Nick DiGianivittorio Jr., Correspondent Atlas LC
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: Di Miller
The Premier Lacrosse League’s inaugural and unique post season concluded with the last first round playoff game and Atlas LC (5-5) squaring off against Chrome LC (2-8). The winner would advance straight to the Championship game in Philadelphia on September 21st and the loser would move into the second round to face Archers LC in the First Round Draft Pick bracket. Whenever these two teams have met, it has always been a battle from the first whistle to the last tick of the clock. Throughout the league, it has been mentioned that besides Greg “The Beast” Gurenlian who plays for Redwoods LC, Connor Farrell from Chrome is one of the few face-off men that can match pace with Trevor Baptiste from Atlas. Looking towards the offensive units, Eric Law stands on the attack line along with Ryan Brown who seems to have nothing but chemistry on the field when playing for Atlas. Offensively for Chrome, Justin Guterding and Jordan Wolf are looked at as the aces of the offensive line and their past history with playing at Duke University together has carried them through the season thus far. Final Score: Atlas LC 17—Chrome LC 8.
Fan’s couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game than a two point goal from Atlas’ very own Connor Buczek with an absolute rip from the arc at the 8:16 mark. Less than three minutes later however, Chrome would get on the board at 5:43 with a goal from Jordan Wolf by himself making the score 2-1 in favor of Atlas. From this point on, Atlas dominated the rest of the quarter by answering Chrome’s single goal with three more of their own. Goal scorers were Eric Law assisted by Paul Rabil at the 3:36 mark; Buczek with another unassisted goal at 2:35; and Ryan Conrad at 1:53 assisted by Kieran McArdle. This concluded the first quarter with Atlas having a 5-1 commanding lead over Chrome.
With the start of the second quarter, Atlas did not let up the pressure and continued their dominate performance in the game. Just as he did in the first, Buczek opened up the goal scoring with yes, another two point goal from beyond the arc at the 9:47 mark of the frame. Buczek did not go quiet after this goal and scored 17 seconds later with an unassisted shot right to the cage. Continuing the Atlas advance was John Crawley from the midfield unit who notched an unassisted goal for himself putting the Atlas lead to 9-1. Chrome, needing an answer soon, turned to Greg Coholan and in his debut would score unassisted from the midfield and would notch the second Chrome goal of the afternoon at the 7:34 mark. Both teams continued to battle with no goal scoring until the 3:50 mark when Jake Richard went unassisted from the midfield and took it to the cage and got on the scoreboard for the night. Chrome would go ahead and answer the 10-2 Atlas lead with two straight goals of their own. First was Guterding who was assisted by who else, Jordan Wolf at the 2:30 mark with a great placement shot making the Atlas lead 10-3. Immediately following that goal from the face-off X, face-off man Connor Farrell won the draw from Trevor Baptiste and took the ball right down the middle of the field and scored seven seconds later cutting the Atlas lead 10-4. This would ultimately end the scoring for the second quarter and by the end of the first half, Atlas had a dominating lead of 10-4.
Both teams went scoreless with a battle on the defensive ends shutting down each other’s offensive units. It wasn’t until the 9:56 mark in the third quarter when Paul Rabil midfielder for Atlas, came charging down the field. He’d break the defending players stick with his arm, fall to the ground only to get back up and notch an unassisted goal for himself on the evening. This would advance the Atlas lead to 11-4. About a minute and a half later, Atlas would tally another goal from Law who received a beautiful crafted pass from teammate Chris Cloutier and bury the ball in the back of the net at the 8:20 mark. Chrome needed an answer and fast and this initiated Chrome’s largest run of the game where they rattled off three straight goals in the third. First up was Guterding with an assist from Ned Crotty at the 6:28 mark who was coming down the field and saw his teammate towards the corner of the goal. Guterding had a beautiful pump fake that confused not only the Atlas goalie Jack Concannon, but also his defender Cade Van Raaphorst and leading to Chrome’s first goal of the quarter. Next to score from Chrome was attackman Simon Mathias unassisted at the 5:48 mark; followed by another unassisted goal at the 4:23 mark by Wolf. Atlas seeing their lead cut to only five goals now needed to end the Chrome onslaught and their answer came in the form of Ryan Brown at the 3:20 mark with an assist from Crawley. As the third quarter came to a close with 1:21 remaining, the man of the day Buczek wanted to make sure that Chrome did not forget about him or what he did to them in the first half. Buczek had an absolute rip from beyond the arc and scored his third two point goal on the afternoon thus making up for the three goals that Chrome had worked hard to achieve that quarter. By the end of the third, Atlas increased their lead 15-7 over Chrome.
The fourth quarter saw a little less action in scoring from the previous three. Chrome would open up with the fourth scoring at the 10:29 mark with Joel White receiving an awkward ground ball pass from Mathias and scored with a running low to low shot on goal. This would ultimately be the last goal that Chrome would score for the remainder of the game. McArdle would score unassisted for Atlas with 5:36 left and the scoring would conclude with the player of the game Buczek, scoring with 3:37 remaining in the game with an assist from Ryan Conrad. The final score 17-8, was the result of a dominating Atlas performance and showing the Premier Lacrosse League that they deserve a spot in Philadelphia.
Chrome will have to go back to the drawing board to address the X’s and the O’s however a major component that Chrome can hang their hat on is that face-off man Connor Farrell. He was the first player all season to have a higher winning percentage against Trevor Baptiste. Hopefully Chrome can use this silver and prepare for their second round game against the Archers. A win there would result in a first round match up of Atlas and Chrome.
Chrome LC (2-9) will face Archers LC (5-6) in Round Two of the First Draft Pick Bracket on Saturday September 14, game time 8:00 p.m. EST and the game can be seen on NBCSG.
Atlas LC (6-5) has a bye-week and will play in the First Draft Pick Championship Game on Saturday September 21 in Philadelphia. They’ll face the winner of Game Five on Saturday September 7. Game time 11:30 a.m. EST and the game can be seen on NBCSG.
Nick DiGianivittorio Jr., Correspondent Atlas LC
Lacrosse is Awesome©