Thursday night the Whipsnakes LC (2-0) dominated Atlas LC (1-2) 15-6 to strengthen their hold on first place in Group Play at the PLL Championship Series in Herriman, Utah. This was the Whipsnakes first game since opening day Saturday.
Prior to the game starting Atlas received some terrific news as defenseman Tucker Durkin who tested positive for COVID-19 prior to training camp had been cleared and is virus free and allowed in the bubble. His task: guard Matt Rambo.
John Crawley started things off for Atlas with a bit of a hop step jump as he rolled from behind the net to get the scoring going. The Whipsnakes didn’t waste any time getting back into the game and taking the lead as Joe LoCascio and Max Tuttle would find the back of the net and give them the lead.
Both defenses were playing a bit stingy as both goaltenders came up big, that is, until Rob Pannell would roll dodge from behind the net and find Paul Rabil cutting in from up top to overpower the defender and fire a one-handed shot to tie the game. Whipsnakes Jay Carlson would pick up a loose ball in a scrum to get his first of the night and they would regain the lead 3-2 as the first quarter would come to an end.
The second quarter would start with up and back action as teams would struggle to get any type of shot, but it would be Atlas’ Ryan Brown who would find a wide-open area and take a pass from Pannell and bury his first to tie the game at three apiece. But the Whipsnakes didn’t let that last long as Matt Rambo would find Zed Williams for his first of the night and give the Whipsnakes the lead again.
With Atlas down two men, the Whipsnakes would take advantage and increase their lead as Mike Chanenchuk would score his first, Zed Williams would follow right after scoring his second of the game to increase the lead to 6-3. Jay Carlson would keep the scoring going for the Whipsnakes as he would score the next two goals completing his hat trick and increase the lead to 8-3 as the first half would come to a close. Joe Nardella won nine straight face-offs, 7-0 in second quarter.
Carlson would score his fourth of the night and third in a row on a back handed catch and bounce shot as he moved away from the net. With goalie Kyle Bernlohr out of position it would be Matt Dunn making a save as he would throw his right shoulder up for the save to maintain the six-goal lead for the Whipsnakes.
Matt Rambo would finally get on the board picking up Zed Williams’ missed shot and come from behind the net untouched to find the back of the net as the shot clock dwindled down As the third quarter ended the Whipsnakes would hold a 10-3 lead, and also keep Atlas scoreless for the last 21:02.
After killing off a one-minute non-releasable penalty for a headshot, the Whipsnakes would pick up another loose ball in a scrum and find Mike Chanenchuk just above the two-point arc as he would fire it to the back of the net and increase the Whipsnakes lead to 12-3.
Romar Dennis would finally score for Atlas after 25:32 to reduce the lead to 12-4. Just 42 seconds later, Mike Chanenchuk would pick up his hat trick and the Whipsnakes would be back up by nine.
Zed Williams would collect his hat trick just 11 seconds later by going low-to-high to make it a 14-4 lead and outscore Atlas 11-1.
Eric Law would net his first for Atlas, but just seconds after the faceoff, Brad Smith would get the goal back for the Whipsnakes.
Romar Dennis would collect his second of the night and the half as he would roll to the left and fire one to the back of the net for Atlas, but it wouldn’t be enough as Atlas would fall 15-6.
Whipsnakes as a team went 18-24 on the face-offs. Joe Nardella was 14-19 against one of the game’s best in Trevor Baptiste.
Zed Williams (5 pts, 3G/2A), Mike Chanenchuk (5 points, 2G/1 2-pt) and Jay Carlson (4G) led the Whipsnakes.
Romar Dennis (2G) led the Atlas goal scorers, while Rob Pannell picked up a pair of assists.
Whipsnakes (2-0, +14 Goal Diff) have two games remaining before the elimination round starts on August 4th. Friday at 7 p.m. versus Chaos LC, then on Sunday at noon they will face Archers LC.
Atlas (1-2, -10 Goal Diff) will face Redwoods LC (1-2, -4 Goal Diff) on Saturday in both teams’ final game.