GAME RECAP: Archers defeat Atlas in Week 8

Archers vs. Atlas Week 8 San Jose Recap

Archers and Atlas wrapped up Week 8 of the Premier Lacrosse League season with playoff hopes on the line. Both standing at 3-4, this game was monumental in determining their chances at a playoff berth.

Similarly to their Week 5 game, the first half of this one was a back and forth affair. Scott Ratliff opened up the scoring as he split two Atlas defenders on his way to his second goal of the season. On the ensuing faceoff, Stephen Kelly notched his first of two assists as he hit Will Manny on a fast break to stretch their early lead to two. Atlas would answer with a pair of their own as Joel Tinney and Kevin Unterstein found the Archers’ defenseman not sliding in transition. Christian Cuccinello would show that he could do it all by himself too as he scores one of his two unassisted goals of the afternoon as he takes Atlas’ All-Star defenseman Tucker Durkin to the island, executes a textbook question mark dodge and buries it over Jack Concannon’s right shoulder. Cuccinello’s emergence as a dodging threat from behind the goal has opened up a new dimension to the Archers’ offense.

With less than two minutes to play in the first quarter, Ryan Brown and Eric Law would be the beneficiaries of good ball movement and put Atlas up 5-3 going into the second quarter.

After giving up a flurry of goals to end the first quarter, the Archers’ defense would hold Atlas scoreless for the next 11 minutes before Connor Buczek would sneak one past Adam Ghitelman with just 45 seconds left in the half. The Atlas defense, and more specifically Jack Concannon, would experience their own success for much of the period, stifling the Archers’ offense for nearly two-thirds of the quarter. Concannon would continue to prove why he’s in the conversation as one of the best goalies in the league as he made nine saves on 14 shots on goal in the first half.

However, the half would end with the Archers’ offense finding some success against Concannon and the Atlas defense as they went on a three-goal run as Joey Sankey scored his first goal in an Archers uniform and Marcus Holman scored a pair of assisted goals from Dan Eipp and Will Manny.

With the score knotted at six as the third quarter began, Archers would go on the longest run of the game as they netted four straight to cap off a 7-1 run. Schreiber began the third quarter run with a short-handed, unassisted goal while Dan Eipp, Ben McIntosh and Holman would all find success initiating offense from behind the goal. The teams would trade goals at the end of the third quarter as James Pannell scores his first PLL goal, Holman finishes another fast break from Stephen Kelly, and Law puts back a rebound to narrow the Archers’ lead to three heading into the final quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Atlas would be unable to mount a comeback. Trevor Baptiste failed to dominate faceoffs and give the Atlas offense a chance to go on a run. Brendan Fowler went toe-to-toe with Baptiste, winning over 50% of his faceoffs; it was the only time an opponent has had that level of success all season against Baptiste. Archers, fueled by the extra possessions provided by steady play by their faceoff men, pulled away for a 15-11 victory.

This victory propels them into third place and will provide them with much needed confidence as they battle first place Chaos next week in Hamilton, Ontario. As for Atlas, they’ll need to win out in order to have a chance at a playoff berth as they face off against a desperate, but hot, Chrome team in Hamilton.

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