Wisnauskas’ seven-point night helps Chrome secure second seed

By Austin Owens | Aug 21, 2022

The Chrome were able to lock down the second seed in the PLL playoffs on Saturday night, beating the Redwoods in a 13-12 shootout in Seattle. 

“I knew this was going to be a big test. The Redwoods are on a roll and they’re a team that’s very dangerous both offensively and defensively. So we knew this would be a challenge coming in and I’m glad we stepped up,” Chrome head coach Tim Soudan said following the game. “I think we’ve kind of played with the mindset that each week, we need to get better. And we have to learn a little bit more and build on what we’ve created.

“I think that the mindset changes in a way that when you lose at this point, you’re done. So I think there’s going to be a little bit more energy in our locker room and everyone’s locker room. That’s the one thing we’ve focused on. The effort is always there. We just want to make sure that our energy is high.”

Chrome didn’t waste any time in jumping out to a big lead to open the game. Goals from Logan Wisnauskas, Mike Messenger, Jordan MacIntosh, and Dylan Molloy helped them to a quick 4-0 advantage. But Rob Pannell was able to get his team going in the final three minutes of the opening frame with a pair of goals in a 58-second span. 

A Cole Williams marker ended the mini run to give Chrome a 5-2 advantage after 12 minutes, and they added to it with a strike from Colin Heacock to open the second to make it a four-goal advantage once again. 

But the veteran-laden Redwoods side didn’t fold in the face of two separate four-goal deficits in the early stages of the game. 

Matt Kavanagh got his first of the night before Pannell completed the hat trick a minute later. The Woods tied things up after another pair of goals from Sergio Perkovic and Ryder Garnsey

Chrome answered to end the half, with markers from Wisnauskas and MacIntosh, but the Redwoods were still very much in striking distance despite a sluggish first half.

“We never feel like we’re out of a game. So it’s really a benefit to have those (veteran) guys,” Redwoods head coach Nat St. Laurent said post-game. “It was great to put the ball in Rob’s stick. …To have him with the presence out there to take the game over, and have all of these guys who have been in pressure games, it’s kind of what we’ve been doing since 2019. So it’s good to have that experience (in games like this).”

Coming out for the second half, the Redwoods had Isaiah Davis-Allen at the stripe as a result of a TD Ierlan violation to end the second quarter. Connor Farrell took advantage of that matchup, winning the draw cleanly and finishing in the offensive end to push the lead to three. 

However, the third belonged to the Woods, who rallied off another four goals in the frame to narrow the gap. Pannell added his fourth before another tally from Perkovic. Brendan Nichtern got one back before Myles Jones stung a 2-pointer to tie the game at 10. 

The Woods jumped out to their first lead of the night at the 1:32 mark of the third with a Charlie Bertrand goal. 

But the young guns for the Chrome would have the final say on this night. Wisnauskas tied it just 39 seconds into the fourth. Perkovic and Justin Anderson traded goals, and the teams remained deadlocked heading into the closing minutes. 

It was the hot hand of Wisnauskas that found the answer for Chrome. His goal with 1:01 remaining sealed the deal and gave his side their seventh win of the year. 

The 2022 first overall pick was the offensive leader for Chrome, scoring four times while adding three helpers on the night. Chrome also got big games from Nichtern (1G, 3A) and MacIntosh (2G). Farrell went 73 percent on draws to go along with his goal while Sean Sconone had 13 saves in the victory. 

“I think he should be the Rookie of the Year, and you saw it today,” Nichtern said of his fellow first-year attack mate post-game. “He could explode at any time and I think he could have done this every week. He just knew it was his time this time in this game. He’s got that edge to him and he’s not going to back down from anyone. And that just adds to the mentality of this offense and this team. He just fits right in and pushes the culture forward.”

Chrome is now locked into the second seed and will await the results of the remaining games this weekend to find out who they will play in the quarterfinals. They will take on seventh-seeded Chaos in Boston. 

With the loss, the Redwoods are now the sixth seed, matching up against the third-seed Archers LC.