Chaos ousts second-seeded Chrome in 11-3 victory

By Lauren Merola | Sep 5, 2022

Chaos is at it again.

Josh Byrne posted six points (3G, 3A) in Chaos’ 11-3 victory over Chrome at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.

Byrne opened the second quarter by finding twine and burying Chaos’ fourth – and his back-to-back – goal.

Chaos came into the playoffs with 2.8% of fans picking them to win the championship. Similar to their 2021 playoff run, where they had 3.2% chose Chaos, they defied the odds.

With the loss, Chrome has yet to win a playoff game in club history.

Chaos outplayed Chrome on both ends of the field and on the ground. Chaos caused five turnovers to Chrome’s three and took 27 shots on goal compared to Chrome’s 19. Chrome captain Jordan MacIntosh said nothing went Chrome’s way.

“Little tiny things started to cascade and snowball over the game,” MacIntosh said. “We win a faceoff, but bump into a ref and Chaos picks the ball up. We finally get a look but hit a post or we shoot one and Blaze [Riorden] makes an amazing save. It felt like every time we started to get a little something going, there was something that killed us... We hit the post in the very first possession, Chaos goes down and scores. It was one of those days when nothing went right. It was the worst day for that to happen, unfortunately.”

During the regular season, Chrome averaged 12 goals per game while allowing 10.2 and Chaos averaged 10.1 while allowing 12.6. In the quarterfinal matchup, Chrome scored nine goals less than their season average.

“If you told me Chaos was only going to score 11 goals this game, I would’ve said we were going to win,” Chrome coach Tim Soudan said. “We just could not get the offensive train going.”

Logan Wisnauskas met net twice and Justin Anderson once for Chrome.

Chrome’s offense went up against a well-prepared Chaos defense.

[Brendan] Nichtern’s their quarterback at X. Chrome wants to draw a slide and get the ball to Nichtern, where he’s then going to throw it to Wisnauskas to initiate,” Riorden said. “We knew MacIntosh was an off-ball guy who’d turn your head. We focused on what we called the ‘knowns’ and shutting down the ‘knowns’ and making Chrome earn it another way.”

Chaos’ offense also had the rundown on Chrome’s defense and took advantage of one-on-one matchups wherever possible.

“Chrome was trying not to slide as much as possible, which is characteristic of Chrome’s defense,” Byrne said.

Riorden and Sean Sconone both made 15 saves. Riorden saved 83% and Sconone saved 58% of shots.

Challen Rogers had a hat trick for Chaos. Chase Fraser put in two goals while Dhane Smith, CJ Costabile and Mac O’Keefe all scored one.

On the ground, Chaos grabbed 23 ground balls to Chrome’s 21.

“Ultimately, outside of scoring more goals than the other team, that’s the statistic every team is trying to win, and it’s not lost on us coming into the game that ground balls measure toughness,” Chaos coach Andy Towers said. “The Chrome team led the league in ground balls. They have a claim to being the toughest team out there. It was going to take everything we had, and it did.”

Ground ball wins started on the wings. Chaos’ wings played aggressively during faceoffs and focused on putting pressure on Connor Farrell right off the whistle.

Max Adler won 11 faceoffs compared to Farrell’s six. Nearly every faceoff turned into a battle on the ground. During Week 9 in Denver, Chrome out-hustled Chaos, grabbing 42 ground balls to Chaos’ 22 in Chrome’s 13-9 victory.

“We knew we had to come out and make a concentrated effort because if we went through the motions, Chrome would beat us off the ground again like they did in Denver,” Towers said.

Chrome is eliminated from the playoffs but solidified a spot in the 2023 Championship Series with their 7-3 regular-season record. Chrome looks to win the sixes tournament come February.

Chaos turns to the semifinals, taking on the Archers in a third-straight postseason matchup in Washington D.C., where Chaos won the 2021 PLL Championship, on Sept. 8.