Ladies and gentlemen, thanks to the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) we had an epic three-day lacrosse event! We saw the emergence of many talented rookies, the debut of the Cannons after their acquisition from the MLL (Major League Lacrosse), how the trades and expansion draft has altered team dynamics, and some of the vet’s putting on a clinic! All-in-all, it was an amazing opening weekend inside of Gillette Stadium for the PLL and its fanbase! But alas, not all was perfect. We will hit on the biggest winners and losers of the opening weekend!
When it comes to winners, I think the biggest winner of week one was the Cannons! With the current setup, if you play Friday you also play Sunday, the “new kids on the block” put on two stellar performances, led by Lyle Thompson, Andrew Kew, and the man himself, Paul Rabil. Thompson started game one with a quick two goals but drew words of criticism from the booth for fading much of the remainder of the game. But with a VERY strong game two on Sunday, those criticisms quickly turned to praise as he netted four goals! Paul Rabil was able to turn back the clock and drink from the fountain of youth on his way to a six-point weekend, leading all Cannon scorers in Game one with four points (3-1) on 60% shooting! Andrew Kew added his seven points (6-1) to the total, shooting 100% in game two, and is sitting atop the PLL in 1-pt scored (shared with teammate Lyle Thompson).
— Cannons Lacrosse Club (@PLLCannons) June 5, 2021
On the defensive side, Brodie Merrill caused four turnovers and scooped up twelve ground balls! The Cannons hustle defense was in full effect as they caused 24 TOs and grabbed 74 GBs. Nick Marrocco played well in net, finishing the weekend with 32 saves and keeping a respectable 65% save percentage. Though they lost game one they come out of the weekend at .500, I maintain the Cannons were this week’s biggest winners!
Sending the 3rd overall pick in the 2021 entry draft and a 2nd round pick in next year’s college draft might seem hefty, but securing Rob Pannell as the outcome has looked crispy clean so far. Pannell or RP3, is currently leading the league in points and his presence on the field is palpable for the Woods. It was a tale of two games for RP3 as he was the leading scorer in game one with three goals and one assist, and a facilitator in game two with two goals and three assists. Myles Jones has been a difference-maker as always as he currently leads the league in assists. Jones drawing doubles and finding the open man for the open shot will continue to make the Redwoods offense something scary! The biggest and possibly the best addition to the Woods offense, Faceoff Specialist TD Ierlan! TD was the Redwoods player of the game after securing 78% of his FOs. Those extra possessions are something the Redwoods desperately needed.
— Premier Lacrosse League (@PremierLacrosse) June 6, 2021
If you thought Tim Troutner looked good last season, get excited, he has looked GREAT to start the year! Troutner finished the weekend with 33 saves at a 60% save percentage. But his most crucial saves were in the last minute of the Chrome game. Troutner was able to stuff a shot that was right in his face and then a 2-pt attempt to effectively end the evening for the Chrome and keep the Redwoods undefeated through week one. The rest of the defense stayed sharp and aggressive, with 17 CT and 70 GB.
What is there to say about the Archers besides, their sticks were on FIRE! Every shot the Archers took was in the net. They started the game with 7-7 shooting jumping out to a commanding 8-2 lead. At 3:10 left in the second quarter, the Archers were 12-13 shooting, and the offense was humming. With 11 different goal scorers, this was an offensive clinic. Beyond the shooting, the ball movement on display from the Archers was dynamic and crisp. While the Atlas didn’t help much with some sloppy defensive play, much of the confusion was caused by the movement of the Archer attackmen, who never settled into one spot for too long.
— Archers Lacrosse Club (@PLLArchers) June 6, 2021
While the scoring and ball movement may have garnered the most attention, the absolute tone-setter in this game was Adam Ghitelman. The former UVA star had 17 saves and a whopping 81% save percentage! Ghitelman stuffed almost everything thrown at him, allowing only SIX goals for the match! Incredible offensive and defensive performances propelled the Archers to a lopsided 18-6 week one win!