PLL: Late night heroics from MacKay lifts Chaos past Archers

Chaos’ Ryan Smith throws a backhand towards Adam Ghitelman in the Archers’ net. (Photo credit: Premier Lacrosse League PLL)

While most of the country had called it a night and gone to bed, a few die-hards stayed up to take in the back half of a Friday night double header featuring the Archers LC taking on the Chaos LC in PLL action. An earlier three-hour lightening delay pushed back the start of the game to 11:30 p.m. local Albany time. Although the sun had set hours earlier, the conditions were still hot and humid when the two teams finally took the field under the lights of Tom and Mary Casey Stadium.

Despite the late start, the two teams went toe-to-toe for nearly two hours and those die-hard fans were treated to a heck of a ball game. With three minutes left and the game tied at 9-9, Jack Rowlett surgically stripped Grant Ament of the ball and passed it up field to a streaking Ian MacKay. When no one slid over to pick up MacKay he decided to let it rip from beyond the two-point arc. The bounce shot eluded goaltender Adam Ghitelman and the goal would stand up to be the game winner giving the Chaos an 11-9 victory.

The Archers had traded MacKay to the Chaos in the offseason and a fired-up MacKay remembered as he talked about the game winner.

“They didn’t slide to me, they didn’t respect me, so I just stuck my opportunity,” he said. “First and foremost, we want to win, but I’d be lying if I said it’s not a little bit in the back of my head. They got the better of us earlier in the year, so obviously, we’re in a playoff spot right now but now it’s trying to get good seeding. That’s the main priority right now.”

The Archers came out firing as Connor Fields, Ryan Ambler, Tom Schreiber and Marcus Holman all scored giving the blue and orange a 4-1 lead. With the Archers quick start, it was easy to forget that the Chaos had won three out of their last four. The tide of the game began to change in the second with a three-goal run by the Chaos as the turnovers started to pile up for the Archers. As the half ended, the Archers hung onto a slim 5-4 advantage.

Chaos got the exact start they needed to the third quarter with a Josh Byrne outside rip that evened the score. The Archers replied with two quick ones by Tre Leclaire and Holman, but Byrne was equal to the task scoring two more to knot the score 7-7. Chaos finally took the lead with goals by Max Adler and Chris Cloutier midway through the fourth, but back-to-back goals by Holman tied the game at 9-9 and set up the dramatic ending.

The Archers were led by Holman who accumulated four goals and two assists on the night. Connor Fields and Grant Ament had three and two points, respectively. However, it was 21 Archer turnovers, 13 of which were unforced, that was the difference in the game.

Josh Byrne and Chase Fraser combined for six goals, while Blaze Riorden only had to make 12 saves on the night.

Both clubs had already secured their spots in the PLL postseason with identical 4-4 records, but still have to play their last game of the season on Sunday. The two teams will meet again in the quarterfinals on Friday, August 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET.