Chaos knocks out Archers, 9-7

By Sarah Griffin | Sep 12, 2022

History repeated itself as the Chaos knocked the Archers out of the postseason for the third year in a row, with a 9-7 victory in the semifinals to send the reigning champs back to the title game to face the Waterdogs next Sunday.

Coming into Sunday’s contest, both teams emphasized the importance of coming out aggressive in the first quarter and it was the Chaos who did so, and carried that energy throughout the game to silence the typically high-scoring Archers.

Though the Archers got on the board first with Matt Moore’s opening goal, for the remainder of the first half, it was all Chaos.

Chris Cloutier’s no-look scoop shot got the party started for the Chaos, and from there on out, it was a stream of highlight-reel worthy goals for Andy Towers’ club.

The quarterback of the Chaos offense in Josh Byrne followed up Cloutier’s stunner with a SportsCenter-worthy goal of his own to make it 2-1 Chaos, and then Cloutier struck again for his second goal of the first.

Connor Fields got one back for the Archers to start the second quarter, but just like Moore’s opening goal, after that it was crickets from the Archers’ offense. 

That infamous pesky, scrappy Chaos defense cemented by Blaze Riorden in net neutralized the Archers seemingly every chance they had with the ball in the first half. Their offense was never able to get into a groove, especially with Riorden tracking every shot that came his way. The Archers recorded three shots on goal in the second quarter, and eight total in the first half. Riorden saved 6 of them for a 75% save percentage. 

Despite the little action on net for the Archers, entering halftime it was still just a one-possession game at 4-2 thanks to Cloutier’s third goal for the first-half hat trick. 

A “defensive slugfest,” in the opening half as Paul Carcaterra put it, Archers head coach Chris Bates said his team was lucky they were down by just one possession. 

“We couldn’t have played any worse in that first half and it’s still only a two-goal game,” he remarked.

With the Archers in desperate need of getting into a rhythm and the Chaos hoping to build on their lead, the third quarter continued to be a defensive showcase along with some sloppy play from both offenses until Kyle Jackson broke the scoring drought to make it 5-2 Chaos. 

After almost 19 minutes of scoreless play from the Archers, Marcus Holman got his team back on the board with the Archers’ much-needed first assisted goal of the game.

Short stick d-middie Tre Leclaire followed up Holman’s goal with one of his own, and suddenly it was a one-goal game again. For a brief moment, it felt as if the tides were turning for the Archers. However, in typical playoff Chaos fashion, they got the last word in. 

In the final minute of the quarter, both Mac O’Keefe and Jackson scored back-to-back to give the Chaos a three-goal lead entering the final 12 minutes of play. Any sort of confidence the Archers gained following Holman and Leclaire’s goals was quickly drained. 

A back and forth battle in the fourth, ultimately the Archers were never able to catch up. Of course, when you have Blaze Riorden in net, that usually seems to be the case when his opponents go down early, and especially when a majority of their shots on net came off the dodge. 

Riorden ended his afternoon with 13 saves on 21 shots for a 65% save percentage, including perhaps one of the most bizarre saves of all time, as the ball ended up in his shorts to prevent Tom Schreiber from bringing the Archers within one in the final minute of the game.

“A good day to have wet shorts I guess,” joked Riorden. 

In the end, the Chaos took down the Archers once again in a low-scoring battle supported by the expected stellar goaltending, domination from Max Adler at the stripe, and a box-style offense that leaves defenders on their toes.

“We’re going to keep our jerseys dirty, and we’re going to keep flying around…that’s what we call ‘Aos ball,” said Riorden.

The Chaos will defend their championship title next Sunday at 3:00 PM in Philadelphia against the Waterdogs on ABC and ESPN+.