Joe Keegan's 10 Man Ride Week 8 San Jose

10 Man Ride: Week 4

1. Blaze Riorden sparking transition with clean saves

Chaos LC goalie Blaze Riorden made a ridiculous 21 saves against the Archers LC. Several of those saves were made cleanly, which is the worst possible outcome for a shooter. A messy save or a pipe shot might lead to an offensive rebound and a 52-second shot clock reset. A wide shot will probably be backed up. Clean saves are essentially turnovers. The goalie has four seconds in his crease to scan the field for outlets; it’s nearly impossible to ride in that scenario. Riorden made quick decisions in the clearing game, sparking the Chaos’ lethal transition game. This week, it was Jarrod Neumann who drilled a pair of two-pointers that turned out to be the difference.

2. Kyle Hartzell sniffing out the seal

The Whipsnakes LC’s favorite power play sets involve a seal for Mike Chanenchuk. As the ball swings through X, a player from the weakside wing tries to bury the defender responsible for closing out to Chanenchuk. We saw one variation of this a couple weeks ago.

This week, the Whips altered the window dressing with the same end result in mind. Their goal is to get Chanenchuk a shot from midrange with his hands free; Kyle Hartzell saw right through that. He sniffed out the seal from Dylan Maltz before it arrived, got outside it, and picked off the pass intended for Chanenchuk.

The Atlas’ penalty kill unit was a bright spot overall, holding the Whips to 1-for-6 on powerplay chances.

3. Gameday outfits

The gameday stadium entrances improve each week. Players are wearing sentimental and city-specific outfits. In Chicago, Jake Froccaro rocked his cousin and current Chicago Bull Ryan Arcidiacono’s Villanova jersey. At Homewood, Kyle Hartzell repped an old school Dave Pietramala jersey. Dhane Smith paid tribute to his hometown team and recently crowned NBA champion Toronto Raptors with a Kawhi Leonard jersey.

My personal favorite this week: Tom Schreiber’s “Re-Elect Frank Sobotka” shirt. It was probably too hot for Bunk Moreland’s Edmondson High School lacrosse crewneck.

4. Redwoods LC’s defensive communication

Redwoods LC defenseman Eddy Glazener had two live mic’d up segments on Saturday; both were outstanding. Glazener is shouting out directions nonstop. He tells teammates who is sliding, when to go, that they’re playing “sides” and switching off-ball exchanges. When you hear that communication coming from Glazener, you begin to appreciate all the talk that goes into the Redwoods’ recoveries.

This team collapses the crease -- and then closes out to shooters -- as well as any team in the league. The Notre Dame alumni on this unit are quick to help. Watch Matt Landis here. He starts on-ball, but then is switched onto the picker. There’s a mismatch on-ball. Glazener is in the best position to slide; while he goes, Landis sinks inside and crashes down on Glazener’s man.

Good defenses collapse to the crease; great defenses are able to extend back outside if the offense is able to swing the ball to the weakside. Again, Landis crashes to the crease as Glazener slides. The forced feed to the inside is incomplete, but squirts out to the weakside. Garrett Epple -- who had sunk in ready to help the helper -- extends out and arrives on hands to disrupt a pass on the weakside.

5. Chrome LC getting beat into the hole

On a shorter field with a shorter shot clock, transition is more frequent and more potent than ever. Teams are putting an added emphasis on defending the first 10 to 15 seconds of each possession. The Chrome cannot beat any team into the hole.

The Redwoods ran all over the Chrome in transition. Pat Harbeson was weaving through lazy, one-handed stick checks to create chances. Ball movement was beating the Chrome as they tried to substitute; that Matt Kavanagh look ahead to Jules Heningburg’s behind-the-back pass to Ryder Garnsey’s shovel finish was beautiful.

