Many expected to see an entertaining rematch between the Chaos and Chrome, yet very few expected how the rematch would shape up.
If you told me the Chaos would score 19 goals, I’d be surprised but not shocked. If you told me they’d do it, despite going 24 percent from the stripe, I’d probably scratch my head a bit more. Yet, if you told me both these statistics AND that Connor Fields would not play a single second, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.
Yet, that’s exactly what happened.
It’s Dhane’s World, we’re just living in it
The Bandits teammates and roommates got it going early for the Chaos as Dhane Smith (3 G, 3 A) and Josh Byrne (4 G, 3 A) started off hot, giving the Chaos an early 2-0 lead. The duo would combine for 5 goals in the first half.
Jake Froccaro, Sergio Salcido and Austin Staats also got in on the action early in the half. Froccaro would add another big goal late in the second quarter, hitting a 2-pointer on the power play. Curtis Dickson would add another with 8 seconds left, giving Chaos a 12-6 lead and all the momentum heading into the half.
Froccaro was not content with just one two-bomb, ripping another one from range to open up the second half. Chaos would take an 18-9 lead early in the fourth quarter and despite a late rally from Chrome would finish the upset 19-14.
Gaudet notches hat trick, but Chaos get last laugh
It looked like Matt Gaudet would continue his terror of the Chaos when he scored on a 12-yard rip and drew a late hit penalty that gave Chrome a power play opportunity and another goal.
Gaudet, along with Jesse King and Jordan Wolf, would finish with a hat trick, but Chaos didn’t seem to pay his chirping too much attention with the game out of reach for the majority of the game. The team that originally drafted Gaudet would get the last laugh as they advanced and sent the rookie packing.
No Connor Fields, no problem
When asked after the game why Connor Fields didn’t see the field, Coach Andy Towers didn’t reveal much, but did say that he felt his team wasn’t moving the ball nearly enough in their first four games. That changed today and proved to be the difference maker.
The Chaos were extremely efficient, scoring on 44% of their shots and committing just nine turnovers compared to their average of 22.75 Sh% and 15.25 turnovers per game in their first four contests. They also scored 10 assisted goals on the day, after posting just 15 assisted goals all series. While Connor Fields was certainly less than stellar in his first four games committing 10 turnovers and shooting 32%, he still managed to be second in scoring on the team and the Chaos’ offensive explosion in his absence is certainly not an indictment of him. The fact is that when you have a player like Connor Fields, your offense must run through him. He makes plays when the ball is in his stick. Yet, he was not able to match his 2019 production in the first four games and simply was not setting up the skilled finishers on this team for success.
What this game means for the future of Connor Fields is uncertain, but he is still a very talented player and at the very least the Chaos simply showed they could find success without his assistance on offense. Expect him to see time in the semi-finals. While the Chaos certainly proved they don’t need him to win, I’d be shocked if Fields doesn’t make a return, even if it is in a limited capacity.
Another long offseason for Tim Soudan and former Rattlers
Chrome coach Tim Soudan and his cast of former Rochester Rattlers was a great story this season. Soudan, who suffered two MLL championship losses as the former coach of the Ratz, got this 2020 Chrome team to buy in and become one of the top-scoring offenses in the league. They picked a bad day to have their worst game of the season though, with Galloway letting in 19 goals and the defense looking lost all day. Despite the disappointing ending to the season, there is a lot to love about the Chroman Empire going forward.
PLL Betting Breakdown
The Chaos (+2.5) cover the spread was great for bettors who took the underdogs, but it was the over that stole the show. Dan Neubert discusses on the Pro Lacrosse Talk podcast that we could see the trend of games falling under the total come to an end, but very few expected it would occur thanks to a 19-point effort by Chaos. The Chaos and Chrome demolished the O/U of 21.5, putting up a series high 33 points.
The Chaos advanced and would find out later on Tuesday night that they would face Archers in the next round. Despite entering the playoffs 0-4 and with +2200 odds to win the championship according to Fox Bet, Andy Towers’ squad is now just two wins away from a PLL Championship.