Photo courtesy of the Premier Lacrosse League
Behind a MVP performance by Zed Williams, the Whipsnakes won their second straight PLL Championship on Sunday, defeating the Chaos 12-6.
For a majority of Sunday’s contest, it seemed as if the Chaos would continue their Cinderella run to championship after not winning a game in group play. Andy Towers’ squad held the defending champs to just three goals through three quarters of play.
After scoring the game’s first two goals off the sticks of Mike Chanenchuk and Williams, the Whipsnakes were held scoreless for the next 29 minutes of play.
This was thanks, in large part, to the play of Chaos goalie, Blaze Riorden. The reigning Goalie of the Year made eight saves in the first half of play, stifling the Whipsnakes’ high powered offense.
In addition to their early success on the defensive end, the Chaos’ offense continued their strong playoff performance. Josh Byrne netted a pair of goals, including the ridiculous goal weaving through several Whips defenders. Miles Thompson and Austin Staats also found the back of the net as the Chaos headed into the locker room holding a 4-2 lead.
The 3rd quarter saw much of the same, as the Chaos doubled up the Whips in scoring 2-1 behind goals by Dhane Smith and Kevin Buchanan. Entering the 4th quarter, the Chaos led 6-3.
This is when the game was turned on it’s head, thanks to the one and only Zeddy Ballgame. Williams took over the game, scoring 4 times in a two minute span, including this diving goal.
When the final whistle blew, the Whipsnakes had scored the game’s final ten goals and Zed Williams had a total of six goals (five in the 4th quarter alone).
Goalie Kyle Bernlohr shut down the Chaos in the 4th quarter, turning away 14 shots in the game to help propel the Whips to victory.
With their second championship in as many year, it looks like already have the making of a dynasty on our hands.
Blaze is, in fact, good
Three quarters of the way through Sunday’s championship, it looked like Blaze Riorden was going to carry the Chaos to a championship. Riorden had eight first half saves and stifled the Whipsnakes’ offense through three quarters of play. While the final score was not in Riorden’s favor, his 14-save performance cemented his position as the league’s top goalie for the second year in a row.
Zeddy calls ball game
The PLL Championship Series’ leading scorer was held to only one goal in the first 36 minutes of play. But Williams came up big when the Whips needed him most, scoring five fourth quarter goals, including four in a span of two minutes. Williams’ record-tying performances landed him championship game MVP honors.
PLL Betting Breakdown
The Chaos looked poised for an upset after going up 4-2 at halftime and 6-3 at the end of three quarters. Those who wagered on Chaos to cover the spread or even money line straight up were feeling great. Yet, Zed Williams had other ideas. The Whipsnakes came roaring back from a 30% win probability to take the lead and eventually put the game out of reach with a 12-6 win, covering the spread and killing the underdogs chances.
As for the total of 23.5? The under train made one final stop as Dan Neubert suggested it would, with only 18 goals being scored between the two teams. In total, the under hit 16 out of 20 times during the PLL Championship Series. While sports books got wiser as the series progressed, the under still remained the play to make in 2020.
While pro lacrosse fans will have to wait until next summer to watch the PLL, the offseason is sure to be a great one. Make sure to check prolacrossetalk.com and our social media channels for podcast interviews and all the latest PLL news this offseason.