PLL Notebook: Vintage Rabil, Pannell Fitting In Just Fine, Rookies Shine

PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE

TD Ierlan won 21 of 27 faceoffs in his first professional game.


A new chapter for Cannons LC fittingly started in Massachusetts this weekend. And the return of the biggest star in the franchise’s long history was a major reason why it kicked off on a positive note.

After a tough 2020 Premier Lacrosse League bubble, Paul Rabil looked like the player who helped the Cannons to their first championship 10 years ago while wearing those familiar shades of red, white and blue in Foxborough. He scored five goals in the Cannons’ first two games as a PLL club, helping the squad to a close 12-11 loss to championship-hopeful Redwoods LC and the team’s first-ever PLL win Sunday against Waterdogs LC in a 13-7 finish.

Before stepping onto the field again with the team he spent the first seven years of his professional career with, Rabil reflected on his emotions when he first debuted for the original Boston Cannons in 2008.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” Rabil said with a smile. “I was just out there gun slinging. Maybe that strategy might work tonight.”

He clearly wasn’t afraid to let it rip this weekend, with some like former Patriot Teddy Bruschi joking he’d found the fountain of youth.

Rabil wasn’t alone in leading the Cannons to a promising first weekend of the PLL’s 2021 season. The first goal in franchise history belongs to another one of the team’s biggest names, Lyle Thompson. The first overall pick in this year’s entry draft showed on his very first possession in the PLL just what the league was missing. With the shot clock winding down, he was able to streak toward the goal from X and get off a backhander that beat Tim Troutner.

Thompson scored six times across the team’s two games, tied with teammate Andrew Kew for the league lead.

Good first impressions

The new-look and mighty talented Archers LC offensive unit passed its first test with flying colors. Meanwhile, there may be some growing pains for Atlas after coach Ben Rubeor remade a large chunk of the roster over the offseason.

The Archers put on a clinic in efficiency, connecting on 15 of their first 17 shots in an 18-6 rout. A 9-1 run in the second quarter pushed the lead to 12 at the break.

Christian Mazzone and Scott Ratliff each had four points, with Ratliff hitting one of the team’s two 2-pointers. Major League Lacrosse import Ryan McNamara notched a hat trick, while Grant Ament and Marcus Holman each scored twice. Connor Fields, another one of the team’s major additions in the offseason, scored his first Archers goal from deep.

Meanwhile, one of the Atlas’ major departures, Rob Pannell, has clicked with his new Redwoods teammates quickly. He scored five times and dished out four assists in a 2-0 weekend for the Woods, who followed up the Cannons victory with a 14-11 win against a shorthanded Chrome squad Sunday.

Pannell scored the game-winner for Redwoods against Cannons, breaking an 11-11 tie in the closing minutes.







Whipsnakes steady as usual

The Whipsnakes players, given their championship rings over the weekend, reminded everyone why they earned them by once again besting Chaos in a rematch of the PLL Championship Series title game.

2020 MVP Zed Williams picked up right where he left off and scored four times, while Joe Nardella was dominant at the faceoff X in a 13-7 triumph. Nardella went 9-for-13 on draws in the first half, helping his team to a 10-1 advantage at the break and finished 16 of 22 in addition to a goal.

Welcome to the show

This year’s college draft class was highly touted, so it was unsurprising that multiple members of the group made an immediate impact.

Michael Sowers, Stephen Rehfuss, Justin Anderson, Jackson Morrill and Ryan Terefenko all scored their first professional goals in their first weekend in the pros. TD Ierlan went 21-for-27 on faceoffs against the Cannons and 15-for-28 against the Chrome. Redwoods coach Nat St. Laurent gifted Ierlan the game ball after his domination against the Cannons.

Noteworthy

The PLL announced Sunday it was made aware of an altercation between Chaos’ Austin Staats and Chrome’s Matt Gaudet. Both players have been suspended indefinitely. … Pannell’s nine points gives him an early lead in the scoring race. Kew, Thompson and Jules Heningburg each sit two points behind. … Archers’ Jackson Place returned to the field after suffering a scary neck injury during the PLL’s first season. … Chris Hogan was not on the Cannons’ gameday roster for either of the team’s games in Week 1, eliminating the opportunity for him to start his pro lacrosse career at the stadium where he used to suit up for the New England Patriots. He still made time for the NBC broadcast team on the sideline. … Jake Bernhardt was able to watch his brother Jared win the Tewaaraton Award during halftime of the Whipsnakes’ game. … The PLL honored Division I women’s champion Boston College Saturday night. … iHeartMedia will be the official audio partner of the PLL going forward, the league announced Friday. Games can be listened to live on the newly formed Premier Lacrosse League Radio station.

Up Next

The PLL heads to Atlanta for Week 2 and five more battles. All times Eastern:

  • Waterdogs vs. Chaos, 7 p.m. Friday (Peacock)

  • Cannons vs. Whipsnakes, noon Saturday (NBC)

  • Atlas vs. Redwoods, 3 p.m. Saturday (NBCSN)

  • Waterdogs vs. Chrome, 1 p.m. Sunday (NBCSN)

  • Archers vs. Chaos, 3:45 p.m. Sunday (Peacock)

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