In the night cap (#PLLAfterDark) Archers and Atlas were locked in for a rematch of a one-goal game from early in pool play. Coming off three consecutive losses, Atlas were trying to right the ship while Archers were looking to rebound from their loss to Whipsnakes at the end of pool play.
Archers came out firing, scoring the first four goals within a 90-second span in the first quarter. Atlas finally responded late in the first quarter as John Crawley swept across the top of the arc to get his team on the board.
Schreiber shreds the defense
In the second quarter, Archers went back to their bread and butter: the side pick-and-roll with Tom Schreiber. Schreiber assisted Josh Currier as the ball-handler in a pick-and-roll on the right side of the field earlier in the game, so Archer went back to that well in the second period.
Schreiber and Ryan Ambler worked together to score two quick goals within 30 seconds. For the first, Schreiber slipped a pick as Ambler swept over the top. Ambler threw back to Schreiber who was left naked on the left wing. For the second, the roles were reversed, as Schreiber took the ball and used an Ambler pick to get topside. No slide from Atlas meant Schreiber walked into about ten yards top middle and put Archers up 7-1. Although Schreiber would add another goal and an assist to close out the half, Rob Pannell and Atlas would stage a run of their own, scoring five goals and narrowing the Archers lead to two, 8-6, going into halftime.
Lefties duel in the third quarter
The third quarter was dominated by the lefties. Chris Cloutier and Will Manny, both of whom finished with hat tricks, traded goals back and forth throughout the third quarter while embodying the mascot they represent. Manny, the sharpshooter, showed off his ability to score with little to no angle. Cloutier, on the other hand, was a bull in a china shop, powering his way through short stick defender of the year candidate Dominique Alexander on his way to the goal.
Archers took a 10-8 lead into the fourth and final quarter. Trevor Baptiste found his groove at the stripe, winning six straight faceoffs to give Atlas ample opportunities to narrow the margin. However, the defenses hunkered down to make the final quarter a struggle on the scoreboard. Finally, with under four minutes to go, Pannell broke the seal, completing his hat trick and pulling Atlas within one goal.
On the ensuing faceoff, Stephen Kelly won the clamp and Mark McNeill came up with a huge ground ball for Archers. The ball found its way to Ryan Ambler, who scored the overtime game winner versus Waterdogs earlier this week. This time, Ambler sealed the game, putting Archers up by two with just under three minutes to go. Archers’ defense made the final stops and pulled out the victory 11-9.
Atlas under-perform again
It was a disappointing 2020 campaign for Atlas, to say the least. A 1-4 record is not what head coach Ben Rubeor had in mind for his club. However, they move into the offseason with the top pick in next year’s collegiate draft and will hope to address their shortcomings on defense or possibly grab an offensive weapon in order to establish more of an identity on that end of the field.
PLL Betting Breakdown
Fans of the Atlas have likely been fairly disappointed with how the Bulls season turned out, but bettors were once again treated to an Atlas team covering the spread (+3.5) against the Archers for the second time in the series. As for the total (22), bettors once again saw the under hit, bringing the number of times that the total fell under to 13 out of 17 games.
For Archers, they will meet a retooled Chaos team that is coming off the highest scoring outing of the Series. That game, which is on Thursday at 8:00 PM ET on NBC Sports Gold, will decide who makes it to the championship game and has a shot at The Crown.