Editor’s Note: Welcome Jamie Plunkett back to LAS! Jamie wrote a post earlier this week on 20 years of the BLAX lacrosse club in Berlin, Germany, and now he’s back with a recap of the first European Lacrosse League tournament, which was also held in Berlin. Jamie runs the Deutschland Adler Lacrosse Club, and has played professionally in the NLL and NALL.
Photo Credit: Abigail Bliss
The European Lacrosse League kicked off its 3rd season on Saturday morning in Berlin at Eisstadion Neukölln. The lacrosse gods were on our side, as we woke to a sunny sky and a dry floor. Game one saw the home team, and defending ELL Champs the Deutschland Adler, face the Wolves. The DALC took a 2-0 lead into the second period where they continued to gain momentum by getting 4 more in the frame. Wolves managed to get two by DALC goalie Felix Neumann who stood on his head all game. In the 3rd period the Wolves came out flying and mounted a comeback, but DALC managed to fight back and tie the period 4-4, for a final score of 11-6 and the Adler victory.
Game 2 of the day saw Custodes face an extremely understaffed Pietro Filipi, who are a newcomer to the ELL. Filipi showed lots of fight with only 6 players: 2 Austrians, 2 Germans, an Irishman, and their Czech goaltender. Despite the small number of players, Filipi put up a fight all weekend. In the end, they fell to the Custodes by a score of 7-5.
Custodes were back in action almost immediately as they faced the Wolves. This game had everything; early leads, blown leads, comebacks, and the first shootout of the season. With the Custodes jumping out to an early 4-2 lead in the first, the Wolves quickly erased that lead in the second period by getting 7 of the next 8 goals in the game. Custodes restored their 2 goal lead, but the Wolves replied with 3 of their own. With a victory only seconds away Custodes managed to put one by goalie Jakub Mares, forcing a shootout. Wolves managed to salvage a win with a shoot-out goal by Jiri Loskot.
The last game of the day was DALC vs Filipi. Once again the undermanned Filipi took its opponents to the brink. Filipi played the system they needed to, which included a stifling zone defence, no fast breaks, and using the full 30 second shot clock, something they worked to perfection. Filipi saw leads of 4-1 and and 7-5. Filipi’s luck finally ran out in the last 3 minutes where the DALC managed to get the last 4 goals of the game, 3 of them by Pavel Dosly. DALC were fortunate to get a 9-7 win. Just as the final game of the day ended, on came the rain. And this was something that would delay the opening faceoff on Sunday morning.
As we play in a bowl (open air) and on cement, rain makes things a little tricky and slippery. With the cleanup crew arriving at 8:30 to dry the floor, it wasn’t playable until 10:30. Games started 30 minutes behind schedule but that is what needs to be done for the growing game of indoor lacrosse in Germany.
With the rain delay over, Filipi and Wolves started the game on a 90% dry floor with some slippery spots still, obviously playing into the hands of Filipi. The wet floor didn’t allow the Wolves to play a run and gun style of lacrosse, as they would have liked. Once again Filipi’s zone defence worked wonders, holding the Wolves to only 6 goals. Thomas Pelikan was lights out in between the pipes. Sean Gibson and Klaus Hauer managed to score most of the goals, but it was the big man Felix Sorantin who went coast to coast and scored, much to the delight of the crowd.
The last game of the day had the Adler up against rival Custodes. The Custodes name last season was “Bisons” so it was a rematch of the final from one year ago. As with the previous time these teams played it was an exciting game. You can even watch the full game here.
The teams battled for 45 minutes, exchanging leads, and neither team ever taking more then a 2 goal lead. Custodes were led by Radek Skala and Petr Poupe, who did most of the scoring. DALC scoring was nice and spread out through the weekend and the game. Pavel Dosly, Jamie Plunkett, Artjom Merjasch and Marc Brandenburger were the main goal getters for the Adler but perhaps the biggest came by defensive specialist Christian Schroder.
With the goalie pulled and the DALC down by 1 with under 30 seconds to go Schroder was left on the crease all alone. Merjasch fed him the ball and he found the back of the net with ease. DALC forced a shootout the second one of the ELL season, and the second for the Custodes. This time however, the Custodes were a little more lucky in the shootout, converting on all three shots, whereas the DALC only converted on one. Final score: Custodes won 9-8
With the first weekend in the books, I think we can look back and see the weekend as a success. Even with low numbers by most teams, for several reasons. Laxtoberfest (Munich) Travel (Czechs, Austrians, Slovaks) and the close proximity of the draft to the first game day lead to uncertainty of being drafted by some. Other than that, those who attended certainly took home some good memories and hopefully learned a lot over the weekend.
We look forward to September 21/22nd when the ELL returns to Radotin. Weekend 1 was good, and things are only looking up.