Whips halt Chromeback to improve to 6-1

By Austin Owens | Jul 30, 2022

The Whipsnakes continued their dominant run of form in 2022, holding off a second-half surge from the Chrome for a 9-8 victory in Dallas on Saturday.

The Whips came out of the gates and played their brand of lacrosse to cruise to a 7-2 lead at halftime. 

Despite Chrome opening the scoring with a goal in transition from Eli Salama, the Whips answered with a 6-0 run. 

Matt Rambo and Brad Smith put the two-time champs into the lead before rookie Wheaton Jackoboice made it 3-1 after the first quarter. 

The singles continued to fall in the second, as Mike Chanenchuk, Zed Williams, and Keegan Khan followed up to widen the gap to five. The Whips’ defense was able to stump the Chrome offensively, holding them scoreless until the 3:14 mark. Colin Heacock halted the run, but Khan answered back with his second of the half to make it a 7-2.

The Whips were also aided by a strong showing at the stripe from Joe Nardella, who was able to win 14 of 19 draws against Connor Farrell while collecting eight ground balls. 

“In general, I don’t like being down on one knee against someone like Connor who’s quick and strong because it kind of takes away the athleticism you have post-draw,” Nardella said. “I like to be able to compete for those ground balls and obviously, that played a factor tonight. I did get a pretty good look at him in the All-Star Game and wasn’t as successful. So I tried to stick to clamping and going straight to counters when he got to the ball first. 

“Connor is very methodical and puts the ball into very specific spots. So we sent Mike (Ehrhardt) to his backside and the short-stick to his front side. So even if he won clamps, we were able to slow him down a bit. So I think that played a huge factor.”

Logan Wisnauskas got Chrome going early in the third, finishing off a Brendan Nichtern feed on a man-up opportunity in the opening minute. But the Whips had an answer to halt the momentum once again. Connor Kirst found an opening in transition off the ensuing draw to get the lead back to five. 

But another Chromeback was on the horizon. Tim Soudan’s side began to chip into the lead following that marker. An electric transition effort from Ryan Terefenko would eventually find its way to Nichtern on the crease for a big goal. That was followed by a 2-pointer from Justin Anderson, cutting the Whips’ lead to a single score. 

Another Wisnauskas marker made it 8-7 to end the third, and Cole Williams got his first PLL goal to tie the game at eight with just over four minutes to go in the fourth. But Bryan Cole put the Whips into the lead for good under a minute later. 

Chrome pushed for the tying marker, but their final touch of the game was blown up by the Whips’ defense. Jordan MacIntosh got a backhand shovel shot on the net, but Kyle Bernlohr made his 16th save to seal the win.

“I think we’re getting back to that trust we had in 2019 and 2020. I feel more comfortable this year and I’m definitely in a good spot,” Bernlohr said post-game. “I think defensively, we’re back on our good communication and we trust each other. I can tell my defensemen the shots that I want to see and they’re not sliding to the low angles or down the alleys. They’re doing a good job of letting me see the easy shots and quite frankly, they’re making me play really well.”

The Whips move to 6-1 on the season with the victory. They also improved to 13-3 all-time in games decided by one point. This was also their fifth one-point win on the campaign. 

On the other side, Chrome dropped their third consecutive game after a 4-0 start to the campaign. All three of those defeats have come by just a single point. 

The Whipsnakes head to Denver with a crucial showdown with the Archers on tap. Chrome looks to avoid its fourth consecutive defeat when they take on the defending champion Chaos at Barton Stadium.