16x9_Game17_Matchup

Archers vs. Atlas: Matchup Preview

By Doug Greenberg | Aug 3, 2020

The final game of the Elimination Round features a rematch between Archers and Atlas, which will go down Tuesday at 10:30 PM ET on NBCSN.

When these two teams last met, it was still the early stages of Group Play and Archers were able to come away with their first win of the Championship Series in their first game played. They went on to win the rest of their games, save for Sunday’s loss to Whipsnakes, while Atlas failed to win another game, limping into the Elimination Round with a 1-3 record.

 

Storylines to Watch

Stopping the Rookies
In the first Archers-Atlas game, one of the biggest storylines was the phenomenal play of rookies Grant Ament and Bryan Costabile. Ament made his PLL debut in style, compiling three goals and an assist, and has gone on to make the best case for Rookie of the Year with 17 points, second in the league among all players. The Penn State product is already the centerpiece of this Archers attack and neutralizing him will be a worthy challenge for Atlas.

That said, Costabile was just as good if not better than Ament in that first matchup: the second overall pick from the 2020 College Draft racked up five points on three one-point goals and a two-pointer. Since then, the rookie from Notre Dame came down to Earth a bit, scoring two goals against Redwoods and recording no points against Whipsnakes. Essentially, there is a blueprint for stopping the explosive midfielder and Archers will have to follow it if they want to make this game easier for themselves.

Questions at Goalie
Archers, much like they did last season, have been employing a two-goalie approach during the Championship Series; Adam Ghitelman takes one half of the game, while Drew Adams takes the other. The strategy has had mixed results so far: the goalies have kept Archers in several of their games, but the two keepers have combined for a 53 save percentage, the second-lowest mark in the league. Ghitelman on his own has saved 60 percent of his shots, so it will be interesting to see if coach Chris Bates gives him an extended look or keeps the tandem going.

On the other end, Jack Concannon has stopped 58 shots, the second-highest tally in the league, for a 58 save percentage. He’s been outstanding, but mainly out of necessity considering Atlas allowed the second-highest number of shots in Group Play. As long as Concannon stays hot and continues to make ridiculous saves in tight, Atlas can keep Archers in check, but only if the defense does its part and allows fewer shots.

Ramifications

It’s win-or-go-home time in the Championship Series. The bright side of this game, as compared to the four and five seed matchup, is that the winner will not have to face a rested Whipsnakes side, so it should be easier to focus on the task at hand. For Archers, this will be a chance to redeem themselves for not grabbing the one seed, while Atlas will want to prove that they are better than what they showed in the group stages.

You can catch this exhilarating matchup Thursday at 10:30 PM ET on NBCSN.

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