With week one of the Premier Lacrosse League officially in the books, new storylines and questions have arisen. Some teams met their expectations, while others must go back to the drawing board to solve the repeated issues on display in Albany. With record-breaking viewership, highlighted real goals and saves, and some rookies putting on a show, there is much to break down in our opening weekend. So, without further ado, let’s begin.
And we will start with the opening game of the season in Redwoods-Atlas. The Redwoods were coming off a disappointing 2022 campaign, finishing with a record of 4-6. Goaltender Tim Troutner had an egregious season, finishing with a 36 save percentage and 10.5 scores against average. This season, the ‘Woods made a change in net, rolling with netminder Jack Kelly. Against the Atlas in week one, Kelly stopped 11 shots, with a 48 save percentage and 11 saves. Attackman Ryder Garnsey put on a masterclass, scoring 6 goals to help lead the Redwoods to a 13-12 win over the Atlas. Atlas netminder Jack Concannon struggled mightily in the crease, with a 38.1 save percentage. With new defensemen such as Brett Makar and Gavin Adler, Atlas’ defense has a lot of simple things to work on in order to get in the win column.
The Cannons came into this season with one thought: it can’t get worse. After their abysmal last season, star attackman and quarterback of the offense in Lyle Thompson put his mental health first, taking a leave of absence for the entirety of the 2023 season. This left a weakened Cannons team to muster up everything they had and go fight for pride, and to an extent, they did. Sophomore Asher Nolting shined in Albany, scoring one goal and tallying four assists in a 16-13 loss to the Archers. The netminder for the Archers, Brett Dobson, played his game, finishing with a 59.3 save percentage, saving 16 shots. Another highlight for the Archers was at the face-off dot, with rookie Mark Sisselberger winning 75% of the faceoffs, along with 14 groundballs. The Archers continue to impress despite the draining of talent that was done in free agency, and their high-flying offense continues to scare defensemen every weekend.
When the 2022 Premier Lacrosse League championship game ended, the Chaos officially learned the difference between champagne and pain. They watched as the Waterdogs hurried onto the field, celebrating a trophy that was so close to being theirs. Coming into 2023, revenge was on their mind, but that revenge will have to wait as the Waterdogs battled their way to an 8-7 victory over the casual Chaos. With that said, it’s not all celebration with the ‘Dogs, who struggled heavily in the offensive category. Chaos goaltender Blaze Riordan proved once again why he was the best goaltender in the PLL, racking up 18 saves for an incredible save percentage of 72 percent. This was a defensive battle and could even be demoralizing for the ‘Dogs despite the win. The lack of scoring or offensive pressure is worrisome, along with the fact that they only won 27.8 percent of the faceoffs. If the Waterdogs look to repeat as champions, they need to find better ways to get into the offensive zone and maintain pressure, along with winning the fogo battle.
The PLL saved the best game for last. The most talented team on paper in the Whipsnakes versus the most well-rounded team in the Chrome? Talk about a rivalry in the making. This game came down to the wire, with both teams barely able to sustain any offensive pressure without the other teaming taking a bite. The Chrome shot for 31.6 percent, but the Whipsnakes won 35 out of the 68 groundball battles that occurred during the game. These two teams were even in almost every category, proving why they are at the top of everyone’s power rankings each and every week. Despite being 0-1, don’t count the Whipsnakes out, as they prove they are the best team in the PLL every year, win or loss. Both of these teams will be battling for the crown come September, and when they play each other, it’s a must-watch on television each and every time.
With next week having some highlighted matchups, be sure to follow us and come back for the second week of the PLL recap season.
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