Atlas vs. Archers: Matchup Preview
By Josh Schafer | Jul 26, 2020
Following a win on Sunday, the Atlas will match up with the Archers on Monday at 9:30 p.m ET on NBCSN. The Archers begin their 2020 campaign on Monday, while the Atlas enter Monday’s game following a comeback, 11-10, victory over the Waterdogs on Sunday.
Last season, the Archers won the series 2-1, scoring a combined 52 goals to the Atlas’ 31 across three games. With the addition of Grant Ament at attack for the Archers and Rob Pannell for the Atlas, Monday’s game will likely be a high scoring affair once again.
Grant Ament, the first pick in the 2020 College Draft, will make his PLL debut against the Atlas. Ament graduated from Penn State this May after his senior season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ament collected All-American honors three times at Penn State. While with the Nittany Lions, he averaged 3.48 assists per game and totaled 284 points in 54 games.
The Atlas will also bring their own new attackman to the first 2020 matchup between the two teams. Rob Pannell, who joined the Atlas via the Entry Draft this spring, pumped in four points on Sunday against the Waterdogs and will play his first game against the Archers on Monday. In what’s likely to be an offensive battle, whoever can contribute more offensively, the 30-year-old veteran or the rookie could decide the game.
The Atlas escaped their first matchup of the season with a subpar performance from faceoff specialist, Trevor Baptiste against the Waterdogs. Baptiste, last year’s PLL winner in faceoff percentage, won just 46 percent of his faceoffs in the Atlas’ Championship Series opener.
Last year, the Atlas dominated the Archers in faceoffs through two games but lost 74% of their faceoffs in the final game of the year. That outcome at the stripe resulted in a 25-7 Archers win, although Baptiste did not feature for Atlas that day.
This season, the Archers return both Stephen Kelly and Brendan Fowler at the stripe. If the Archers can utilize two faceoff specialists to grind out Baptiste in the same way the Waterdogs did, the added possessions could add up.
An Atlas win could propel them into the immediate conversation for a top seed in the Championship Series. With four games during the group play series, two early wins for the Atlas would likely launch them into a top-three position headed into the elimination rounds.
For the Archers, this game is rather straightforward. It’s the first game of a long series and starting off with a win sets a good tone.