The Weekend Preview: HOF Weekend on Long Island

By Josh Schafer | Jun 17, 2022

Imagine filming your life from the moment college ended. Not the beach trips with friends or the summer road trip, but the real stuff. The time you accepted your first job. The moment you’re promoted and the moment after that when you break off on your own and start something new.

Starting in 2009, Paul Rabil did just that. On Wednesday, I attended the Fate Of A Sport premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film explores the start of the Premier Lacrosse League, from the rise of Rabil himself to the joint work with his brother Mike in founding the league.

The film is raw. It’s raw footage of Rabil lying on his living room floor convincing players to come to the PLL. It’s raw moments, in the gallows of stadiums discussing an offer to sell the PLL back to the MLL. It’s raw tears as two brothers embrace moments after the ESPN+ broadcast deal is signed.

From Jeffrey Wright and Adam Silver to Paul Carcaterra and Scott Rodgers, the cast of characters in the film has something for a new lacrosse fan or an old one. It offers early dissenting opinions on the league and reveals unedited moments of players challenging Rabil out in the locker room.

It’s the most detailed look at the PLL yet, and it will be coming to your home theater soon. Stay tuned for details.

Here’s who I’m rolling with for Player Royale this week followed by a breakdown of the Week 3 matchups:

  • Jeff Teat, A, Atlas LC
  • Asher Nolting, M, Cannons LC
  • Michael Manley, D, Chrome LC
  • Connor Farrell, FO, Chrome LC
  • Adam Ghitelman, G, Archers LC

Josh Schafer

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Waterdogs LC vs. Chrome LC

Friday, June 17 at 6:00 p.m. ET | ESPN+ 

All-time series: Waterdogs lead 2-0

Stat to know: 54%

Chrome’s defensive possessions are ending in turnovers more than half of the time. This doesn’t explicitly mean that Chrome forces a turnover one out of every two times down the field, as last week’s Redwoods’ mistakes certainly contributed to this number. But still, the defense has been dominant. Chrome’s 54% is roughly 10% better than six of the other seven PLL teams. Chrome has also allowed the fewest goals (13) of any team through three games.

Player Royale to consider: Chrome defender Michael Manley

Sticking with the theme, why not pick a Chrome defender this week. Manley is second in the PLL with three caused turnovers, has scooped six groundballs and even tallied a point.

Why Waterdogs: The Dogs are 0-2 but showed solid fight last week nearly coming back to beat the Whips in an eventual one-point loss. In a game where the Waterdogs won just 15% of faceoffs, playing the Whips that tight is almost enough of a reason to pick them this week. It shows the team clicked in other facets of the game and without an injured Jake Withers leaving the Waterdogs empty at the stripe, a few extra possessions could’ve changed the game. These two teams lead the league in shots created off a turnover. If the Waterdogs can win that battle on Friday, it might decide the game.

Why Chrome: As mentioned above, Chrome’s defense has been top notch through the first two games. With a Waterdogs offense prone to extended scoring droughts, it’s not the best matchup for the Dogs. Add in the absence of Withers for the Waterdogs, and Chrome’s Connor Farrell likely has the advantage at the stripe as well. A final advanced metric: Chrome’s two best shooting areas are the Doorstep and high middle of the field. 14 of its 21 1-point goals have come in those areas. Those spots are the Waterdogs two worst areas of the field.

The pick: Chrome’s defense has been too strong to pick against. Couple that with Connor Farrell’s favorable matchup, and it should be a good night for the boys in the chrome domes.

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Atlas LC vs. Whipsnakes LC

Friday, June 17 at 8:45 p.m. ET | ESPN+

All-time series: Whipsnakes lead, 4-0

Stat to know: 52.5% 

No team scores more on assisted opportunities than Atlas. At 52.5%, Atlas is finishing on assisted opportunities at 12% better clip than the next closest club. The family-style offense is discussed frequently, but thus far Atlas is living up to it. Many of those goals come during fast break opportunities (Atlas leads the league in transition goals) when the ball whips around quickly. Watch to see if Joe Nardella and the Whips faceoff unit can limit some quick hitters for the Bulls.

