Waterdogs, Redwoods Earn Dramatic Wins in Connecticut

PHOTO COURTESY OF PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE


With a packed crowd on hand in Fairfield, Connecticut, it was only fitting one of the state’s own was a hero this weekend in the Premier Lacrosse League.

The Waterdogs’ Connor Kelly, from nearby Easton, forced a tie with the Chrome with 35 seconds remaining in regulation, then scored the overtime winner just over two minutes into the extra frame to secure an 11-10 triumph Sunday. Kelly created space with a dodge from X, allowing him to turn around and fire off a shot past Sean Sconone.

Kelly’s tying goal was an impressive show of stick-to-itiveness, as he collected his own rebound after a two-point attempt and crashed the net for a diving goal.

“I think I got a lucky bounce, this being my home turf on the one to tie it,” Kelly said. “Two guys went down, and we dug deep. Those are the big wins we’ve got to move on with.”

Kieran McArdle had four points for the Waterdogs, while Kelly and Michael Sowers each had three. Dillon Ward made 11 saves while fighting through a thumb injury, as the 3-3 Waterdogs survived a seven-point performance from the Chrome’s Brendan Nichtern.

The Chrome have dropped two straight since opening the season with four consecutive wins.

REDWOODS WIN IN DRAMATIC FASHION

It was a risk for Jack Concannon, one that proved to be ill-advised for his Atlas squad.

With the score tied at 14 with just under four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Atlas goalie got caught up in a race to an errant shot with the Redwoods’ Rob Pannell. As the pair lunged to be closest to the ball when it went out of bounds, Concannon had to hop over Pannell, causing him to lose balance and eventually leap over the barrier on the sideline.

Play was restarted with Concannon still collecting himself, allowing the Redwoods to get the ball to Myles Jones up top for a two-pointer on an empty net.

The Atlas cut that deficit in half 18 seconds later thanks to Dox Aitken, but the Bulls were never able to get the equalizer in a demoralizing 16-15 defeat.

“It's good to be on the winning side,” Redwoods coach Nat. St. Laurent said. “Our guys needed it.”







ARCHERS BACK AT FULL STRENGTH

For the first time all season, the Archers had their full quiver of offensive weapons. As expected, the group looked mighty dangerous.

Grant Ament, who missed the entire first half of the season with an injury, finally returned to action for the first time in over 300 days, notching a pair of assists in his group’s 17-12 victory against the Cannons Sunday. Will Manny led the way with a goal and five helpers, while Tom Schreiber scored a hat trick and added two assists and Connor Fields had four points.

The Cannons, which sit at the bottom of the PLL standings, got out to a quick 3-0 advantage and went ahead 7-4 when Ryan Drenner opened the second-half scoring. But the Archers responded with a 6-0 run, then closed the game out with a 5-1 spurt after the Cannons got within a goal at 12-11.

“We made some halftime adjustments,” Ament said. “They were pressing out on us. They weren’t really sliding. We turned to those guys, Connor Fields winning his matchup every time, Matt Moore winning his matchup. That started to open up some other things for the rest of us.”

CHAOS GET RINGS BUT LOSE TO WHIPS

Chaos received their championship rings on Saturday in Fairfield prior to playing the team they defeated to earn them, Whipsnakes. Unfortunately for the reigning champs, that seemed to serve as serious motivation for the Whips.

Matt Rambo had four points in a game the Whipsnakes never trailed, helping his team defeat the Chaos for the second time this season, 14-12. The Chaos got within a goal twice in the second half at 10-9 and 12-11, but late goals from Joe Nardella and Keegan Khan gave the Whipsnakes the cushion to survive a game-closing tally from Chris Cloutier.

The Chaos had its full roster back after starting the season depleted, but that hasn’t changed their fortunes. They sit at 1-5, hoping to avoid being the one team that misses the playoffs. The Whipsnakes, meanwhile, sit alone in first at 5-1 despite not playing to their ceiling at the start of the year.

“The first half of the season, I think we all know that we should have played a little bit better,” Rambo said. “This last two weeks, a lot of people rested their body and a lot of us put the extra work in. We’re just trying to play a complete 48 minutes. We’re chasing it. Still haven’t done it, so that’s the goal.”

NOTEWORTHY

The Atlas were without Trevor Baptiste, who suffered a hamstring injury prior to the All-Star break. Jakob Phaup won 11 of his 29 draws in his stead. Also out this week were Chrome’s Logan Wisnauskas and Whipsnakes’ Michael Ehrhardt. … Whipsnakes’ Joe Nardella moved into fourth all-time in both ground balls and faceoffs wins this weekend. Archers’ Will Manny surpassed Brendan Mundorf for 13th all-time in career assists and Atlas’ Eric Law moved up in multiple categories. He’s now 11th all-time in points and goals and 15th all-time in assists. … Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky was in attendance this weekend. … The PLL announced last week’s All-Star Game was the best attended in the league’s history, up 38 percent from the previous high. Year-to-Year attendance is up 84 percent.

UP NEXT
ALL TIMES EASTERN

(In Dallas)

Saturday

Archers vs. Atlas, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
Chrome vs. Whipsnakes, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

Sunday

Waterdogs vs. Cannons, 1 p.m. (ESPN+)
Redwoods vs. Chaos, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

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