In the second game of the opening round triple header, 4th-seeded Redwoods clashed with 5th-seeded Waterdogs. Going into the game, the key for a Redwoods victory was in the hands of their attack who had been underperforming through pool play. For the Waterdogs, the key was to avoid the long scoring droughts that had plagued them during pool play.
After nearly ten minutes of play, Waterdogs broke the seal as Christian Cuccinello dodged by Jack Near. It wouldn’t be for almost another ten minutes that Waterdogs would find the back of the net again. During that time, Ryder Garnsey and Redwoods’ offense poured in four goals.
Garnsey collected two assists as fellow attackmen Clarke Petterson and Brent Adams found their scoring touch. Adams, who had one goal in pool play while playing midfield, got the start at attack and found his rhythm, burying two goals in the second quarter. Garnsey would finish the half with one of his own to give Redwoods a 5-3 lead going into halftime.
No where to be found in the first half (and eventually the rest of the game) was Ryand Drenner, who mysteriously stayed off the field much like Connor Fields did for the Chaos. Once again at the start of the second half, both teams struggled to create offense for nearly half a quarter until Zach Currier demonstrated a perfect hitch-and-go on the powerplay to narrow Redwoods’ lead to one. However, this goal began yet another Waterdogs drought as they would fail to score for another 12-minute stretch. In that time, Myles Jones secured his first hat trick of the PLL Championship Series, rocketing a two-pointer past Waterdogs goalie Matt DeLuca and then bullying his way past short stick defensive midfielder Kyle McClancy.
Waterdogs’ late rally falls short
Back-to-back two-pointers for Waterdogs by Ryland Rees and Connor Kelly would narrow Redwoods’ lead to just one goal with just over two minutes to go in the game. A timely win by Greg Puskuldjian, who found his groove and won 70 percent of his faceoffs, won the ball for Redwoods. They would use that possession to push the lead back to two, as Jones drew the attention of the defense and moved the ball to the backside through Sergio Perkovic and Joe Walters. The ball eventually ended up in Garnsey’s stick, who buried his second of the day.
Waterdogs got one last shot at attempting to create a two-pointer in order to even the score, but superb defense from Redwoods mitigated those efforts. The turnover on their final possession led to Pat Harbeson scooping the ground ball and an eventual run out goal by Perkovic to put the game out of reach. As Perkovic put the nail in Waterdogs’ coffin Tuesday night and sent Redwoods to the semifinals, Waterdogs saw their inaugural season come to an end. By the end, the Dogs’s legs looked heavy as they lost their ability to create separation on the offensive end and lost 50-50 ground balls in the middle of the field.
Redwoods secure rematch with Whipsnakes
The Redwoods punched their ticket to the final four and have a well-rested and seemingly unbeatable Whipsnakes team waiting for them. The Woods will look to enact some postseason revenge after losing the past three matchups against the Whipsnakes. They’ll need Greg Puskuldjian and Peyton Smith to be at the top of their game as they face the league’s top faceoff man and MVP candidate Joe Nardella.
PLL Betting Breakdown
While Chaos vs Chrome was a shootout, the Woods vs Waterdogs matchup was anything but. The teams continued the under trend by managing to only put up 19 goals combined and failing to surpass the total of 21.5. As for the point spread, the Redwoods covered the 1.5-points spread and spoiling the underdogs bid to cover.
The Redwoods will face the top seed Whipsnakes on Thursday at 10:30pm ET on NBCSN with a chance to advance to the PLL Championship for the second straight season.