By: Steven MacDonald
The Saturday slate in week five of Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) action concludes with the Atlas meeting the Chaos under the lights at 8:45 p.m. eastern time.
This will be the first meeting between the two clubs since 2019.
The week five tilt will also feature two clubs coming off back to back wins. The Atlas outshot the Cannons in week three before taking down Chrome in week four. The Chaos topped Redwoods in week three and defeated Cannons a week ago.
The Atlas enter week five with the No. 4 offense in the PLL. In their last three games, the Atlas offense has averaged 15 goals per game. During that three game stretch, the Atlas offense introduced rookie attackman Jeff Teat, who now holds a tie with midfielder Bryan Costabile for the team lead in points.
At the stripe, faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste has gone 50-83 on faceoffs, good for 60 percent, and averaging 8 ground balls over the last three games.
The Atlas defense comes into play in the bottom half of the league statistically, and with goaltender Jack Concannon out with a groin injury, the defense will have their work cut out for them against the Chaos.
Speaking of Concannon’s injury, that leaves JD Colarusso as the likely replacement for Concannon. However, the team did sign Tate Boyce to the active roster earlier in the week.
The Chaos come in with the PLL’s last ranked offense. When the Chaos have found offense, it has been a balanced one. Josh Byrne and Chris Cloutier each have over 10 points at attack while midfielders Jake Froccaro and Dhane Smith each have north of 10 points. It’s worth noting here that rookie Mac O’Keefe’s next point will put him at 10 for the season.
Defensively the Chaos rank third while two-time PLL Goalie of the Year Blaze Riorden has the Chaos in the top spot of goalie statistics.
At the stripe, the Chaos are seventh in faceoff percentage. Faceoff specialist Max Adler went 65 percent from the stripe a week ago, raising his season percentage 10 points. Adler also tallied a season-high nine ground balls in that same game.
What To Watch For:
The matchup between Baptiste and Adler will be one to watch closely for differing reasons depending on the team. For the Atlas, Baptiste will look to win possession to take pressure off of their defense and whoever slides into Concannon’s spot in cage. For the Chaos, Adler will be looking to build off of his season best performance in week four.
The goalie play by the Atlas will also be worth paying attention to. Whether Colarusso or Boyce get the nod, or if they platoon time, the Atlas goalie(s) will have to make a couple saves in this game to give their team a chance.
Finally, the two-bombs will be flying on both ends of the field tonight. The Atlas and Chaos come into week five tied for the league lead in two-point goals with six.