10 Man Ride: “This is playoffs” – Lyle
CLEAR! The ride is on. With two weeks remaining in the regular season, every team sits between 4-2 and 2-4. There are two races to watch: The top seed earns a first-round bye, and the bottom seed misses the postseason entirely.
Let's recap Week 5 in Minnesota.
“This is playoffs,” said Cannons LC attackman Lyle Thompson (5G, 4A) in the postgame press conference. “The rest of the season for us, we’re treating it like playoffs. It’s do-or-die playoff games in order for us to actually make the playoffs.”
With the Cannons’ season on the line, Lyle took control of the offense. He buried his signature backhand goal off an endline restart – then dished a backhand assist when the same dodge drew an early slide.
Lyle beat every matchup the Archers threw at him, including Graeme Hossack.
“Graeme is an incredible defender. He’s a scary guy to go up against. He’s physical. And at the same time, I’m physical. It’s just a matter of, I know he’s gonna get his, and I know I’m gonna get mine.”
Most attackmen have backed down from dodging Hossack this summer. Not Lyle.
This was a less-than-100-percent Lyle. The All-Star break comes at the perfect time for the Cannons (and most teams). It’s an opportunity to rest, recover, and recharge ahead of a week with postseason implications for everyone in Colorado Springs.
2. Paul Rabil as a picker
Lyle and Paul Rabil ran pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll against the Archers. The best part? Even when Lyle got a short-stick switch, Rabil went right back for a re-pick.
Shooting percentage off two-man games (29.3%) is consistently higher than shooting percentage off dodges (24.3%). Two-man games force defenses to communicate; which means they might miscommunicate.
More on the Lyle-Rabil pick-and-rolls later this week. They deserve a conversation with offensive coordinator Sean Kirwan and a longer article than a bullet in the 10 Man Ride.
After a rough Friday night outing in which he was pulled against the Waterdogs, Cannons LC goalie Nick Marrocco rebounded to make the save of the season.
Up by one goal on the penalty kill, Marrocco denied Marcus Holman from the doorstep.
Somehow, this didn’t seal the game – it took a game-winning Glick by Jack Kielty and another stop (all in the final minute!) before the bench mobbed Marrocco.
4. Connor Kelly's rollbacks
Connor Kelly has always been a better passer than the box score numbers suggest. His staircase dodging style down the alley is a big reason why.
Kelly’s rollback footwork is textbook. He loves the lefty alley, where uses the threat of his left to set up rollbacks to his right. Sometimes it seems like he shows his back to bait a slide. Watch this and tell me he hasn’t mentally made this pass to Ryan Brown before hockey-stopping and rolling back.
The Waterdogs are attacking from all angles. Up top with Mikie Schlosser. On the lefty wing with Zach Currier and Kieran McArdle. From X with Ben Reeves. And on the righty wing with Kelly’s rollbacks.
“We don’t have a Lyle or a guy like that, an X attackman who’s going to have the ball and make stuff happen. For us, it’s really important that we can keep the thing hot, flip the field, and get the defense’s head turning left, right, up top, down low. That allows us to open up some cutting lanes, some room to pop off each other and rubs,” said Waterdogs LC attackman Ryan Brown.
“That’s when we’re at our best. We talk about getting sticky sticks… I think that plays into pro defense’s schemes because then you can double backs and things just get jammed up. Off-ball, when the ball sits in a guy’s stick for a minute, you can only cut so many times before you’re just running into each other. For us we’ve found that the more we make passes, the more offensive movements off the ball open up.”
Kelly gets into and out of his dodges quickly. Most players who show their backs are easier to double. Try to blindside Kelly, and your two slide might be caught cheating. Again – he sees the slide unfold before he rolls, and hits McArdle on the pipe.
5. Crease Collapses of the Week: Liam Byrnes
Defensively, moving Liam Byrnes (8CT, 8GB in two games this weekend) down low in Week 4 has been the biggest adjustment for the Waterdogs. He’s cleaning up the interior with timely two slides.
The Waterdogs defense allowed 6 assists all weekend; the Cannons and Chrome combined to shoot 22.0% against them. Byrnes’ alert off-ball play was a difference maker. This fill – to Lyle’s favorite target, Shayne Jackson – is not easy in a four-on-four situation above the cage. Identifying that Jackson slipping off the bee sting pick is a bigger threat than Brendan Sunday diving toward the backside pipe is a high-IQ play.
Here’s a bonus Crease Collapse of the Week, also by Byrnes. After defending a Justin Anderson sweep, Byrnes peels and finds Justin Guterding on the inside before the ball arrives.
6. The General
Eddy “The General” Glazener has a league-high 12 (!) Glicks through six games. For context: Jarrod Neumann led the league with 6 Glicks in seven games last year.
Two (2) Glicks per game! That’s two (2) bags of frozen peas on two (2) separate bruises every Monday morning. In a league featuring defenders jumping into the crease to be the goalie-behind-the-goalie, Glazener is blocking more shots than them all by simply understanding, anticipating, and arriving.
Glazener’s Woods limited the Whipsnakes’ offense to seven goals. They switched every slam pick on GLE, holding the Whipsnakes to one goal on five shots off two-man games (both lows on the year). Again: It is easier to slide with five off-ball defenders than with four off-ball defenders. And nobody slides and recovers better to isolations than the Redwoods.
7. Sergio Perkovic: Certified Two-Way Midfielder
Perkovic hasn’t played much defense since the 2019 postseason. In the bubble, the Woods ran two lines of SSDMs: Pat Harbeson, Jack Near, Brent Adams, and Nick Ossello.
He found himself back on the defensive end against the Whipsnakes out of necessity. (From Myles Jones’ postgame comments, it sounded like Kevin Unterstein was battling an injury.) Perkovic punched hips and protected the middle after those aforementioned switches.
A sign you’re probably playing good defense: When a mic’d up Glazener says, “Stay there, Epple” while you’re on-ball.
8. A Schreiberian skip pass from Grant Ament
The 2020 first overall pick had a goal and 3 assists against the Cannons – none prettier than this Schreiberian skip through to Will Manny.
Ament threw that pass with five seconds remaining on the shot clock. A low-risk, “white” opportunity like his Hail Mary to Ryan Ambler against Chrome in 2020. Quick reminder on the rules of “white” situations, from head coach Chris Bates:
“The rules in ‘white’ [called with 10 seconds on the shot clock] are to start to think about subbing. If you’re not directly in the play, take a defensive posture. You have a little bit of carte blanche if you’re one of the four guys still alive in the play. Either be aggressive dodging and see if you can get a push call. Or if it’s an east-to-west or north-south pass, you have the green light to jam it in there.”
9. A Schreiberian skip pass from Jeff Teat
The 2021 first overall pick had 4 goals and 4 assists against Chaos. This skip off the pass-down-pick-down from John Crawley is money. How many Teat-to-Carraway goals do you think we’ll see over the next decade?
By the way – there have been 11 8-point games in PLL history. Teat has two of them. And he has only played four games so far.
10. Chaos' lack of complementary lacrosse
Blaze Riorden made 18 saves (again). But Chaos put only 19 shots on goal against Atlas. They’re not pressuring opposing goalies, and in turn, they’re not protecting Blaze.
The shot differential stems from more than their struggles at the stripe, where Trevor Baptiste (19-for-27, 70%) dominated them. Chaos had 18 turnovers; more than Atlas, on fewer possessions. They need to be better in front of Blaze – both defensively and offensively.