13 Percent: Chaos play spoiler; Send Archers home

By Austin Owens | Aug 21, 2021

For the second consecutive year, Chaos booted the Archers from the postseason, taking home a 13-10 victory on Friday night in the first of three quarterfinals this weekend. 

It was a career day for Kyle Jackson, who returned to the lineup in place of the injured Chris Cloutier. Playing at attack, he posted four goals and six points -- with five of those coming in the first half. 

Dhane Smith (2G, 1T, 2A) also finished with six points on the night while Tanner Cook (1G, 2A) also had a solid outing for Chaos. 

Max Adler won 70 percent of his draws while adding 11 ground balls and Blaze Riorden was rock solid once again, putting up 13 saves in the win. 

“I think that Blaze’s MVP candidacy was pretty cemented ahead of tonight. But after tonight, I’d be questioning the people involved if he wasn’t the MVP,” Chaos defender Jack Rowlett said post game. “He steals goals for you, he produces goals at the other end in terms of clean saves and outlets. I’ve never played with a player like that in my life, let alone a goalie. 

“Like I said, I thought Blaze was the MVP before this, but I think he’s head and shoulders the MVP now. It shouldn’t even be a conversation.”

The Archers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with a goal from Connor Fields. However, that would be the sole time they’d hold the lead for the rest of the contest.

Jackson and Josh Byrne scored back-to-back goals to answer for Chaos, and while a Grant Ament goal tied it up, Smith and Jackson immediately pushed the ‘Aos lead to two. Tom Schreiber added a goal to end the quarter, leaving the Archers down by one after the first frame. 

The Archers found themselves scoring to break up multiple-goal runs by the Chaos in the first two frames. Cook opened the scoring in the second before Jackson completed the first-half hat trick. Ryan Ambler cut into the lead, but Smith and Mac O’Keefe continued the run for Chaos heading into the half. 

However, the Archers got some life heading into the locker room, as Marcus Holman beat the buzzer to make it an 8-5 game at half. 

Andy Towers opted to deploy Jackson from X the majority of the time, which worked to help open up the offense with his speed and agility -- along with his playmaking ability. He finished the first half with three goals and a pair of assists. 

“We couldn’t have more trust in him,” Towers said of Jackson. “When we put Tanner Cook in the lineup, it was lefty in, lefty out. And KJ was team-first. His response was always, ‘No problem. Whatever is going to help the team win.’ He’s a team guy...the team is all he cares about. 

“He had an opportunity to get back in and took advantage of it. We weren’t surprised at all by his production.”

Chaos found itself on the back foot a bit coming out for the third quarter. Ambler and Schreiber cut the lead down to one early on, but Smith would come up huge with a 2-pointer to erase any progress made by the Archers. But Chris Bates’ squad continued to claw back, with goals from Tre Leclaire and another buzzer beater, this time from Ament. 

The final frame saw the Archers score just a single goal, while Chaos added three to their total from Jackson, Chase Fraser, and Ryan Smith. 

There was a late push to try and knot it up, but Riorden put any hope to bed with a number of key saves late. 

The Archers end their season on a disappointing note. After starting the season 3-0, they lost four of their final six games of the regular season ahead of this defeat. 

“I said to them in the locker room, I wouldn’t trade this group for any other one out there,” Bates said. “I believe that everyone in this organization believes in each other. When you set goals and you don’t achieve them, there’s a sense of disappointment. But at the end of the day, I’m proud to wear an arrow on my shirt and I’m proud of every guy on this team. 

“This organization will forge on. We have the necessary grit and resolve, I believe, to be a championship team.”

Chaos was picked by just 13 percent of fans to win this outing, and they carried that same chip on their shoulders into the semi-finals. 

They await the winner of Saturday’s second semi-final between Atlas and the Cannons.

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