Waterdogs Looking Like Team to Beat Down the Stretch
Mon Aug 1 2022 | Jack Goods | Pro
PLL Chaos Whipsnakes
PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE
The Waterdogs are hot, getting healthier and looking like a team to watch down the stretch as the Premier Lacrosse League regular season inches to close.
After starting the season with three straight defeats, the Waterdogs survived a late rally from the Cannons Sunday to pull off a 15-14 triumph to move their winning streak to four in Frisco, Texas. The result completed a revenge tour of sorts for the Waterdogs, which have now defeated all three teams that beat them to start the year in the Cannons, Whipsnakes and Chrome.
The Cannons made the Dogs sweat in the closing minutes, finishing the contest on a five-goal run to shrink a 15-9 deficit. Ryan Drenner got the Cannons within a goal with under 30 seconds remaining, but Zach Currier came away with the final faceoff to run out the clock.
“We knew they weren’t going to go away,” Kieran McArdle said. “Every game for them is a playoff game, so we just stuck to it and came out with the W.”
McArdle led the charge with seven points, while Michael Sowers netted a hat trick. Charlie Kitchen, playing his first PLL game, scored his first PLL goal in impressive fashion on a behind-the-back move on the doorstep.
Charlie Kitchen scores his first PLL goal in style! pic.twitter.com/PHRM6ltzK5
— Premier Lacrosse League (@PremierLacrosse) July 31, 2022
“We’re just connected as a team,” McArdle said. “On the field, off the field, and I think that shows when we’re out there.”
The Cannons, meanwhile, exit the weekend at the bottom of the standings, alone at 1-6.
ATLAS WIN BIG CLASH IN STANDINGS
For the second time this season, the Atlas knocked off the Archers. And in doing so, the Bulls moved into sole possession of second place.
Jeff Teat totaled six points, and Dox Aitken scored four times to help the Atlas to a 14-9 win. Jack Concannon was also stellar in net, making 13 saves.
Jack Concannon is standing on his head today. pic.twitter.com/KBXwTNHIll
— Premier Lacrosse League (@PremierLacrosse) July 30, 2022
The Atlas never trailed, but the Archers hung around throughout, with Tom Schreiber opening the fourth’s scoring to make it 10-9 Atlas. A late four-goal run, featuring two tallies from Aitken, sealed it.
“I thought it was back and forth and back and forth, and I’m proud of our guys for figuring out a way at the end to make some plays,” Atlas coach Ben Rubeor said.
CHROME CONTINUE SLIDE AGAINST WHIPS
The Whipsnakes’ domination in one-goal games continued this week, while the Chrome’s losing streak did as well.
Bryan Cole scored the winner for the Whips with three and a half minutes remaining to break a tie, lifting his squad to a 9-8 victory against the Chrome Saturday. The Chrome needed a five-goal run in the second half to tie it, one featuring a two-pointer from Justin Anderson, but Cole shut down the comeback thoughts. That meant a third straight loss for the Chrome.
The Whipsnakes, already locked into the playoffs, improved to 6-1. The team is now 13-3 in games decided by one point.
Keegan Khan had three points, while Kyle Bernlohr made 16 saves for the Whips. That included one final stop of a Jordan MacIntosh shovel shot in the closing seconds.
“I think we’re getting back to that trust we had in 2019 and 2020,” Bernlohr said. “I think, defensively, we’re back on our good communication and we trust each other. I can tell my defensemen the shots that I want to see and they’re not sliding to the low angles or down the alleys. They’re doing a good job of letting me see the easy shots and quite frankly, they’re making me play really well.”
CHAOS GET MUCH-NEEDED WIN
Slow starts to the season have become the Chaos’ MO, but there has certainly still been reason to worry about the defending champions this season. The team’s fortunes did not swing as expected when its missing National Lacrosse League players returned, with the group sitting at 1-5 entering the weekend.
No game is must-win at this point of the season given the PLL’s playoff format, but the Chaos were getting close to that point. Thankfully for Andy Towers and his crew, they got the job done.
It was a Smith showcase Saturday against the Redwoods, with Dhane Smith notching seven points on a goal and six assists and Ryan Smith scoring five times in a 14-12 win. That allowed the Chaos to pull even with the Redwoods in the win column with three weeks remaining.
“We just played Chaos ball,” Ryan Smith said. “We got back to the basics, which we weren’t doing at the beginning of the year.”
Despite the defeat, the Redwoods got arguably the goal of the weekend from Charlie Bertrand. He went one-handed between the legs to beat Blaze Riorden.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 31, 2022
Trevor Baptiste returned to the Atlas lineup after missing time with a hamstring injury. He won 16 of his 25 draws. Max Adler also returned to the Chaos after missing the start of the season due to his NLL commitments and then getting injured. He went 14-for-28 at the stripe. … Cannons coach Sean Quirk made multiple moves during the week, dropping Shayne Jackson, Tyson Bell and Christian Cuccinello and placing Brodie Merrill on the injured list to pick up Andrew Newbold, Chris Aslanian, Mark Cockerton and Alex Smith. Cockerton recorded a hat trick against the Waterdogs, while Newbold had a goal. … Lyle Thompson of the Cannons recorded five points this week, moving into first place in points and one-point goals.
ALL TIMES EASTERN
(In Denver, Colorado)
Cannons vs. Redwoods, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Chaos vs. Chrome, 2 p.m. (ESPN+)
Waterdogs vs. Atlas, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
Archers vs. Whipsnakes, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)