Week two was another wild and crazy outing in the Premier Lacrosse League with much of the same hard hitting, high scoring and intense play that was seen the week before in Boston – and the fans were not disappointed.
Atlas Gets Lost in Chaos
Atlas lost to Chaos despite leading in goals in each of the last two quarters. Trevor Baptiste proved that he can continue to be a dominant faceoff guy winning 20 of the 30 faceoffs he took. He also contributed an assist – something he struggled with in the indoor game. Also contributing more than last week was Kieran McArdle who led the team offensively with a hat trick. He tied the Atlas point total with Connor Buczek who contributed one 1-point goal and a 2-point goal. Chris Cloutier came in a close second with two goals and one assist. The midfield may need to work on working a little bit more with the offense as they only contributed five goals. This would be normal in a traditional game but that’s not what the PLL is going for. Hopefully the big names like Kyle Hartzell and Paul Rabil can start confusing the defense and putting more goals in the net.
For team Atlas, the midfield certainly was scooping up the ground balls and controlling that aspect of the game. Twenty-five ground balls were scooped up by the midfield, and Baptiste was credited with 10 of them. In fact, Baptiste scooped up the exact number of balls that the entire Chaos midfield did. Jack Concannon made nine saves while giving up 15 goals. That, combined with the defense’s six ground balls seemed to contribute to the team’s loss.
Speaking of six ground balls, Brodie Merrill single-handedly did what the entire defense for Chaos did with those six ground balls. The difference is that Merrill also had help from the rest of his guys. It is no surprise that as powerful as Merrill is on defense, Miles Thompson appears to be the same way on offense. His four goals were only outmatched by Jake Froccaro who contributed a hat trick and a 2-pointer – which were the name of the game – and Matt Rees, who added two goals as well as an astonishing two 2-point goals. Pretty impressive because there was only one two point goal scored all of last weekend. All in all, Chaos seemed to have the upper hand in almost every category. Three of their four offensive guys found the back of the net. Six of their midfielders were involved in at least one goal each. Chaos does not appear to be very “chaotic” at all – this team is running like a well-oiled machine.
Chrome Dulled By Whipsnakes
In yet another close game, the Whipsnakes defeated Chrome 12-11 in the first game of Week 2. There was a lot of energy and expectation in the crowd, which was pegged at 10,733 over the weekend. Once again, the fans received bonus lacrosse because this game went into overtime after exchanging leads in the game.
Chrome used a surprising tactic, utilizing both of its faceoff guys. Connor Farrell took 17 faceoffs and won 13 while Drew Simoneau took eight and won three. The same strategy was used by the Whipsnakes as Joe Nardella took 18 face-offs and won seven while Isaac Paparo took seven and won two. It is the first time we have really seen two teams do this during this young season. Jordan Wolf scored three goals while John Ranagan scored one 1-point goal and one 2-point goal. Justin Guterding also continued to impress fans with his willingness to go hard and find the back of the net. Despite John Galloway’s 17 saves, the defense could not get a handle on the Whipsnakes and their offense in the end.
John Haus led the scoring with a 1-point goal and one 2-point goal. Several others contributed goals including Matt Rambo who can get any crowd fired up as he powers through defenders. Tim Muller led the defense in ground balls while Kyle Bernlohr finished with 13 saves and 10 goals allowed.
Archers Shoot Down Redwoods
The Archers won a close game by one goal over the Redwoods. Once again there seemed to be a lot of back and forth in the game. Unlike last week, Tom Schreiber did not find the back of the net with any two point goals, much to the disappointment of the fans. It seemed like everyone was expecting a high-scoring battle between the two teams. With a 10-9 finish with the Archers in front, that was not the case.
Schreiber, Will Manny and Ben McIntosh all had two for the Archers to lead their team in scoring. The defense only collected four ground balls. The majority of the ground balls collected came from the midfielders and the attack. Adam Ghitelman had 14 saves.
As usual, Greg Gurenlian clearly dominated the faceoff position by winning 13 of the 22 he took. Joe Walters played his second strong offensive game while contributing two goals for team Redwoods as did Sergio Perkovic and Clarke Petterson. Goalie Tim Troutner gave up 10 goals and made 12 saves.
This puts two teams at 2-0, two teams at 1-1, and two teams at 0-2. The Archers and Whipsnakes are in first place. The Redwoods and team Chaos are each 1-1. Atlas and Chrome have yet to pull of victories. Another interesting point is the goal differential. The Archers, Whipsnakes, Chaos and Redwoods are all in the positive range. Chrome is at -2 while team Atlas is -7. That is a pretty large gap in a professional league where almost every game seems to come down to the last few minutes. In terms of the offense, Marcus Holman leads the league in points per game with five. He’s followed closely behind by Will Manny and Josh Byrne. There is a tie for goals per game. It should come as no surprise that Manny finds himself tied with Byrne in this category. Jordan Wolf is leading with four assists per game.
Scott Ratliff is leading the league with three cause turnovers per game. Connor Farrell leads with an average of nine ground balls per game. Rounding out the defense – the best line of defense is often the goalie – Jack Concannon is averaging 20 saves per game.
Look for some high scoring games and some heavy hitting in Week 3 when the PLL hits Chicago. The wind will be whipping and the sticks will be flying when the PLL comes to town.