Whipsnakes vs. Atlas
On Johns Hopkins’ historic Homewood Field in Baltimore, the sold-out crowd was treated to some intense competition as heavyweight talent from the Whipsnakes, made up of largely Maryland alumni, took on the Atlas, comprised of several Johns Hopkins players, including PLL founder Paul Rabil.
Each of the Whipsnakes first three victories did not come until overtime. As the Whipsnakes played catch-up for most of the day against Atlas, there brewed a feeling that more overtime was on the horizon. The scoring came early for both teams as they scrapped through a first quarter that finished with Atlas leading 3-2.
The scoring would stall for just over nine minutes, disposing of most of the second quarter. During that span, the Atlas goaltender, Jack Concannon, was a brick wall- making point-blank saves and aligning his off-ball defenders in spots to have successful slides. During the fifth minute of the second quarter, Concannon saved a shot from Whipsnakes’ Ryan Drenner right in front of the crease, which led to the possession that ended the game’s longest scoring drought. A nifty, possibly illegal, swim dodge by Atlas attackman, Kieran McArdle, accompanied by no slide from the Whipsnakes led to a goal that gave Atlas a 4-2 advantage. The Atlas lead would soon be erased by a downtown, two-point rip from Whipsnakes Mike Chanenchuk, his first goal of three and his first of two two-pointers. Atlas would break the tie before the half to give themselves a 5-4 lead.
The third quarter was a grind, like two fighters feeling each other out. Only a collective three goals were scored, two of which were from the Whipsnakes. That evened the score at 6-6 going into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was led off by Atlas’ Paul Rabil making a defender look silly as he dodged to space and ripped a shot low and away from just inside the two-point arc.
The floodgates were open for the rest of the game as star attackman Matt Rambo scored his third and final goal to even the score at 7. Then came a Trevor Baptiste two-pointer to give the Atlas a 9-7 lead with nine and half minutes to play. This was supposed to be the turning point for Atlas as all they had to do was lock down their end of the field and hope to tack on some insurance goals while they ran the clock out. But a different story unfolded as the Whipsnakes turned a 9-7 deficit into a 15-9 lead.
This 8-goal run was a defensive meltdown for Atlas, but was in equal measure a testament to Whipsnakes resolve. One key to sustaining the 8-0 run was Whipsnakes’ face-off specialist Joseph Nardella winning back-to-back face-offs on a day where he seldom won. The timing was clutch as his back-to-back face-off victories led to breaking the tie 10-9, then led to some insurance of their own in the form of LSM, Michael Ehrhardt, launching a two-pointer past Concannon giving the Whipsnakes a 12-9 lead, which was at the time the biggest lead of the game. Chris Cloutier scored his second goal in the final minutes to stop the bleeding and bring us to the final score of 15-10.
Despite the loss, Atlas’ face-off specialist, Trevor Baptiste, was a dominant force at the midfield X giving his team far more possessions than the Whipsnakes. Baptiste, who won eight out of 10 face-offs in the first half, finished the day going 16 for 22 and added a two-point goal in the fourth to give Atlas the lead at the time.
Next week’s slate of games will be in Atlanta at Georgia State Stadium. On Friday at 8:00 PM. Atlas (1-3) takes on a tough group in the Archers (2-2) who are coming off a hard-fought loss. On Saturday at 3:30 PM the Whipsnakes (4-0) will have their perfect record tested against Redwoods (2-2) who are also coming off a win in week four.
Whipsnakes 15, Atlas 10