Waterdogs ride big first half, improve to 3-3

By Austin Owens | Jul 9, 2021

The Waterdogs needed a victory, and they got one in convincing fashion, posting the best offensive outing in their short history to beat the Cannons 19-6 to open Week 5 in Minneapolis.

Ryan Brown (4G), Kieran McArdle (3G, 1A), and rookie Ethan Walker (1G, 3A) were the offensive drivers for the Waterdogs. However, there were nine players total who finished with multiple points on the night. 

Jake Withers ruled the stripe, going 20-for-26 (77 percent) while adding 12 ground balls and two points while Dillon Ward turned away 10 shots and earned the victory. 

The 19 goals scored by the Waterdogs were the most in a single game in club history, surpassing the previous high of 16 markers – which they set against the Redwoods just a week ago. 

“I think if you look at our makeup, we don’t have a Lyle or an attacker that’s going to have the ball and make some stuff happen,” Brown said post game. “For us, if we keep it hot around the field and get the defense to turn left and right on passes down low, that allows us to open up cutting lanes and that creates opportunities. I think that’s when we’re at our best.”

The first half belonged to the Waterdogs, as they opened the game on a five-goal run and didn’t take their foot off the gas through the first two frames. 

Withers kicked things off for the Dogs just seconds into the contest, cleaning up a rebound off a Zach Currier shot to draw first blood. 

He was followed by McArdle, Eli Gobrecht – who blasted home a 2-pointer in transition – and Brown. Despite Ryan Drenner and Brendan Sunday nabbing a pair for the Cannons, the Dogs answered that pair with three of their own to take an 8-2 lead into the second quarter. 

The Dogs added four of the six goals scored in the second to go into the locker room with a commanding 12-4 advantage. 

Nick Marrocco was lifted from the game for Jacob Stover, however, the backup allowed five goals with no saves, prompting Sean Quirk to go back to Marrocco before the end of the half.

“The Waterdogs, to their credit, came out hot and we were on our heels a little bit. We made that goalie change to give our team a little bit of a jump,” Quirk said. “Nick is so mentally tough that I knew if we needed to put him back in there, he was going to be ready to go. He went back in and made some big saves, made some clears, and got those guys playing hard. 

“He struggled with some shots at times, but at the same time, we didn’t help him out tremendously on a few of them defensively.”

The third quarter opened with a Cannons goal from Shayne Jackson, who tallied his first in the PLL, but after that, the game once again flipped in the favor of the men in purple. 

Mikie Schlosser, Walker, Connor Kelly, and Ben McIntosh answered with four straight to end the third frame. 

That run was pushed to seven straight midway through the fourth, putting away any slim hopes of a comeback that the Cannons may have had. 

The Dogs were able to run the clock down and come out with a statement victory to start the first of two games this weekend. 

With the victory, the Waterdogs push their record to 3-3 on the season. They have a chance to go 2-0 for the second time in as many attempts on doubleheaders this season when they face Chrome on Sunday. 

The Cannons will try and bounce back against the Archers to wrap Week 5. After coming out on the losing end of their last four contests, this game looks like a must-win for the team, as they have just two games remaining following All-Star Weekend. 

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