It was a slow start for Atlas in the first quarter against a Redwoods team that came out swinging but the Bulls battled back. Dickson’s third goal brought them within one goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation as he put the whole league on notice of his arrival.
Despite the disappointing result, it’s safe to say the Whipsnakes defense is likely game planning for Dickson ahead of this weekend as we speak.
3. Cannons: Even with some returning faces, this is an entirely new Cannons team
I don’t think I’m alone when I say there wasn’t a team I was more excited to see on Opening Weekend than the Cannons. New coach, new faces on both sides of the ball, and an overall new team mentality. Even with some returning faces, this is not the same team as last year – anything you remember about the 2022 Cannons is in the past.
Marcus Holman, Matt Kavanagh, Kyle Hartzell, and Adam Ghitelman all touched the field for the first time in red, white, and blue along with rookie Matt Campbell’s pro debut. All five made an instant impact in their respective roles, but as head coach Brian Holman said, there’s still a lot to figure out after one game.
“As a group, we’re still trying to establish an identity,” explained Coach Holman. “We were tough and we were resilient – both words our guys want to be described as. It’s all about wins and learns, and today we learned a lot.”
If there’s one clear takeaway after Opening Weekend, it’s the importance of the development of “Cannon culture” on and off the field.
Marcus used the phrase in his postgame press conference as Kavanagh nodded in agreement.
“It’s about our energy. It’s a lot of guys hungry to win. We want to make the right plays, and we want to play together,” said Marcus. “I’m not a Philly guy, but we’ve got to trust the process.”
Coach Holman mentioned returning players wanted a change in the locker room mentality; the idea of “buy-in” was never an issue with this group. Saturday afternoon was just step one in the process.
4. Chaos: What’s worse than facing one Rowlett…?
After Nick Rowlett’s pro debut Sunday afternoon in the championship rematch versus the Waterdogs, the answer to this one is easy.
“I hope the Rowletts don’t have a third boy coming up,” joked Waterdogs head coach Andy Copelan.
Nick went 13-for-18 (72%) at the X with 7 ground balls in his first pro game. After a dominant season at Michigan this spring to help lead the Wolverines to their first tournament appearance, the faceoff specialist picked up right where he left off.
“With success at the faceoff X I probably get all the credit because of the percentage, but every time it’s a 3-on-3. My attackmen are getting open for me, guys are boxing out, guys are getting up field, clearing out space on the field, they made it easy for me,” Nick said.
In a gritty low-scoring defensive battle on both sides, Coach Towers lauded Nick’s efforts at the stripe to fight for those offensive possessions for Chaos. Of course, when you’re talking about a defensive battle with Chaos, you have to assume brother Jack was in the mix.
Considered by many the top defenseman in the league, it’s nothing new for Jack to find himself matched up 1-on-1 with the best of the best on offense each weekend. Though Waterdogs attackman Michael Sowers might’ve gotten the best of him in 2022, round one this season goes to Jack. He held Sowers to only three shots on net in the first half, and four in the second half with just one goal all game coming in the fourth quarter with the Dogs on the man-up advantage.
“Michael Sowers is an unbelievable player. He’s one of the very best players in the world,” exclaimed Towers. “But he had a tough matchup today in Jack Rowlett. I’ll take Jack Rowlett covering anybody, any day, any time.”
5. Chrome: Chrome’s selfless culture was on full display to account for their 12 goals
Something I’ve always taken away in conversations with Chrome head coach Tim Soudan is how much he and his team value the selfless culture that they’ve built in their locker room over the years. No egos, no flashiness, just a group of guys playing for each other and looking to win.
With eight different goal scorers in their 12-11 victory over the Whipsnakes, that selfless culture was on full display with Chrome’s offense. Soudan’s built a roster that as Chrome beat writer Nick Zoroya said “have legitimate threats all over the field.” We saw the usual culprits in Justin Anderson, Logan Wisnauskas, Jackson Morrill, and Colin Heacock get involved, but we also saw goals in transition from SSDM Ryan Terefenko and LSM Nick Grill.
I can’t discuss Chrome’s win without talking about their rookies though. Sam Handley shot 2-for-4 in his debut and assisted on one of Anderson’s four goals. Cross Ferrara, well – you know what Cross Ferrara did.