Why Whipsnakes: This feels like it’s going to be a rock fight and the Whipsnakes almost always win those kinds of games, including two already this season. Nardella proposes a formidable matchup for Atlas faceoff Trevor Baptiste and negates and advantage there. The goalie battle will likely be relatively even as well. This game is won in the middle of the field with who can get their team the ball more as both teams are littered with finishers on the front end. If Whipsnakes can limit Atlas transition and slow the game down, they can outlast the young bulls.

Why Atlas: Atlas offense has looked unstoppable through two games. The Bulls lead the league in offensive efficiency and have buried three two-pointers while the Whipsnakes haven’t scored from beyond the arc yet. If this game becomes a scoring contest, Atlas could run away with it. With Jeff Teat, Eric Law and Chris Gray at attack, the Whipsnakes likely don’t have the offensive firepower to keep up until Zed Williams returns.

The pick: Until we see otherwise, Atlas is too hot to pick against.

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Cannons LC vs. Archers LC

Saturday, June 18 at 1 p.m. ET | ABC

All-time series: Cannons lead, 1-0

Stat to know: 31.4%

The Archers shoot better without an assist than any team in the PLL. The Archers shoot 31.4% on unassisted opportunities. While they score less than half of their goals without an assist and don’t rely solely on isolation ball too often, it’s worth noting the offensive players such as rookie Matt Moore have found ways to create shots for themselves when needed.

Player Royale to consider: Archers goalie Adam Ghitelman

Full disclosure, I needed a tier 3 player and wanted to test out finding value at the goalie position. But against a Cannons offense that’s been OK, not great, I think Ghitleman can tally some saves and hold the offense to a relatively low total. Maybe he’ll score! 

Why the Cannons: Cannons offense can play the two-man game well, leading the league with seven goals in the category. Quick picks and slips could help the Cannons find space for shots against a tight Archers defense. Defensively the Cannons,  Nick Marrocco leads the league in saves with 32. This of course means the Cannons probably haven’t had the ball as much as they’d like or limited shots. But, if they can win possession a few extra times on Saturday, Marrocco’s strong play could take over a close game.

Why the Archers: For starters, there’s a chance Grant Ament is back which would bring a big boost to the Archers offense. But the Archers have the defensive advantage here as well. If Lyle Thompson can play, Graham Hossack likely draws that matchup. While players don’t often stop Thompson, Hossack is a good bet to at least slow him down. Add on to that Thompson is banged up. We saw Cannons offense struggle last week without Thompson, Archers defense, which led the league in efficiency last year, could hamstring a short-handed Cannons offense.

The pick: The Archers win the defensive battle here and score enough on offense with or without Ament to win.

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Redwoods LC vs. Chaos LC

Saturday, June 18 at 4:00 p.m. ET | ESPN+

All-time series: Tied 2-2

Stat to know: 60%

Redwoods offensive possessions have ended in a turnover 60% of the time. It’s the highest mark in the league, and stands 13% higher than the next closest team. I noted last week, the Redwoods needed to be better offensively. Then they came out and scored three goals. There’s something off chemistry wise and it’s showing through errant passes and dropped balls. With a few new additions to the midfield lineup this week, including Sergio Salcido who was traded by the Redwoods in 2020, the ‘Woods are searching for a spark.

Player Royale to consider: Redwoods FO TD Ierlan

I didn’t pick a player from this game. But I like Ierlan’s matchup against Chaos. As a tier 2 player, there’s potentially value in Ierlan this week if you want to bet on a bounceback performance for one of the most talented faceoff specialists in the world.

Why the Redwoods: It’s hard to pull much from last week’s loss as nearly every facet of the game could’ve been better. But the Redwoods still have talent at the faceoff stripe in TD Ierlan, one of the best players of the last decade in Rob Pannell and a defense that relatively held serve the first two weeks despite a lack of scoring. This game comes down to if the Redwoods can play as a team and spread the ball around successfully.

Why Chaos: Redwoods hasn’t scored a fast break goal all year. They’ve only taken four fast break shots. If Chaos can make this game any hint of a track meet, they could be able to run away with it. In a game between the two worst offenses in the league, the goalie matchup could prove critical.

The pick: Redwoods looked too disheveled to be the pick this week. I’m rolling with Riorden in cage.