Chrome defeats Atlas in Championship Series Finale, 24-23, on late-game comeback
By Lauren Merola | Feb 26, 2023
The Chromeback is complete, and it comes with champagne.
Dylan Molloy posted seven points, netting one goal and three two-bombs in Chrome’s narrow 24-23 victory over Atlas in the Premier Lacrosse League Championship Series finale at The St. James in Springfield, Va. on Sunday.
With 5:15 left to play, Molloy met net for two points to tie the game at 20. He scored again 30 seconds later to give Chrome its first lead of the day. Two more goals from Colin Heacock and Gibson Smith IV set Chrome on a six-point run and three-point lead.
Atlas attacker Jake Carraway stopped the bleeding, scoring back-to-back goals to tie the game at 23 with under two minutes to play. Chrome midfielder Justin Anderson stole the lead back near the one-minute mark and Chrome ran the clock down to victory.
With the win, the third-seeded Chrome claimed the first-ever Championship Series Cup and the $120,000 prize purse. It is the cub’s first championship of any kind since the inception of the PLL in 2019.
“I’ve always kind of felt like we’re the underdog,” Anderson said on Feb. 17. “Even last year, I thought we had a very good team and we didn’t play our best in the playoffs. Now, looking at the Champ Series, I feel like we’re the underdog. I think that’s good. I love playing with a chip on my shoulder. The guys on our team love playing with a chip on our shoulder. The expectation in our locker room is high whereas other people aren’t holding us to that high standard.”
Chrome relied on its defense to shut down Atlas, which nailed 33 two-pointers, averaging 8.25 per game, coming into the championship. Atlas also averaged 29.75 points against opponents ahead of the finale.
Against Chrome, Atlas scored 23 points and only five two-balls.
“It was a cool experience, but I think I’m done with [defense] after this,” Molloy joked.
Goalie Sean Sconone — the bedrock of Chrome’s defense — started getting hot toward the end of the second quarter, recording 15 saves (45.5%) and two assists on the day.
Teamwork at it's Finest 🤝 https://t.co/LBAFOXjTtt pic.twitter.com/EQZIq0arTJ— Chrome Lacrosse Club (@PLLChrome) February 26, 2023
For Atlas, goalie Jack Concannon made 10 saves (32.3%). Midfielder Dan Bucaro (4G, 1A), Romar Dennis (1G, 2T, 1A) and Carraway (2G, 1T, 1A) each tallied five points.
Dennis leaves The St. James having buried 15 two-point goals and four singles to post a tournament-high 34 scoring points and capture the Golden Stick Award.
After being sidelined as a healthy scratch for a few games in 2022, Dennis said he wanted to prove to his team and coaches that he belonged in the lineup for every game in 2023. Looking at Dennis’ Championship Series performance, Atlas interim head coach Steven Brooks said Dennis “absolutely, 100%” deserves to.
“Romar’s dedication to the game is above and beyond and I think the biggest thing you don’t realize is his passion… Brooks said. “He showed [Sunday] how much of a threat he is. His level of passion and care about this game goes a long way and the guys see it.”
In the first quarter, Atlas jumped out to a 7-3 lead while playing a fast-paced, breakaway-reliant game. Chrome started pressuring out and taking away settled shots beyond the arc, dictating more of the second quarter. It slowed down the game with a full-field press and unhurried use of the shot clock.
Atlas headed into halftime with a 14-13 lead, despite taking fewer shots than Chrome.
“We were right where we needed to be [at half],” Chrome acting head coach Jacques Monte said. “We didn’t put some balls in the net which we could’ve. I thought the pace was going to slow down as the game went on, we communicated that to the guys… Atlas can shoot it from anywhere and you have to get out and play them and that’s what our guys did, they got out and played them and took away space.”
The 2023 season opens up in June in Albany.