Chaos Wreak Havoc Early, Trounce Chrome 14-12
By Quinn Magner | Aug 3, 2021
Well, there you have it: Chaos playmaker Josh Byrne cashed in and and helped propel head coach Andy Tower’s club past Chrome in Colorado Springs in a dominating offensive performance. Chaos, who started the 2021 season 0-3, improved to 3-4 on Sunday, and after going up on Chrome 3-0 within the first four minutes, Byrne and company never really looked back.
Reign of Riorden
Blaze Riorden once again solidified himself as one of the most threatening goaltenders to have to shoot on in the league. It’s been said time and time again that it’s far more difficult to stick one by a lefty, but on Sunday, it wasn’t just Riorden being a lefty keeper that frustrated Chrome’s offense with the likes of Kevin Rogers, Jackson Morrill, Colin Heacock and Justin Anderson. Riorden looked confident and patient as he stepped aggressively to every shot slung his way, and his intentional, fluid technique in cage earned him 20 impressive saves.
“At the end of the day, the 19 men who are elected to come and put on this uniform--we expect the same results, and that’s to win,” Riorden proclaimed after the win. “I don’t want to say that we’re peaking because the best has yet to come, but it’s a step in the right direction, and that’s all I can ask for.”
Riorden being hot early allowed Chaos’ offense to outscore Chrome’s 7-2 by the end of the first quarter. After Rogers, a rookie from High Point, took advantage of a short stick situation, drove down the lane with his right hand and stuck Chrome’s first goal over Riorden’s shoulder, the Chaos goaltender brushed it off and had the entire Chrome offense’s number through the final whistle. After that opening Chrome goal, it was Riorden who stepped across the goal mouth making a cross-crease high-to-low stop between his legs on a streaking Ned Crotty during a Chrome fast break. That point-blank stop seemed to mark the start of Riorden’s winning, mental chess match between him and the Chrome offense. His outlets sparked major moments for Chaos including the first quarter 2-point goal at the 1:27 mark by LSM CJ Costabile that put Tower’s club up 5-1, suppressing Chrome’s first half chances as making the match-up close.
A hot goalie can single-handedly win a lacrosse game. Riorden’s 20-save performance was certainly the defensive factor for Chaos that pushed them into the ‘W’ column. On the other hand, Chase Fraser, Dhane Smith, Chris Cloutier and, of course, Byrne were just a few of the offensive weapons that really got the ball rolling for the boys in red on Sunday.
Byrne and the Boys
Of course CJ Costabile’s absolute cannon from the 2-point arc in the first quarter set the tone for the Chaos offense on Sunday. That said, it was Byrne and Cloutier who combined for 50 percent of the offense’s goals with 7 as Smith, Tanner Cook and Mac O’Keefe each put away one on Galloway and the Chrome defense who couldn’t catch a break. Chrome’s Dylan Molloy was left alone to walk in, throw a few quick but hesitant box fakes and stick one past Riorden with 19 seconds remaining in the second quarter to make the score a distant 9-4 with Chaos on top.
It only took six seconds for Chaos to shut down any potential run from Chrome leading into the half after Molloy’s goal that looked as though it would be the one that would close the first half. Chaos faceoff man Max Adler pushed the ball forward off the stripe for a quick fast break and dished it to Byrne who got off a quick overhand rip between the sweatpants of Galloway as he was just a millisecond too late to smother the shot.
Cloutier would run away with this third goal of the afternoon with 4:10 left in the 3rd quarter when he got a quick step on Chrome defenseman Mike Manley behind the goal, took his stick in his right, sprinted around GLE and and made a Sports Center-worthy diving, backhanded finish on Galloway’s far pipe, making the score 11-6. Chrome would produce, going 1-1 on power plays, but it was truly the general, confident ball movement of Chaos’ in-sync attack along with the weight room physicality at the midfield behind Smith and Cook that left Chrome’s defense seemingly frazzled.
With 3:12 left in the fourth quarter, rookie midfielder and UNC pick-up Justin Anderson rolled back to his left with Jarrod Neumann on his trail, leaped and fired off an off-stick-high bullet that hit off of Riorden’s stick and into the back of the net. With the score 14-11 with three minutes remaining, Chrome’s Rogers was being smothered by Chaos captain and defensive midfielder Mark Glicini who was thoroughly boxing the rookie out. Glicini caught Rogers with a clean wrap check, but Rogers pulled away, fading behind the goal only to draw Chaos’ Neumann. The quick slide and double-team left Molloy alone under the 2-point arc who caught the pass from Rogers and put away an overhand goal to bring Chrome within two.
As time expired, the momentum of head coach Tim Soudan’s 2-6 club wasn’t enough to bring the game closer with the time allotted.
What Week 8 Means for Both Teams
Week 8 of the 2021 PLL season will be hosted at the University of Albany, and at 8:30 PM ET on Friday, August 13, Chaos have another monumental opportunity under the lights when they take on Archers who sit at 4-3.
Chrome sit in last place of the eight teams and will challenge another 2-6 team in Cannons the following night at 7 PM ET in a win-to-get-in game.
“This is a team that’s really frustrated because we know we’re better, and to dig yourself a gigantic hole at the beginning of the game... it’s tough to get out,” said Coach Soudan after the loss. “We knew how important this game was to get to the postseason, and we just came out a little--we didn’t execute during the game. But there’s still a chance.”