By Katie McNulty | Jul 31, 2021
Where to Watch
- Saturday, July 31
- 7:15 p.m. ET
- Live on Peacock
While there will be many fantastic matchups in Saturday’s game, this game's major matchup is Jules Heningburg and whoever is guarding him. Heningburg oftentimes has a short stick matchup with how dominating the Redwoods offense is, but he makes you pay for it right away. The Archers defense has a tough task in tomorrow’s game for whoever they will use that short stick matchup against.
Heningburg is leading the league in shooting percentage (59%), and he’s accumulated 18 points in six games. Heningburg’s first step is so quick that no matter how fast the defender is, Heningburg’s usually going to win that battle if you give him any separation.
Even though the Archers have one of the most prolific offenses in the PLL, their weakest link is at the faceoff stripe. They rank sixth in the league, winning 45% of their matchups. Archers All-Star Stephen Kelly went 30% against the Whipsnakes, which caused head coach Chris Bates to go with rookie Conor Gaffney in the next game. Gaffney also struggled in his debut against the Cannons. He won 9 of his 23 faceoffs in a one-point loss.
This Archers team has arguably the toughest matchup of the season in rookie TD Ierlan.
Ierlan leads the league with a 66% faceoff percentage. He is someone that likes to pop the ball up to himself after he wins the clamp, while Kelly is someone who is going to scrap for the ball even if he loses the clamp.
Redwoods acquire Kyle Hartzell
Redwoods head coach Nat St. Laurent made one move in the PLL bye week. He acquired LSM Kyle Hartzell from the player pool. Hartzell will be making his 2021 PLL season debut with the Redwoods this Saturday. He played his last two seasons with Atlas, where he recorded 23 ground balls, eight points and seven caused turnovers. Hartzell is someone who can come in right away and bring in immediate depth to that position.
What’s at Stake?
With the end of the regular season coming to an end in a couple of weeks, there will be a lot riding on this game. The Redwoods(4-2) are currently first in the league, while the Archers, who have dropped three straight games, are 3-3. Both teams are fighting to capture a spot in the playoffs, and this game is integral to their seed.
Because Chrome lost on Friday, the Archers could get in with another Chrome or Cannons loss, but they can’t rely on that. A win on Saturday would clinch a playoff spot for them.
If the Redwoods win, they would clinch a spot in the playoffs. Just like the Archers, the Redwoods could also get in with two Chrome losses and a Cannons loss.
After this weekend, the Redwoods only have one game remaining against the Whipsnakes, while the Archers have a doubleheader in Albany against Chaos and the Whipsnakes.