Atlas, Chrome, Whipsnakes Thriving After PLL Week 2

PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE


The Atlas, Chrome and Whipsnakes are feeling great with two weeks complete of the Premier Lacrosse League’s summer season. Meanwhile, no team faces more questions out of the gate than the Redwoods, who are struggling mightily.

The most exhilarating moment of the PLL’s stop in Charlotte, North Carolina, came from the Whips, who have become notorious for success in close games. Despite entering the fourth quarter down 9-5 to the Waterdogs, the Whipsnakes mounted a 6-2 run in the final frame to force overtime.

That set up the dagger from Brad Smith, who secured a 12-11 triumph with a leaping, turnaround shot after his defender, rookie Jake Higgins, lost his footing.

“I saw a short stick there,” Smith said. “I thought it was a good matchup. Take him down low. They were sliding pretty quick all day, and I saw guys slipping on the turf all night long, so I got lucky there.”

The Whipsnakes, who are joined by the Chrome and the Atlas at 2-0, were led by five goals and an assist from Jay Carlson. Matt Rambo had a goal and three assists, while Bryan Cole and Smith each accounted for three points.

The Waterdogs led by as much as five in the second quarter when Jack Hannah made it 8-3, but the Whips were able to grind one out despite not playing their best game. Three of Carlson’s goals came in the fourth quarter in addition to all three of Cole’s points. Joe Nardella’s work at the faceoff stripe helped power the comeback as well. He won 22 of his 26 draws.

“These games at the end really help us in the long run,” Rambo said. “You never know what you’re going to get at the end of the season, so I think these help us a lot more than people think.”

NEW PLL LOW POINT

Week 2 brought a bit of PLL history, much to the chagrin of the Redwoods.

The Woods now hold the unenviable mark of the lowest scoring total in the history of the league after being struck with a 12-3 beatdown by the Chrome. After a quiet professional debut, first overall pick Logan Wisnauskas scored five goals on eight shots to help his team match its win total from the entirety of 2021.

“I was expecting him to be him today with just a little bit more time with the fellas and him in a couple of different practice scenarios,” Chrome coach Tim Soudan said. “The ball just stays hot when he’s on the field.”

Chrome never trailed, opening on a three-goal run and taking its largest lead of 10 in the late stages of the fourth quarter. Dylan Molloy and Brendan Nichtern each had three points to flank Wisnauskas. Sean Sconone made seven saves in setting the goals allowed record against the 0-2 Woods.

“We got a great group of guys that have been in this position many times before, and we’ve got a group that’s gonna fight,” Redwoods attackman Rob Pannell said. “I know that, but we also have to change a little bit about who we are and what we’re doing, because clearly what we’re doing right now isn’t working. And some adjustments need to be made within ourselves. It starts with me as one of the leaders on this team to correct my mistakes and be better out there on the field and quarterback our offense better and be more of a presence.”







ARCHERS BACK ON TRACK

The Archers survived a late run from the Chaos that shrunk an 11-4 advantage to 13-12 by ending the game on a four-point spurt in a 17-12 victory Friday night. It was a bounceback performance from the squad after opening with a defeat at the hands of the Chrome.

Still without reigning Attackman of the Year Grant Ament, the Archers relied on five goals from Will Manny and a breakout performance from Matt Moore in his second professional game. He notched a hat trick with one assist.

But the highlight of the night belonged to goalie Adam Ghitelman, who laid out Wes Berg with a hit to help seal the win.

“It’s just good to see it come together,” Manny said. “A week of training camp and a tough game in Game 1. Chrome played really well. We had a week here to kind of digest and watch film and learn from it, and we executed tonight.”

ATLAS CAPITALIZES ON ABSENCE

Week 2 was just as enjoyable as Week 1 was for the high-flying Atlas, who notched 11 straight goals and rode a dominant showing from Trevor Baptiste to a 16-8 win against the Cannons on Saturday.

Baptiste won 20 of his 24 draws (83 percent), while Jeff Teat and Chris Gray each notched five points against a Cannons squad playing without Lyle Thompson. He was ruled out the day of the game with an upper body injury suffered against the Waterdogs last week.

The Atlas’ impressive run, which stretched from the final minute of the first quarter into the closing stages of the third, helped erase an early 4-2 deficit. It was kickstarted by three goals in the final 25 seconds of the first frame.

“I think our start’s been great, but I don’t think you can look too much into our season so far,” Baptiste said. “It’s early. Every weekend in this league is extremely difficult and everybody is extremely talented, so that right there is motivation in itself. You never want to be living in the past, and I still think our best lacrosse is ahead of us, so we just have to keep rolling.”

NOTEWORTHY

The PLL reinstated Austin Staats following the completion of a program organized by the league’s Discipline and Conduct Committee. He made his debut with the Chaos, recording a goal and an assist. … PLL co-founder Paul Rabil appeared on Good Morning America this week to discuss “Fate of a Sport,” which debuts at Tribeca this week. … Whipsnakes SSDM Roman Puglise will miss the entire season with an upper body injury. … Waterdogs faceoff athlete Jake Withers left the team’s game against Whipsnakes and did not return. The ESPN+ broadcast said he was icing his thigh area. … Archers’ Will Manny moved into ninth all-time in career points, while teammate Tom Schreiber tied Matt Danowski for No. 10 all-time in career assists. … The Chrome were without Jordan MacIntosh, whose wife Emily gave birth to their daughter this week. … Some big names were in attendance this week, including Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey, former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly and current Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold.

POWER RANKINGS

1. Atlas
2. Chrome
3. Whipsnakes
4. Archers
5. Cannons
6. Waterdogs
7. Chaos
8. Redwoods

UP NEXT
ALL TIMES EASTERN

(In Hempstead, New York)

Friday

Waterdogs vs. Chrome, 6 p.m. (ESPN+)
Atlas vs. Whipsnakes, 8:45 p.m. (ESPN+)

Saturday

Redwoods vs. Chaos, 1 p.m. (ABC)
Cannons vs. Archers, 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

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