SHIPSNAKES: Whipsnakes dramatic 10-goal run, comeback highlights back-to-back titles
By Marisa Ingemi | Aug 9, 2020
The Whipsnakes didn’t go undefeated for nothing.
The defending champions faced a scare until it mattered most on Sunday, and then they scored four goals within a minute.
That was just a part of their 10-goal run in the fourth quarter en route to a 12-6 championship win over the upstart Chaos.
For the second straight season, the Whipsnakes are the PLL champions, and it didn’t come easy, though the fourth frame may have looked it; down 6-3 to Chaos entering the fourth, Zed Williams and Jay Carlson went off -- with a little help from Joe Nardella -- to erase that deficit.
Nardella won at a 55 percent clip and dominated in the fourth quarter to jumpstart the Whips offense, led by six goals from Williams.
Named for the chaotic energy that can rear its head in any lacrosse game, Chaos earned their moniker early.
The Whipsnakes opened as they have so many times; taking the lead, and doubling it. First, it was Mike Chanenchuk off a league-leading 16th assist from Matt Rambo, then Zed Williams found the scoreboard.
After that, it got a bit chaotic.
Riorden shut down the Whips while his squad netted four goals in a row, starting with Josh Byrne sneaking a shot behind the Whipsnakes’ Kyle Bernlohr.
Austin Staats tied the game, then Curtis Dickson connected with Miles Thompson down low to give Chaos their first lead, expanded upon by Byrne, who rifled in a shot following a Whipsnakes defensive breakdown.
Still holding the Whips off the board since early in the first quarter, Chaos snatched the early momentum of the second half.
Kevin Buchanan -- in his last PLL contest after announcing his retirement will occur following this season -- fired in the fifth Chaos goal of the contest to jump ahead 5-2.
Following a big Riorden stop right at the doorstep, Dhane Smith streaked down from the two-point ark and dunked in the sixth Chaos tally.
Brad Smith finally closed the gap with the first Whips goal in 27 minutes of game clock to give them their third score late in the third quarter.
Riorden concluded the third with another stuff save on Jay Carlson from the crease, preserving the three-goal lead for the fourth quarter.
Then the Whipsnakes emerged.
John Haus tallied early in the final quarter, then Joe Nardella fed Williams to make it a one-goal lead again.
Williams did Williams things with a twisted shot across his body to beat Riorden as the Whips score three goals in a matter of 31 seconds.
Jay Carlson had to join in at some point, and so he did with the go-ahead tally on a pass from X, and from there, the Whipsnakes never looked back.
Williams added two more just for fun, making it a three-goal contest following seven straight goals. Matt Rambo buried the eighth in a row following a caused turnover on the other end of the field. Williams scored his sixth goal of the game -- and fifth of the fourth quarter -- with less than three minutes to go.
Joe LoCascio made it an even 10 consecutive goals with 1:16 left.
Bernlohr made 15 saves, stopping 71 percent of the Chaos shots to keep the Whipsnakes in the contest.
The Whipsnakes won every game of the tournament, sweeping group play before winning their two playoff contests. They averaged nearly 14 goals per game -- far and away the most in the league -- en route to winning their second title in as many years.