16x9_Game8_Matchup

Whipsnakes vs. Atlas: Matchup Preview

By Marisa Ingemi | Jul 30, 2020

The defending champion Whipsnakes have gotten off to a hot start, but they are still not even a quarter of the way through the PLL Championship Series. There’s plenty of time to slip up if they’re not sharp.

Their challenge continues Thursday when they face Atlas, coming off a crushing one-goal defeat to the Archers. 

The Whipsnakes can catapult themselves to be the third 2-0 team in the league where every game -- and goal -- counts, while Atlas can find themselves in the upper tier of the league or in a two-loss hole.

Storylines

Atlas on the rebound
A six-goal second quarter sunk Atlas in their thriller with the Archers; they’re not going to get away with a tight game if they do that against the Whipsnakes.

Bryan Costabile is starting to look like a breakout candidate in the league, and the timing would be perfect for him to have that defining type of game.

Rob Pannell notched just a single goal against the Archers, and that’s something they can’t let happen if they hope to topple the defending champs.

Atlas simply can’t let the Whipsnakes go on a run like they let happen in their last game.

At the dot
Joe Nardella exploded for a couple of tallies in the Whipsnakes first contest and threw up a 71 percent from the faceoff dot while he was at it over the weekend.

They haven’t been in action since, but he still leads the league in percentage and is throwing his name into the ring of an already really strong FOGO league.

Meanwhile, there’s Trevor Baptiste.

Arguably the most well-known FOGO in the sport -- and last year’s faceoff stats leader -- Baptiste is going to make things challenging for just about anyone.

This is a game where the battle in the middle of the field might become the most intriguing.

Major matchup
Jack Concannon leads the league with a 59 percent save percentage for Atlas and he goes against a Whipsnakes squad that knows how to put up goals. In his two games so far, he’s made 30 stops.

He’ll contend with a unit that distributed the ball to Zed Williams, Brad Smith and co. for a 13 goal showing in their opener.

There might not be a major take-over-the-game type of offensive player for the Whipsnakes, but there’s no doubt they find ways to put the ball in the net. Matt Rambo has the potential to go off, and that didn’t happen in their first game so it could be coming.

Gambling
The Whipsnakes are 1.5 point favorites with a -127 moneyline. The 24.5 over/under could be a bit low given the point production from the Whipsnakes in game one, and Atlas has proven they can get into the double digits as well.

Ramifications 

The Whipsnakes can get a leg up with a 2-0 start while Atlas needs to win to not fall into a two-loss hole.

It would be good for the Whipsnakes to snag that win before a tougher stretch in their schedule where they have three games in four days, including a back-to-back following the Atlas game facing Chaos the next day.

Atlas has just one game left before the elimination round, dealing with the Redwoods after the Whipsnakes.

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