Top takeaways as Redwoods rally past Cannons, Atlas rout Outlaws

By PLL Beat Writers | Jul 6, 2024

California Redwoods 9, Boston Cannons 7

Jerome Taylor: Redwoods overcome the Cannons and a drought for their first win

It was a second-half refrain that has become all too familiar to Redwoods fans – a 10-minute-plus scoring drought. 

During that time, the Cannons got out to a 7-5 lead to start the fourth quarter. However, unlike weeks prior, the Woods offense flipped a switch, and dare I say, rolled to a 9-7 victory for their first win of the year. 

On the defensive end, they ended the game on a high note, producing a 16-minute scoring drought of their own to seal the Woods' first dub.   

Jack Kelly put up a monster performance, making 13 saves (65%), and was a brick wall behind an all-around stout defensive effort. Specifically, Chris Fake did a great job matching Asher Nolting’s force one-on-one, which allowed the Woods defense to stay home and limited Nolting’s ability to carve them up as a passer. 

“I thought he was outstanding. He’s so strong and such a good defender,” head coach Nat St. Laurent said about Fake. “I think he is one of the up-and-coming marquee defenders in this league, and it was a great step in the right direction today.”

Now, over to the offense. It wasn’t a high-scoring game, but the Woods offense got production from ol’ reliable sources and new faces. 

Rob Pannell put last week’s scoreless outing behind him with a three-point performance (2G, 1A), punctuated by a near-pipe goal to end the Woods' second-half lull, and then found Charlie Bertrand for a powerplay goal to give the Woods an 8-7 lead.

The coaching staff’s decision to move Chris Gray (3G) to attack also proved fruitful. He seemed more comfortable and aggressive at his natural position, attacking from the wing and X to get his first hat trick with the Woods. 

Heading into All-Star weekend, the Redwoods have some extra time to evaluate what worked, build upon it, and hopefully start a streak and climb the standings. 

Up next for California: vs. Utah Archers (Saturday, July 20, 5:30 p.m. ET)

Sarah Griffin: Cannons go quiet in the final frame to open their Homecoming weekend

It was a back-and-forth battle up until the fourth quarter, as the Cannons fell to the Redwoods in their opening game of Homecoming weekend at Harvard Stadium. 

A 4-0 run by California in the fourth quarter sealed the deal as Boston was held scoreless in the final frame.

St. Laurent said a point of emphasis for his team heading into Friday night’s game was to contain the Cannons midfield as much as possible. Especially after Boston’s last victory was headlined by two-pointers from their midfield group, it was essential for the Redwoods defense to shut them down the best they could. 

Both Matt Campbell and Ryan Drenner were held scoreless. Marcus Holman was the star of the show for Boston, scoring the first goal for his team along with three others for a four-point night. He moved into second all-time in one-point goals, passing Brendan Mundorf.

Despite the exciting accolade, the ever-competitive Holman said it didn’t matter without a win. 

The Cannons will get a chance to bounce back in front of the hometown crowd Saturday night against the Philadelphia Waterdogs -- an opportunity both Holman and his father, Cannons head coach Brian Holman, are thrilled about. 

“This was the best crowd I’ve seen so far in the PLL,” the Cannons coach said. 

The Boom Squad certainly will be motivated to show out and redeem themselves for the Boston fanbase. 

Up next for Boston: vs. Philadelphia Waterdogs (Saturday, July 6, 7 p.m. ET)

New York Atlas 17, Denver Outlaws 4

Lauren Merola: Jeff Teat, how about that?

Everything went right for the Atlas on Friday from end to end, and in the offensive zone, Jeff Teat gave all the fireworks shot off this weekend a run for their money.

Teat exploded – again – with nine points (6G, 3A) to collect 44 points on the season and tie the PLL single-season record. He should break that against the Cannons on July 20 and, while averaging 7.3 points per game, has a legitimate shot to catch Pannell’s pro lacrosse single-season record of 78 points set in the MLL in 2018.

There doesn’t seem to be a defender who can extinguish Teat. The Outlaws had no answer for him in their 13-point loss, and the Atlas and Gavin Adler cut off Brennan O’Neill from orchestrating another otherworldly comeback. O’Neill had no points.

Liam Entenmann got his first pro start after finishing Week 4’s game in net. He stopped 14 shots on 77.8%. Behind a sturdy performance from him and the defense, the Outlaws only had two goals with roughly eight minutes to play. Entenmann’s hands were quick enough to intercept passes, and he stole enough shots to show why he was the fifth pick in the 2024 draft.

Topher Adams: Progress isn’t linear

After two wins in a row, the Outlaws seemed to be settling into the season. They already doubled their win total from last year and looked like a contender in the Western Conference. Then they ran into the Atlas buzzsaw.

Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong Friday night. Denver kept hitting pipes and ran into a red-hot Entenmann in goal. Every loose ball and every rebound seemed to find an Atlas stick.

Parts of this game can be written off as a one-off, nightmare performance, but some of Outlaws' season-long struggles plagued them again in the loss.

Denver shot just 4-for-39 (10.3%). Rookie star O’Neill touched the ball just eight times and was shut off by Adler. Sloppy unforced turnovers killed offensive momentum all night. 

Denver will need to adjust its offensive approach after the All-Star game and hopefully get Logan Wisnauskas and Jack Myers back healthy at attack. The Outlaws need to flush this performance and build on what’s gone right most of the season so far.

If there’s any positive to take from this game, it’s Luke Wierman. The rookie faceoff specialist went 15-for-25 at the stripe against 2022 MVP Trevor Baptiste. Wierman might be the second-best faceoff man in the league right now, and that’s something to build on for Denver.

Up next for Denver: vs. Philadelphia Waterdogs (Friday, July 19, 6 p.m. ET)