Atlas has signed veteran attacker Mark Cockerton from the player pool to a one-year deal, the team announced Tuesday. The move reunites Cockerton with his former team, who he played for during the 2021 Premier Lacrosse League season.
In his first year in the PLL and ninth as a pro, Cockerton had nine goals and four assists in nine games played for the Bulls. He went on to play three games for the Cannons in 2022, recording six goals.
Cockerton, 32, brings experience to a rather young Atlas team, something offensive coordinator Steven Brooks said before the start of the season the Bulls needed more of. It was a sentiment loudly echoed by first-year head coach Mike Pressler, who said before training camp the Bulls needed more leadership and “veteran approach” on offense in addition to captain Eric Law.
Atlas is 1-4 and tied with the Whipsnakes and Chrome for the worst record through Week 5. Up until this point, the defense has been the main cause for concern, allowing a league-worst 77 scores against and ranking last in defensive efficiency.
That’s not to say the offense couldn’t use a boost, or poised veteran, especially coming off the faceoff with the new 32-second shot clock. Atlas, who has superstar faceoff athlete Trevor Baptiste, wins most faceoffs, but is having trouble meeting net on such possessions.
Whether it’s in 32 seconds or 52, there’s one place you can expect Cockerton to make a big impact on Atlas: the two-man game.
As a natural lefty and typically not a dodge-first attacker, Cockerton is the two-man teammate of Jeff Teat’s dreams, and vice versa. Teat is the league assist leader (13) and one of the craftiest passers in the game. He’ll pair nicely with Cockerton in the two-man game on the left wing.
Atlas has taken 30 shots and scored 12 goals off of two-man play (i.e. goals scored off a pick), which, at 40 percent, is a league second-best. Assuming Cockerton joins Atlas in shape – both physically and skillfully – it could be a major area of contribution by Cockerton to help turn Atlas’ season around.