Harbeson, Brent Adams, and the Redwoods rope unit always run well. But the alarming part for the Chrome was that players who don’t typically run were beating them upfield. Garrett Epple toe-dragged through two defenders and buried a shovel shot top shelf. Tim Troutner Jr. -- the Redwoods goalie! -- beat everyone up the field to assist John Sexton. Surfing the box score, you’ll notice several pole goals by the Redwoods; turn on the tape, and you’ll realize it was even worse than the box score indicates. Several more goals -- including Heningburg-to-Clarke Petterson, Garnsey-to-Kavanagh and Heningburg-to-Garnsey -- occurred in those crucial first 15 seconds of the shot clock.

(Sidenote: Troutner might have gone in-and-out of the crease prior to his assist. The Chrome didn’t challenge, which begs the question: Which team will be the first to have a coach or special assistant in the booth for replay reviews? Hat tip to Brett Jefferson for pointing that potential missed call out.)

6. Atlas LC getting into the hole… then getting beat by pass down pick downs

After his first quarter goal, Whipsnakes LC attackman Ryan Drenner was mic’d up for a quick conversation with Ryan Boyle and Brendan Burke.

“[Ben] Reeves had a good dodge. Ty Warner came down and set a pass down pick down,” Drenner told the NBC broadcast team. “Not to give too much away, but that’s kind of our gameplan right now.”

You have to respect the football guy move by Drenner to avoid revealing his gameplan -- especially considering this has been every team’s gameplan against the Atlas. It’s no secret that the Atlas’ offensive midfielders have been liabilities on the defensive end. Opponents continue to force them to defend pass down pick downs, while the Atlas drop their offensive midfielders even further away from the two-man game. There’s no physicality upfront, allowing Reeves to scan the field and pick apart an unsettled defense.

7. Atlas LC running a fourth attackman out of the box

Head coach John Paul changed up the way that he deploys his personnel a bit this week. Rather than sitting one of his four stud attackmen for a quarter at a time, Paul ran all four at the same time. Depending on the direction the Atlas was heading in each quarter, either the left-handed Kieran McArdle or the right-handed Eric Law ran as a midfielder.

The results: Ryan Brown, Kieran McArdle, Cloutier and Law combined for more shots (20) than they have in a game all season despite playing a slowed-down slugfest that featured too many Atlas penalty kill situations. That number needs to be even higher; the Bulls were outshot 52-37 despite winning 69.5% of the faceoffs. They need to find more reliable forms of initiation -- two-man games between Joel Tinney and Chris Cloutier, maybe -- that force the defense to slide and lead to high-quality, catch-and-shoot chances.

8. Shoeless Karalunas

In the substitution phase, Brian Karalunas is like an isolation defender. It’s his opportunity to go to work on a ball-carrier. After a faceoff violation while the faceoff specialists substitute, Karalunas will press out to the midfield line hunting for a takeaway. He’s a graduate of Villanova, also known as Caused Turnover University. His latest victim: Jordan MacIntosh. As MacIntosh waits for his offensive personnel, Karalunas puts the ball on the ground. He loses a shoe in the process, but he isn’t phased as he finishes the play. This takeaway allowed the ‘Woods to burn a ton of clock. It was essentially a game-clinching strip.

9. John Haus celebrating teammates’ goals

John Haus is always the most hyped player on the field following a goal. It doesn’t matter if he scored, if he assisted, or if he has one foot on the field and the other in the substitution box. He’s gonna go wild every single time. Everyone needs John Haus as a teammate.

10. Matt Rambo running right at Tucker Durkin

Tucker Durkin is violent. He feeds off physicality. During halftime, NBC aired a Sports Science segment which featured Durkin slashing through four blocks of wood at once. Why does he slash like that? To send a message. He intimidates most attackmen to the point that nobody dodges him. If Durkin is lined up across from you, then it’s a good day to let your teammates get some touches.

Rambo (3G, 1A) did not shy away from the matchup at all. He ran right at Durkin, scoring all three of his goals unassisted. Durkin was mic’d up for one of Rambo’s goals. He doesn’t talk during the clip, he just cross-checks Rambo’s hips and ribs. It hurts to hear; I’m going to be sore after listening to this matchup.

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