will drop to 0-2.