Chaos get first win of season; hand Cannons fourth straight loss

By Austin Owens | Jul 2, 2022

In what looked to be a must-win game for Chaos on Saturday night, the defending champions were able to take care of business, beating the Cannons 13-11 at TCO Stadium for their first win of 2022.

With nearly their entire compliment back in the fold for this contest, Chaos was able to jump out to an early lead, outsourcing the Cannons 5-1 in the first quarter off the strength of a pair of goals from Josh Byrne and markers from Kyle Jackson, Chris Cloutier, and Jerry Ragonese

Ragonese was filling in for Tommy Kelly, who wasn’t able to make the trip to Minnesota due to a last-minute emergency. The 35-year-old was able to battle in the first, however, he would be forced out of the game with a lower-body injury sustained while scoring his first career goal.

That left Chaos without a dedicated draw man at the stripe while the Cannons were able to alternate between Stephen Kelly and Alex Woodall

As a result, Chaos went just 3-for-16 on face-offs in the first half. However, despite the lopsided face-off totals, the long pole duo of CJ Costabile and Jack Rowlett were able to scrum draws and make life a little harder on the Cannons. 

Despite the extra touches for the offense, the Cannons were hard-pressed to solve reigning Blaze Riorden, who turned away 14 shots in the first half and 20 in the game. 

“It’s tough to sit around for a week after losing a game and after losing the amount that we’ve lost,” Riorden said of last week’s loss. “It was important for us to take the right steps forward and put ourselves in a position to control our own destiny. After this break, it’s a four-week sprint and we have to continue to put wins together in order to find a spot in the playoffs and make another run.”

In the third quarter, Rowlett was able to pop the ball out and get downfield in transition, where he let a massive shot go for his first goal of the season. He was followed by another face-off goal from Costabile later in the third. 

The offense was able to take advantage of the looks they did get and the defense put in arguably their best performance of the season. 

“I credit the unselfishness,” Chaos head coach Andy Towers said following the contest. “They’re concerned about us playing as a group on the defensive end, and on the offensive end, guys aren’t concerned with who’s scoring or who’s on the power play and who’s not. They’re concerned with winning. 

“They understand that our greatest chance to win – in a league where wins are really hard to come by – is having a foundation of unselfishness and fusing that together with intensity and doing that for four quarters. And today, I think we did that. I think we were able to take control of our season with this win. And even though we’re 1-4, we’ve got a few other teams with the same record. We’re just getting started.”

The Cannons’ offense was also hindered to a degree, as Lyle Thompson missed time in the early goings after he appeared to tweak something after a shot attempt. 

Lyle said following the game that it affected his ability to dodge and carry the ball as he usually does.

“I took more of an off-ball role and did what I could for the team. Obviously, I just wanted to step on the field and help where I could, take advice from the coaches, and just be there for the guys,” Thompson said following the game. “I think Dren (Ryan Drenner) really stepped up…a lot of the guys stepped up. But it’s good that we have a little bit of a break here so that we have a few weeks to get healthy.”

Drenner was able to get the Cannons within a goal to end the third before scoring the tying goal to open the final frame. However, Chaos answered with a pair of goals from Byrne and Dhane Smith that would prove to be the difference. 

The Cannons were down by just a single score with 4:35 to play, but they couldn’t find the goals to close the gap down the stretch, dropping their fourth consecutive game in the process.

Following the loss, head coach Sean Quirk said that he, along with the leaders of the Cannons, spoke with the team in the locker room regarding their recent slide. 

“The bottom line is that we have to put 48 minutes together,” Quirk said. “We are where we are right now because we’ve just got to continue to make those plays throughout 48 minutes, and that’s where we’re coming up a little bit short. Our guys are committed to each other and this team, and they’re ready to get to work these next three weeks to individually and collectively work and hold each other accountable. We can be better and that goes for the coaches as well.”

Chaos will be back in action on July 23 when they face off with the Whipsnakes in Fairfield, CT. 

The Cannons will try to avoid their fifth straight defeat when they take on the Archers on July 24.