PLL Playoff Race Comes Down to the Last Week of the Season

PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE

Logan Wisnauskas (12) scored three goals in the Chrome's 11-9 win over the Cannons in Salt Lake City, Utah.


The fate of the final playoff spot will come down to the final week of the Premier Lacrosse League regular season.

Six teams are locked into the playoffs entering next week’s action in Tacoma, Washington: the Whipsnakes, Atlas, Chrome, Waterdogs, Archers and Redwoods. That leaves the Chaos and Cannons to duke it out for the final position, and neither helped their case this weekend in Salt Lake City.

The Chaos could have locked up a chance at repeating as champions with a win and a Cannons loss but couldn’t fulfill their half of the bargain against the Archers. The Chaos entered the final frame down 8-7 after a Josh Byrne goal, but the Archers responded with three straight to help secure an 11-8 win.

Tom Schreiber had six points for the Archers, helped by a 2-point goal, as the Archers moved into a three-way tie at 5-4 with Atlas and Waterdogs. Thanks to goal differential, that slid them up to third in the standings.

“For us, we just have to get better,” Schreiber said. “We lost two in a row and we wanted to have a strong performance. We did that. To get the win, that’s the cherry on top.”

Immediately following the Chaos’ defeat, the Cannons squandered its chance to earn a tie in the win column by falling 11-9 to Chrome. After Chris Aslanian opened the game’s scoring, Chrome responded with five straight and never trailed again to push the Cannons’ losing streak to eight.

The Chrome’s Logan Wisnauskas recorded a hat trick, Brendan Nichtern dished out four assists and JT Giles-Harris continued his Defensive Player of the Year campaign by holding Lyle Thompson to three points.

The Chaos sits at 2-7 and the Cannons at 1-8, with the teams close to one another in score differential (Chaos at negative-24, Cannons at negative-27). But for the Cannons even to worry about the score differential tiebreaker, they’ll need to best the top-seeded Whipsnakes on Sunday.

WHIPS LOCK UP TOP SEED

The Whipsnakes were not messing around in a heavyweight battle with Atlas on Friday night. The squad locked up the top seed in the upcoming playoffs in dominant fashion.

Backed by an enormous first half which saw the Whips go into the break up 12-1, the team maintained its perfect record against the Bulls with a 16-8 triumph. Matt Rambo put up seven points on four goals and three assists for Whipsnakes, which earned a bye into the second round of the playoffs.







The Whipsnakes scored the first six goals of the game, shutting out the Atlas in the first quarter, and put up six straight again once Trevor Baptiste finally answered with a tally to open the second. From there, the Atlas never cut the deficit under eight.

“I thought the offense looked incredible in that first half,” Whipsnakes goalie Kyle Bernlohr said. “And our defense was giving up – to be honest, I sound like a broken record – easy shots for me to save. I got hit by a lot of shots. I didn’t have to make too many stick saves early on, so got my confidence going. All around, that first half was the best 24 minutes the Whipsnakes have ever put together.”

Bernlohr made 18 saves, stopping 72 percent of the shots that went his way. Zed Williams was close behind Rambo with five points, while Jay Carlson, Brad Smith and Mike Chanenchuk all had two.

Now 8-1, the Whipsnakes will enter postseason play with the top seed for the second time in franchise history. The Atlas dropped to fourth place at 5-4, at risk of falling out of the playoff picture.

REDWOODS HEADING TO POSTSEASON

Despite a near disastrous start to the year, the Redwoods will play in the postseason.

Rob Pannell looked like the future Hall of Famer that he is, notching eight points on two goals and six assists in the Redwoods’ 14-12 win over the Waterdogs. Now 3-1 since the All-Star break, the Redwoods are far removed from their three-goal performance against the Chrome in Week 2.

“I thought we played pretty well,” attackman Ryder Garnsey said. “Felt like the bounces were going their way a little bit. But I think that we did a good job staying even-keeled. That's been our identity for the last few years. We don't break, and I think that you saw that over the course of the second half. We got up a goal or two. They punch back and then we punch right back.”

The Redwoods scored the final two goals of the game in the final six minutes of play, getting the go-ahead tally from Charlie Bertrand before an insurance goal from Garnsey. That helped the group rebound from losing a previous two-goal lead in the fourth quarter.

Garnsey finished with five points, while Bertrand and Jules Heningburg each had three to snap Waterdogs’ five-game win streak.

NOTEWORTHY

The Redwoods lost defensive quarterback Eddy Glazener, who went down after a noncontact injury and had to be helped off of the field. … Cannons attackman Lyle Thompson leads the league in goals and points heading into the final week. He has scored 24 times and accumulated 39 points. … Utah native and Cannons SSDM Bubba Fairman scored in his return to his home state. … This week’s games were played at Zions Bank Stadium, home of the 2020 Championship Series. … The debut dates for “Fate of a Sport” were announced this week. The PLL documentary will release on ESPN+ on Aug. 29, ESPN on Sept. 15 and ABC on Sept. 18.

POWER RANKINGS

(Last week’s rankings in parentheses)

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

UP NEXT
in Tacoma, Wash.

All times Eastern

SATURDAY

Chrome vs. Redwoods, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
Archers vs. Waterdogs, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

SUNDAY

Whipsnakes vs. Cannons, 3 p.m. (ESPN+)
Atlas vs. Chaos, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

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