Di Miller, PLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: Di Miller
On Saturday September 7, in the Inaugural Playoffs for the PLL and Game Three of the First Round, the No. 1 Seed Chaos LC (7-4) would host the No. 2 Seed Whipsnakes LC (7-4) in what everyone thought would be a close game. In the previous two meetings of the teams each would be determined by one goal, but that was the regular season; and this was the playoffs. Whipsnakes would pull out all the stops and go on a 10 goal scoring streak, wreaking havoc on Chaos shutting them out in the third stunning the fans and the sidelines. They would go on to win hands down sending them to the Championship Game on Saturday September 21 in Philadelphia. Final Score: Whipsnakes 15—Chaos 7.
Chaos would win the opening draw but it would take over six minutes to tick of the timer before the scoring would begin. Dhane Smith (2g) with the backdoor feed from Connor Fields (2g, 2a) would score on the inside at 6:22 getting them on the board 1-0. Whipsnakes couldn’t seem to get themselves into playoff mode with sloppy passes and misreads in the first and Chaos would take advantage. Fields would pull one of his nifty back and forth dodge moves on the left side of the crease, used the spin dodge tip-toed the crease and somehow found a way to maintain his balance and slam dunk it over the shoulder of Kyle Bernlohr before falling into the crease with 4:43 remaining. The ‘Snakes still seems haphazard throughout the remainder of the first but with 8.7 seconds remaining would finally get on the board. Ben Reeves (2g, 1a) would score with a nifty spin dodge to split the defenders and fired it straight up the pipe to get them on the board. Score at the end of one: Chaos 2—Whipsnakes 1.
The second took less time to get going and it would be Fields who would scoop the loosie from the errant pass, and fire it far side on cage increasing the lead 3-1 with 2:28 off the ticker. A couple minutes later Mike Chanenchuk (1g, 2 2ptG) would take advantage and make the cut outside to find the opening on Blaze Riorden far side low at the 4:07 mark. Whipsnakes Bryce Young would head to the sin bin for a 30 second hold at the 5:36 mark and Chaos would capitalize. Josh Byrne (1g, 2a) would pull a flip fake flip to occupy two defenders giving him the opening he needed to fire it past Bernlohr giving them their final lead of the game 4-2 with 5:22 left in the frame. Whipsnakes would score four more in the quarter and go on a 10 goal run started off with Connor Kelly (1g, 2a) finding a spot on the top corner far side with 3:47 left; Drew Snider (3g) was next as he’d carry his stick left handed plant, roll back and with the question mark shot tie the game at four apiece 3:05; Joe Nardella on the ensuing face-off with the give-and-go would fire it past Riorden straight up the pipe at 2:49; and Reeves would notch the final using his speed to get past the defenders firing it inside the post high to low with 51.4 seconds in the half. Right before the buzzer sounded, Jaron Neumann would get hit with a one minute slashing call giving Whipsnakes a man-up to start the third. Score at the end of two: Whipsnakes 6—Chaos 4.
It was literally total Chaos in the third as the team would be hit with multiple penalties. Frustrations were abound on the field. Whipsnakes would continue their run and it didn’t take long. Chaos hadn’t defended Chanenchuk, the best two-point shooter in the game and he took full advantage scoring on the man-up. With only 49 seconds gone, Chanenchuk would set up outside the two-point arc, he’d get the skip pass and fire a laser past Riorden for two extending their lead 8-4. Matt Rambo (1g) would add another at 1:20 going toe-to-toe with Neumann he’d use the roll dodge and launched in front of the cage and bury it far side. The pace slowed for a couple of minutes as Chaos tried to find some momentum, but Whipsnakes would put another up on the board. This time Joe Locascio (1g) would come across the field and fired it right to left far side high to low giving them a six point lead with 7:07 left in the frame. Snider would continue the run slipping around his defender ripping it past Riorden with 5:47 left 11-4. Chaos was hit with another penalty with 3:59 remaining, this time a one-minute slash sending Jack Rowlett to the box and again the ‘Snakes would capitalize big time. Chanenchuk would pick the outside corner from the same spot and the defense late on their rotation, would hit another two-pointer 11 seconds into the man-up. About 30 seconds later Chaos would be hit with dual interference calls putting the ‘Snakes on the 6 on 4 but couldn’t capitalize which wasn’t much consolation for Chaos as they would go right back on man down at the 2:14 mark with another penalty on Rowlett, this time for a shot to the head. Things were not looking good for Chaos with 14 minutes remaining and a nine goal deficit to overcome. Whipsnakes had one thing in mind, given the “Bomb Squad” of Chaos, and that was to add to their goal count. Snider put one more on the board with 4.4 seconds left giving him the hat-trick. He’d take it around the crease, shoot and score far side high to low giving them a 10 goal lead. Score at the end of three: Whipsnakes 14—Chaos 4.
Chaos hadn’t scored a goal since the 5:22 mark of the second and that was on a man-up situation. They had been unable to score on any full-strength opportunities against the Whipsnakes and this next goal would be no different. Jake Bernhardt, Whipsnakes midfielder would be hit with interference call with 29 seconds off the ticker. Chaos would go on their second man-up of the game and on a broken play, Jake Froccaro (2g) would get the bang bang pass from Byrne and find an open spot in the zone to score 43 seconds in stopping the scoring barrage by Whipsnakes. It had been 18 minutes and 15 seconds since Chaos had scored. They would go on to score two more in the frame, the first from Smith with 6:12 remaining as he’d slip pick between the defenders and fired it far side low; and with 3:00 left in the game Froccaro would slip around Bernhardt in the wide open space to get underneath and hit stick side high and the last goal they would put on the board. Whipsnakes would put the icing on the cake with 1:16 left with Bernhardt drawing Riorden out of the cage; he’d fire the shot on the open net giving them a decisive victory. Final Score: Whipsnakes 15—Chaos 7.
Whipsnakes—49 Shots; 29 SOG; .265% Shot%; 37 GB; .565% FO; 12 TO
Chaos—29 Shots; 19 SOG; .241% Shot%; 28 GB; .424% FO; 15 TO
GOAL KEEPER STATS:
Whipsnakes Kyle Bernlohr—11 Saves; 7 GA; .611% Sv%
Chaos Blaze Riorden—16 Saves; 13 GA; 2 2ptGA; .551% Sv%
Whipsnakes Joe Nardella—13 of 22; .590% FO; 7 GB
Chaos Tommy Kelly—10 of 22; .454% FO; 3 GB
Chaos LC (7-4) will face Redwoods LC (6-5) in Game Four Round Two of the Championship Bracket on Saturday September 14, game time 5:00 p.m. EST and the game can be seen on NBCSN.
Whipsnakes LC (7-4) will face the winner of Game Four for the Championship on Saturday September 21 in Philadelphia and the victor will be crowned the first ever PLL Champions. Game time 2:30 p.m. EST and the game can be seen on NBCSN.
Di Miller, PLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©