By: Steven MacDonald
The final day of week five in the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) kicks off with the Waterdogs playing their second game of the weekend, this time taking on the Chrome.
This is the second time these two teams have matched up this season, with Waterdogs taking game one by a 14-9 final in week two.
In their first game of the weekend, Waterdogs dropped Cannons 19-7, handing Cannons their fourth straight loss. The Waterdogs used an 8-2 first quarter to pull out the win on Friday night. Kieran McArdle, Ethan Walker, and Ryan Brown each tallied four points in the win.
Waterdogs goaltender Dillon Ward said in a sideline interview Friday that it was “no secret” that he had been struggling in 2021. On Friday, he finished the win with his second most saves this season with 10, and a season-high 63 percent on saves.
Jake Withers had a season-high day on Friday, going 20-26 at the stripe, good for 77 percent. Withers also added 12 ground balls and two points.
Entering their second game of the weekend the Waterdogs offense ranks second in the PLL, while they have the fourth best power play. Following the game Friday, the Waterdogs have five players with 10 or more points in 2021, led by midfielder Connor Kelly with 19, and fellow midfielder Zach Currier with 17. McArdle and Brown each have 15 points for Waterdogs.
At the other end of the field, the Waterdogs come into play seventh in the league defensively and, despite the play of Ward on Friday, still find themselves last in goalie statistics. However, head coach Andy Copeland’s squad holds the No. 2 penalty kill in the PLL.
The Chrome enter their only game of week five looking to bounce back from a 16-10 loss to Atlas in week four.
The Chrome offense enters Sunday’s contest ranked last in the PLL, but need just nine goals to pass Chaos for seventh. The Chrome power play also ranks last converting on just one of their six attempts.
The defense from Chrome has been one of the league’s best, rating third while giving up 11.4 goals per game, but sit last in penalty kill. The goalie play, largely led by John Galloway, ranks fifth in the league.
At the stripe the Chrome are the fourth best team behind the usual suspects- Redwoods, Whipsnakes, and Atlas.
Rookie attackman Jackson Morrill leads the team in points with 15 while shooting 45 percent. That mark is the highest from any Chrome player that has attempted more than 10 shots. Rookie midfielder Ryan Terefenko is shooting 50 percent but has only taken four shots.
Attackman Colin Heacock has elevated his game as of late, tallying 10 points in his last three games, averaging 3.33 points per contest.
What To Watch For:
The Waterdogs will look to continue the offensive success they found on Friday, in hopes of going 2-0 on the weekend. Doing so would give them a winning record heading into the All-Star break. Ward and the Waterdogs defense had their best game of the season Friday night, and will look to repeat that here on Sunday.
Chrome are not that far removed from taking down consecutive No. 1 teams before losing to Atlas in week four. They look to get back on track against the Waterdogs.
Finally, look for Heacock to continue his productive ways.