Eric Law’s seven points, JD Colarusso’s 14 saves send Atlas to semifinals
By Katie McNulty | Aug 22, 2021
In their third meeting this season, it was Atlas who once again came out on top in a 13-9 win over the Cannons Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the quarterfinals.
Atlas had the No. 2 seed, while the Cannons had the No. 7 seed, but there was some question if this young Atlas team could come away with a win. After today, there were no questions.
Head coach Ben Rubeor, who is up for the Dick Edell Coach of the Year, has completely rebuilt this team and made them into a championship-contending team after finishing 1-4 last season.
Trevor Baptiste said there should be no question whether he wins the award.
“I think he’s coach of the year,” Baptiste said. “I think he’s earned that a very long time ago. I think us winning as a team is something we’re all thinking about and concentrating on….He brought family style to the team, and it’s working pretty well for us.”
Bryan Costabile gave the Bulls their first lead with 1:08 left in the first quarter, and they would never lose that lead from there. The Cannons didn’t hold a lead for very long, but they were still fighting back every time Atlas would take a multiple-goal lead.
With 16 seconds left in the third quarter, Paul Rabil launched a 2-pointer that was originally called a no-goal. Cannons head coach Sean Quirk challenged it and won, which cut their deficit to 10-9 with the third period coming to an end.
Baptiste quickly responded. He won the faceoff and passed it to Eric Law, who launched it into the back of the net to put them up two going into the final frame.
Both Baptiste and Law were a huge reason for Atlas coming away with a win. Law had seven points (3G, 4A), which put him second all-time in playoffs points behind John Grant Jr. Baptiste started the game off winning the first six faceoffs, and he ended the night winning 17-for-25.
The rookie Jeff Teat also had another impressive showing, finishing with four points (3G, 1A).
Shayne Jackson led the Cannons with four points.
The Atlas defense and JD Colarusso had the best performance of their life in the fourth quarter. They held the Cannons scoreless for the whole fourth quarter to hold onto the win.
Colarusso finished with 14 saves, and he is now 4-1 in his five starts. Colarusso was the backup to Jack Concannon, but when Concannon got hurt in week four, Colarusso stepped right in.
“What a tough position to be in,” said Atlas head coach Ben Rubeor. “It’s like being a backup quarterback and being asked to lead a team to the playoffs and a playoff win. Anyway, the kid is tough as nails and has battled to get here. I’ve never seen goalies take more hard shots than he and Alex Ready took last year in the bubble. I thought his toughness stood out then. It’s why I picked him up.”
The Cannons end their season with a record of 3-7, with multiple of their losses happening by one goal.
“Through this season, it was a lot," said Cannons head coach Sean Quirk. "I said many things to the team in the locker room just now, but the future is bright for this Cannons team… I sound like a broken record saying that week in and week out, but they never wavered of who they were as individuals, who our team was, what the culture was, what we stand for, playing gritty, playing tough and standing by one another… Going into next season, we have a tremendous amount to build off of.”
Atlas takes on Chaos in the semifinals in Philadelphia on September 5. The teams will battle it out for a ticket to the PLL Championship game.