Come on guys.
Realistically speaking, Chaos LC isn’t in first place because they’re motivated by proving the media wrong – though they definitely aren’t shy to take a victory lap when they are – they’re in first place because as Chaos head coach Andy Towers always says, it really is an egoless group.
The Archers have been the talk of the town for the last two weeks, but that didn’t matter to Chaos. When you’ve got the best goaltender in the world in net in Blaze Riorden, even Tom Schreiber, Connor Fields, Mac O’Keefe, and Matt Moore are going to falter. The four of them combined for 31 shots with 6 goals total. That’s a combined shooting percentage of 19% between the four of them.
Blaze made 19 saves (65% SV%) as he continued another red-hot start to the season. Of course, none of that would be possible without the number one defense in the league in front of him.
Opponents average 10.3 SAA (scores against average) versus Chaos LC, the lowest in the league. The success of Jack Rowlett and Jarrod Neumann is well-documented, Rowlett consistently successfully shutting down the best of the best offensive talents in the league, but now with Will Bowen in the mix on close defense as well, it’s almost unfair.
“He [Will] has taken ownership of being the QB of our defense,” Coach Towers told Joe Keegan. “That voice helps accelerate our connection as a group and makes us very hard to penetrate.”
Offensively, Chaos dominated on the other side of the ball too. They saw goals from seven different goal scorers, including both their SSDMs in Ian MacKay and Patrick Resch. They now lead the league in shooting percentage with an average of 30.9%.
This group is firing from all cylinders finding success everywhere. I said last week it’s hard to find a more cohesive group than this one, and a statement 15-10 victory over the Archers solidified that.
Chrome: Chrome still looking for a “complete” game
With the amount of talent in this league it’s hard to think of any team as a “last place team” and Chrome LC’s no exception.
As Chrome beat writer Nick Zoroya explained, there were bright spots in Chrome’s loss to the Cannons. But the bad outweighed the good yet again in their second straight loss. In Charlotte, offense was the issue. In Columbus, it came down to defense. Nick delves into it in much greater detail, but it’s nothing that the Chrome roster lacks that’s resulted in their losses. It’s more so a matter of not putting together a “complete” game. It’s become a cliche, but it really is hard to come by wins in this league and if you’re not putting your best foot forward in every aspect, it’s going to cost you.
We know what Chrome’s offense and defense are capable of. Offensively after the break, I’m looking to see Logan Wisnauskas pick up where he left off Friday night after his first multi-goal game of the season. Wisnauskas is the centerpiece to this Chrome attack and it’s a good sign to a game like that from him.
Defensively, well, Chrome’s defense has plenty of film to review from this past weekend. Captain Jesse Bernehardt was definitely missed on the backend, but I really can’t see their defense having another game like that. Silly, uncharacteristic mistakes cost them, along with a down night for Sean Sconone in goal.
This two week break before Minnesota will be a good time for Chrome to really dive into what is and isn’t working for them. Head coach Tim Soudan has built a strong and selfless culture in his locker room with buy-in from every guy on the team. Resilience is the standard for any team in this league, but this group in particular most definitely isn’t going to let back-to-back losses define them.
Redwoods: Too little, too late
Redwoods beat writer Jerome Taylor said it best; sometimes it’s just not your night.
We’ve seen a lot of teams fall behind early on and climb their way back up to victory, including the Redwoods two weekends ago in Charlotte. Unfortunately, an 11-goal deficit proved to be too much even for this resilient group.
Down 13-3 entering the second half, the Woods defense cleaned it up in the third quarter allowing the Whips only one goal. The offense came alive in the final frame led by yet another 6-goal game from Ryder Garnsey, and even at one point came within four goals of the Whipsnakes. Ultimately, it was too little, too late.
“Plain and simple, it shouldn’t take us being down ten goals to get us to all of a sudden start playing hard on both sides,” Eddy Glazener exclaimed. “We came out of halftime, and we gave up one goal up until the very end. When it’s 0-0, we should be playing the game that we played in the second half.”
By no means did it feel like the Woods came into this game hoping to coast into a 3-0 record against their league rivals. But we all knew how hungry the Whips were for that first win; it wasn’t a surprise to see them coming hot out the gate like that. It all came down to not responding and adjusting quickly enough from the Redwoods’ side.
“We’re going to learn lessons from this game. We’ve got to move forward,” Redwoods head coach Nat St. Laurent said. “We’re 2-1 going into the break. It’d be nice to be 3-0, but we’re 2-1. And we’ll get ready to go when we come out of this break. ”
Waterdogs: It’s the Summer of Connor Kelly
Make that two game-winners for Connor Kelly in three weeks.