Brown Piles on 5: Waterdogs over Chrome 14-9
By Quinn Magner | Jun 14, 2021
Trained to Dominate
Andy Copelan’s Waterdogs LC improved to 2-1 after their Atlanta sweep this past weekend with a convincing 14-9 win over Chrome (0-2). After the first three quarters of back-and-forth tallies, Hopkins alumna and PLL sharp-shooter Ryan Brown went off-leash lighting up the Chrome defense and finishing the Waterdogs’ Fifth Third Bank Stadium showdown with 5 goals on Sunday.
Though the first three quarters would have indicated otherwise, the Waterdogs pack could not be contained in the 4th quarter who proved that off-season offensive moves were what Copelan and his staff needed to take over during games this 2021 PLL season.
Copelan was transparent during the post-game press conference, and he showed that authenticity is a trait that will keep his team grounded as they discover more of their strengths this summer.
“We didn’t show our best Week 1, and I’m not convinced that we’re still at our best, but the name of the game is just ‘improvement.’ We have to be reflective of ourselves and address what went right and what went wrong then just continuing to build as the season goes on.”
Just 17 seconds into the game, Stony Brook alumna Ryland Rees tacked on the first goal with an absolute cannon from behind the 2-point arc, and the Waterdogs went up 2-0. It wasn’t long before Chrome attackman Colin Heacock stepped in with his left hand and rang in an overhand blast past Waterdogs keeper Dillon Ward to put Chrome on the board making the score 2-1 Waterdogs. From there, Brown’s onslaught began with a quick hop-step and underhand rip from up top that got past Chrome goalie John Galloway to put Waterdogs back on top 3-1. Galloway finished the day with 13 saves for Chrome, but it wasn’t enough to give head coach Tim Soudan’s offense what they needed to create more opportunities on the other side of the field on Sunday.
“You know, the whole idea is that the past is the past. All of these guys are professionals, they’ve been in these situations before, and they always reflect back on it. I think it’s just an important message, especially with all of these injuries we have and with all of the changes we’ll have to make to our lineup. It’s important for our guys to remember not to worry about the little things,” explained Soudan during the post-game press conference.
Chrome’s struggles seemed to partially stem from what looked like a lack of off-ball movement and general turnovers off of quick passes to teammates that mishandled from time to time. Chrome attackman Justin Guterding who finished the day with 2 goals and 1 assist on 3 shots seemed to be dodging from X constantly looking for feeds with his head up, drawing doubles, getting feeds in, but Chrome couldn’t always finish.
Former Syracuse All-American and Chrome captain Joel White made a handful of big-time transition plays at LSM between the lines, including a slick fourth quarter over-the-head check resulting in a turnover at midfield. Another highlight of White’s was assisting a 2-pointer in transition to close defender Mike Manley with 11 seconds left in the first quarter. His athletic plays weren’t enough to lift Chrome past the team in purple with the offensive weapons of Brown, Kieran McArdle, Ben Reeves and Mikie Schlosser – all who stepped up for Waterdogs in the absence of rookie attackman Michael Sowers who put away 2 high-flying goals in his PLL debut in Week 1 but was out with a head injury.
“I think these last games we did a lot better of a job with our spacing. When the ball’s moving and the guys are moving, it allows everybody to do their thing” said Brown. “In college, I never tried not to be confined to space. Like my offensive coordinator in college Bobby Benson always said, ‘You’re a lot harder to cover when you use 100 percent of the field versus 50 percent of the field to get open.’ I don’t always find myself behind the goal a ton, so I like to work from the left side to the right side of the field working off of screens, pops and picks, and it makes the defender’s job a lot more difficult if you’re not just one-dimensional.”
Brown continued to find those smidgens of open space for himself to set his feet and light it up throughout the remainder of the game, scoring an additional 4 goals from various places on the offensive side of the field. When #4 for Waterdogs pulls his stick back, it’s an extremely difficult shot to read based on how well the attackman hides the head of his stick behind him without telegraphing his shots. Galloway looked as though he had a handful of reads on Brown’s shots from the outside, but at the end of the day, Brown’s versatility in his different releases made it difficult for the Chrome keeper to smother his shots on goal.
As expected, Chrome midfielder and captain John Ranagan ran downhill on Waterdogs defense putting away one goal and tallying 1 assist, but individual efforts looked to be the M.O. for Soudan’s team.
“We have some tough and quality players on the field, we brought in some news guys like Kevin Rogers who comes in today and has a big goal. What we do in the next few weeks, and as long as we can keep working during the week and keep talking, I think we’ll be alright,” said Ranagan. “Listen, nobody’s making excuses for us. We just have to go out and play.”
After the end of the 3rd quarter, Waterdogs were up just 9-8 on Chrome. It was at the 10:33 mark in the fourth that midfielder Mikie Schlosser rocker-stepped, refusing to stray from his dominant hand, powered through the middle of Chrome’s defensive territory, and popped off a quick high-bouncer past Galloway. Schlosser’s resilience, bullying his way into the middle of the field was what jump-started the Waterdogs 5-goal run in the 4th, and last summer’s expansion team finished the bout 14-9. Multiple bones and corners were picked, and Copelan’s offense simply didn’t bite on any Chrome momentum during the first three quarters. The attack of Brown, Reeves and McArdle, who was moved to Waterdogs’ active roster before the game, were electric and remained in sync from the first to the last whistle.
Other Notable Stats
Chrome faceoff specialist Connor Farrell finished the day in Kennesaw with 15-of-25 faceoffs (60%) won. Jake Withers finished with just 10-of-25 faceoffs won and Zach Currier for Waterdogs also took 1 faceoff and lost the scrap to Farrell while giving Withers a breather at the stripe. Dillon Ward used his size to his advantage between the pipes for Waterdogs finishing the game with 7 saves and just 8 goals slipping by him (46.6% save percentage). Close defenseman Liam Byrnes held down the dog house causing 3 turnovers against Chrome as well.
Buckling Up for Week 3
Waterdogs have the opportunity to get a major win and improve to 3-1 over Archers LC during Week 3 of the PLL season. They’ll be paying under the lights in Baltimore on Hopkins’ very own Homewood Field on Saturday, June 25 at 8 PM ET. The matchup can be viewed on NBC Sports and Peacock, and Andy Copelan's offense will absolutely have their work cut out for them in what could certainly be one of the most gripping and high-scoring showdowns to date. You can check out Chrome when they go toe-to-toe with the undefeated Whipsnakes LC at 2:45 PM ET at Homewood on Sunday, June 26 as well.