Chanenchuk comes up clutch in 9-8 victory
With a minute remaining, the Whipsnakes defense made a huge stop and clear. Tied at 8-8, the two-time champions drained the clock for the last shot, putting the ball in Mike Chanenchuk’s (3G) stick.
“We wanted to try to get that last shot. To be honest they did a really good job playing that pick,” said Chanenchuk. “And I knew there was probably less than 10 seconds on the clock so I just had to turn the corner and get downhill and put one on net. Blaze [Riorden] played really well all game. For us to be able to put one in, they have to be right on the pipe.”
Chanenchuk swept to his right off the pick. Chaos pressed out against his adjacent outlets – so he re-dodged to his left and beat Blaze Riorden (13 saves, 59%) low.
“I really challenged Mike Chanenchuk at the end of last season,” said Whipsnakes LC head coach Jim Stagnitta. “I love Mike. I’ve been with him for a long time. And I’m just so proud of what he did today. He stepped up when we needed him. He made some plays today when we had some droughts on offense.”
Chanenchuk’s game-winner capped off a Whipsnakes comeback led by the defense. Down 6-4 at halftime after a couple lapses in transition, the Whipsnakes tightened up defensively. They didn’t allow a shot-on-goal in the third quarter – and only allowed two goals in the entire second half.
Goalie Kyle Bernlohr made 8 saves in his return to the starting role for the Whipsnakes. None were bigger than this fourth quarter save.
It was an ugly win, as the Whipsnakes offense struggled to run through Jack Rowlett, Jarrod Neumann, and the Chaos LC defense. The reigning champs are still trying to find the right offensive pieces. Mac O’Keefe (1G, 1T) shot well; the rest of the team had more turnovers (16) than shots (15).
Head coach Andy Towers’ Chaos will look to bounce back against Archers LC on Friday night at 8:45PM ET in Charlotte. The Whipsnakes are on to a semifinal rematch against Waterdogs LC on Saturday night at 8:45PM ET.