Rookie Brian Minicus joins in on the offensive fun (Photo courtesy of Zach Rilley).

How Brian Minicus’s Speed Gives Chaos a New Gear

By Daniel May

Jul 6, 2023

When Brian Minicus’ name was called by Andy Towers with the 15th overall selection, it wasn’t a pick  that many suspected given his two-handed play style.

Chaos’s offensive identity is centered around crafty one-handed players who thrive in tight spaces with their sticks towards the inside. Since their 2021 Championship, Chaos has had a consistent formula: dress four righties and lefties each game, tossing out three each possession. 

But after falling short in the 2022 title game and being held to under 10 goals in 2-of-3 playoffs games, change was necessary. Chaos shot 24.8% unassisted as a team in ‘22; they needed someone who can run by their defender to create their own shot and, in turn, draw slides.

Diversifying the offense became a priority. 

“I spoke with Coach Panetta at the draft to bring in a two-handed dodger above and behind the cage,” said Coach Towers. Adding a player like Minicus who thrives as a two-handed dodger was how they were going to address it.” 

Minicus thrives using his speed when dodging and is a lethal two-handed threat who can create opportunities. When you throw him into their offense, which is riddled with off-ball finishers who will find space on the inside, Minicus can draw slides and open up space for them to cut. 

Whether he dodges from above or behind the cage, teams have to be prepared to slide and rotate, which also opens up backside secondary dodges. His dodging ability opens up more opportunities for himself and teammates.

No longer do they have to rely on the two man game to initiate all of their offense, it gives another look with an X dodging threat and forces teams to change the approach of how they defend them. 

Just because they’ve added Minicus, doesn’t mean everything they’ve done in the past is done with, there’s just a new wrinkle.

“Certainly we’re going to continue to utilize schemes that we built our roster for offensively. But we were conscious about trying to add some dangerous dodgers that can beat you to either side,” said Towers. 

What makes him special: speed

Minicus stands out because of his ability as a two-handed initiator. What allows him to express that so effectively is his athleticism and speed.  

“His athleticism is undeniable,” said Towers. 

His speed is on full display when he attacks his matchups along with his lateral quickness.

“His ability to beat guys early in the dodge is something that makes us dynamic at the end of possessions,” said Towers.

Minicus has a quick first step and is able to accelerate out of a simple double shuffle split dodge. It takes him only a few steps to get the shot off and his defender can’t get enough contact to throw him off his line. Minicus is just too fast.

This is a coach’s dream when coaching dodging. 

Minicus’ straight-line speed allows him to make one quick move and go, providing a step on his defender. Once he gets above the cage, it’s so easy for him to find Ryan Smith off-ball given his uncanny ability to get open inside.  

His speed is a game changer that leads to a more dynamic offense.

Minicus is a matchup problem!

“We ran him out of the box thinking he could get a short stick,” said Towers.

But the word got out after his strong start, and it was inevitable he would be covered by a pole week three against the Archers.

That led to his true breakout game, where he had 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) when playing his natural position at X.

“He can create off the dodge without picks and slips, so he becomes a matchup problem,” said Towers.

Chaos shot 6-for-14 when initiating from X week three against the Archers.

There’s just nothing you can do here. The rest of the Chaos offense does such a great job of getting high to give Minicus endless space to attack.

With that much room to dissect his matchup, Minicus is able to put his defender in a blender. His ability to attack to either hand opens up the whole field, combined with his speed, makes him difficult to contain. 

Minicus has provided something the Chaos has never had in their 5 year existence - a two-handed matchup nightmare from X.

How Minicus takes the pressure off Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne

Without Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne on Opening Weekend, we all got a glimpse into what Minicus’ could do as a main initiator. Leading the league in touches week one against the Waterdogs with 72.

“One of the most important ways [Minicus impacts the offense] is that it takes a lot of pressure off Dhane and Josh at the end of shot clocks and minimizes the beating those two takes as dodgers,” said Towers.

With Minicus providing a dodging presence from X, the team has another strong initiator to look to. 

As Coach Towers mentioned, with the amount that the Chaos offense has relied on Byrne and Smith in the past to be dodgers, it takes a physical toll. 

Adding Minicus takes away some of that burden, but it also highlights other areas of their game.

With a ton of Canadian off-ball aficionados on the roster, Minicus will find them when they get open – it’s inevitable. Now Byrne and Smith can express that area of that game more often.

In this goal against the Archers, this is a seamless Chaos offense.

Slow dodge two-man game on the wing with a Nations type cut from Byrne. The righties on the backside gets outside the net to create space, leaving the Archers defenders covering the two-man game on an island. Ryan Smith picks Byrne’s defender off the slip. Once the ball gets to Minicus he’s able to find an open Byrne streaking down the middle.

Great finish, and most importantly, everyone is working together. 

Minicus gives them that ability to use X and let Byrne and Smith be cutters.

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