For most of the Premier Lacrosse League season, 11 goals would have been enough to win you a game. But when the Whipsnakes turn on the gas, look out. Eleven goals was nowhere near enough for the Archers on Sunday afternoon as the Whipsnakes scored 17, sewing up first place in the PLL and a bye to the semi-finals. The Archers will face Atlas at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Both teams had entered the game undefeated.
Zed Williams opened the scoring, beating Adam Ghitelman while he was falling. Things were quiet until the 8:21 mark when Ryan Ambler tied the game with a similar shot. Three more goals followed in a span of 1:35. Scott Ratliff and Brad Smith exchanged goals, and then Josh Currier put the Archers on top 3-2 with a goal on the run.
There were no cars on the field, but the action in the second quarter was fast and furious. The Whipsnakes turned on the gas, outscoring the Archers 6-3 for an 8-6 lead at halftime. Matt Rambo led the charge with a pair of goals and assists. Late in the quarter he went airborne for a goal and was pushed down by Curtis Corley, prompting several seconds of silence from NBC (as they’ve been muting certain language). On the next possession, Corley lost Brad Smith as Smith converted Rambo’s pass in front of the net.
Zed Williams helped lead the Whipsnakes in the quarter with two more goals including a shot that he sent right over teammate Mike Chanechuk, who had the foresight to crouch down to let the shot sail straight in.
Each team scored three times in the third quarter. The best goal was the Archers’ Christian Mazzone faking out Kyle Bernlohr in goal, though the Whipsnakes led 11-9 when the horn sounded.
Rambo continued his unselfish play in the fourth, continuing to dish the ball to his teammates. Williams, Locasio and Mike Chanechuk scored for a 14-9 Whipsnakes lead. John Haus contributed Whipsnakes’ last three goals.
“Every game we go in and play Whipsnakes ball,” said Rambo post-game. “It’s pretty easy when you throw it to Zeddy who finishes everything and John Haus and guys like that. I’m just happy that they could finish for me and play really hard ball.”
The Whipsnakes were just better all over the field. They took the battle at the X with 22/31 wins. They scooped 38 ground balls to the Archers’ 19, and faceoff man Joe Nardella picked up 14 of those on his own. They fired a whopping 49 shots (32 on goal) at the Archers’ goalies.
Rambo had an incredible 10 points – two goals and eight assists. Haus had four goals and two assists, Williams four goals and one assist. Smith scored a hat trick and Locasio had a pair.