Just when we think the PLL cannot provide another entertaining week, we get Dallas which was loaded with insane finishes and three games decided by a total of four goals.
The updated playoff seedings are as follows.
First Round Bye: Whipsnakes
The first round match ups would be:
#2 Atlas vs. #7 Chaos
#3 Archers vs. #6 Redwoods
#4 Chrome vs. #5 Waterdogs
Regardless of who you are, you don’t want to play the Chaos in the first round. Despite beating the Redwoods head to head this weekend, they are still in the last playoff spot based on scoring differential. You’d much rather see the Chaos in the second round and hope their NLL athletes are running on fumes. To argue against ourselves, maybe you’d rather play them in the first round hoping their offense is still trying to find themselves. Based on what happened in Dallas, let’s assume their offense is firing on all cylinders. And for the purposes of this post, the playoffs are this weekend. We’d be terrified to play the Chaos if we were the Atlas even with Trevor Baptiste winning 60% plus.
The reason for the free would be the same reason we have bet against the Chrome in big games this season. The Chaos are proven in crunch time. The Atlas are still trying to find themselves after one year of success. If the game was this weekend and Brett Kennedy wasn’t playing, we’d have a little more confidence that the Atlas attack could pick apart the Chaos defense but it would be extremely challenging if that game remained close heading into the fourth quarter.
What comes first? The chicken or the egg? Until you win a meaningful game, how can you win a meaningful game? Could the Atlas overcome the Playoff Scorpions? Internally, they’d rather have someone else knock off Towers and the Canadians.
The Archers got pushed around in the second half by the aforementioned Atlas in Dallas. Will Manny and Tre Leclaire, heroes in Connecticut, combined for one point. Their offense couldn’t make the Bulls pay for seemingly unlimited first half turnovers. Adam Ghitelman only saved 32% of his chances and yet we’d still pick the Fighting Arrows over the Redwoods who have never felt like a threatening outfit in 2022. Someone new steps up for the Archers every weekend. Conversely, when the Redwoods get secondary scoring, their stars are quiet. The Woods scored twelve goals yesterday. Rob Pannell and Serigo Perkovic contributed one marker on eight shots. Montgomery was a nice hometown story but based on the season to date that contribution will vanish when Jules Heningburg returns to the lineup.
A Chrome Waterdogs rematch would be very special as we’d get another look at the rookie attackmen versus Dillon Ward. Michael Sowers has seemingly returned to being the Prince that was Promised prior to his arrival at Duke. Kieran McArdle unloaded a seven point outing. Maybe, just maybe Jack Hannah will take another step forward after his one goal on eight shot performance. Perhaps the Chrome have a better offense on paper but betting against Dillon Ward in crunch time seems like foolish choice in 2022.
A storyline to follow:
If the Whips, should fall out of first place, will they mail in the regular season? Their older roster will benefit massively from a bye week but if they should falter in these next two games do they pivot to a load management approach?
The only team that would benefit more from a bye week is the Chaos and they are mathematically eliminated from the bye. We assume they are anyway.