We may have been without any regular season Premier Lacrosse League games this weekend, but it didn’t mean we still couldn’t get our PLL fix. After a one-year hiatus, the PLL All-Star Game returned with a match between Grant Ament’s “Adversaries” and Blaze Riroden’s “Defenders,” this time in San Jose.
2021 PLL All-Star Game
While players suited up with many different teammates for the 2021 PLL All-Star Game, the team connections were evident early on as the first three goals by the “Arch”versaries (as Will Manny coined them) involved members of the Archers, including a Grant Ament BTB pass that led to Marcus Holman’s BTB goal.
The BTB’s didn’t stop there as Zach Currier displayed his behind the back skills with a slick pass to Will Manny.
Speaking of Will Manny, the Adversaries attackman seemed content with just scoring goals. Not wanting to risk unnecessary injury (or end up on the wrong end of a Myles Jones highlight like Curtis Dickson in 2020), Manny let Myles Jones cross the midline untouched and Myles was very thankful.
Bryan Costabile’s range has been evident since he stepped on a PLL field, but what you may have not known is that the Atlas middie has some acrobatic skills as well. After nailing a two-pointer, Costabile celebrated with a standing backflip. We’re sure Mrs. Costabile and Atlas LC head coach Ben Rubeor covered their eyes when watching, but it made for a great sight for us fans.
Behind-the-back passes and goals have already gotten a lot of love in this article, but the most entertaining BTB goal came from the unlikeliest of places. Adversaries goalie Tim Troutner followed up his long clear attempt with a nifty GB to a BTB goal that got all of #LaxTwitter fired up!
The goals by goaltenders didn’t stop there though as Adam Ghitelman scored while getting some reps on attack. In place of his goalie stick, the Adversaries goalie—uh attackman used his very own (made from 100% recycled materials) Re-Lax Sports Co. GameChanger head.
However, Tim Troutner was the goalie who would take home MVP honors when the dust settled. Prior to the game, the PLL announced that it would donate $500 to Oakland Lacrosse for every save made in the PLL All-Star Game. When all was said and done, the league raised $17,500 thanks to 35 total saves made between the four All-Star goalies, with Troutner recording 24 of those saves!
PLL Betting Breakdown: Whether you bet on the goal total when it was 28.5 or 29.5, the over was obliterated. If you thought the 2019 PLL All-Star Game’s 33 total goals was a lot, then you were in for a treat as the 2021 PLL All-Star Game finished with 44 goals scored between the two teams when the dust settled. As for MVP odds, Tim Troutner wasn’t on anyone one’s radar, and neither were any of the other three All-Star Game goalies. Yet, given that Jack Concannon won the 2019 All-Star Game MVP, maybe bettors do need to take a closer look at the All-Star Game goalies next time around.
2021 PLL Skills Competition
The fastest shot competition occurred at halftime and the main storyline heading into the event was centered around whether 2019 winner Jarrod Neumann could top his 115 MPH shot. Neumann delivered and broke his 2019 All-Star Game record using the new Epoch Z3 head and a prototype Dragonfly shaft, clocking in at 117 MPH.
Despite the new record, however, Neumann did not win the competition, failing to match that speed in the final round. His Chaos LC teammate Jake Froccaro would instead take home fastest shot competition honors, clocking in at 114 MPH to best Neumann’s 113 MPH in the final round. Regardless of the head-scratching rules, we’ll give the edge to Andy Towers and Chaos LC as a whole. The Bomb Squad is still alive and well.
When it came to the fastest player competition, Romar Dennis showed he is skilled “on the run” in more ways than one, sprinting to the finish line first. His Atlas teammate Bryan Costabile wasn’t far behind, and together they gave “running with the Bulls” new meaning.
While Troutner may have made headline when it came to the All-Star Game, the netminder that shined in the goalie skills competition was two-time PLL champion Kyle Bernlohr, making nine saves to secure the title.
The freestyle competition saw Chaos LC middie Dhane Smith and Redwoods faceoff specialist TD Ierlan advancing to the finals thanks to a nifty between the legs goal from Smith and backflip from Ierlan. Both whipped out the tributes for the final round, with TD and Nat St. Laurent’s son Jamarcus showcasing Kyle Harrison’s signature move. Yet, it was Dhane Smith’s tribute to his Chaos LC/Buffalo Bandits teammate (and roommate) Josh Byrne that earned him the award.
The accuracy challenge may as well have been named the “Archery” challenge as teammates Tom Schreiber, Grant Ament, Will Manny and Marcus Holman all competed along with Atlas attackman Jeff Teat. Marcus Holman would defend his title from 2019, hitting all five targets in 23 seconds.
PLL Betting Breakdown: There were no official props for the 2021 PLL Skills Competition, but had there been, then whether Jarrod Neumann would top his previous record of 115 MPH in the fastest shot competition would have been an over we would have hammered. Despite losing in the final round of the competition, the Chaos defender’s 117 MPH was good enough for a new PLL record.
Looking Ahead to PLL Week 6 (Colorado Springs)
We are still a week away before the PLL resumes regular season play, but that doesn’t prevent PLL teams from making moves during the bye week—especially with the August 6 trade deadline looming. Will teams towards the bottom of the standings like Chrome, Chaos or Cannons make any moves via trade or waiver wire acquisition? Or will we see players who have been out with injuries for a long period of time make their return? Michael Sowers already hinted on Instagram that his return to the field could be imminent.
Let us know which trades, waiver adds or comebacks you would like to see occur during the bye week in the comments or on social media.