The stage is set for the 2021 PLL Championship between Chaos and Whipsnakes, but in order to get here, some serious heavyweights had to go down in the semifinals.
Rarely do I go 100% on my picks, but this past weekend was the right time to do so. I trusted my gut that the Chaos would be peaking and disrupt the Atlas’s style of play and that the Whipsnakes are just too battle tested to lose in the PLL Semifinals.
Let’s take a look back at what happened in the 2021 PLL Semifinals and why Chaos and Whipsnakes are on to the ultimate round for a championship game rematch.
Chaos, Whipsnakes Pull Upsets in PLL Semifinals
#6 Chaos (15) vs. #2 Atlas (9)
Going into the game, we knew the strengths of both teams. For the Atlas, it was their ability to score in multiple ways while dominating faceoffs. For the Chaos, it was having the best goalie in the world while creating literal chaos throughout the field.
The Chaos defense played their best game to date, and the offense, while pedestrian for stretches, found enough juice to stretch a late lead. The juice came from a 68% save percentage by Blaze Riorden and two very impactful two-bombs from the LSM duo of Troy Reh and CJ Costabile.
Given his struggles throughout the early season, perhaps the most impactful performance came from Chaos faceoff specialist Max Adler. At 45%, he won just enough faceoffs to negate what was perceived to be a major Atlas advantage coming into the game. These possessions, coupled with Riorden saves, gave the offense every opportunity it needed to put the game out of reach.
#5 Whipsnakes (14) vs. #1 Waterdogs (10)
Bye week or no bye week? Some people see the bye as a reward, a chance to rest up, a chance to heal injuries, or have a mental reset. Others see it as a disrupter, a way to ruin the rhythm, to create complacency. Whatever side you fall on, it was clear to me that the Waterdogs didn’t have the same swagger entering this game as they did in the final game of the regular season, and that the Whipsnakes were seemingly on a mission.
Joe Nardella looked like his normal self, racking up 16 faceoff wins with 11 ground balls for 59% while the “new” starting goalie Brian Phipps performed like the veteran we all know him to be (57%). When your faceoff and save percentages are both near 60, it becomes pretty hard to lose.
On the offensive side, Zed Williams and Brad Smith dominated and combined for nine points. Zed made a great case for MVP as he routinely made shots that few people in the world would even attempt.
The Waterdogs just didn’t have that signature flow that got them the No. 1 seed, and the usual stars couldn’t seem to find their rhythm. Ultimately, too many defensive breakdowns and a 39% save percentage proved to be too much for the Waterdogs to overcome.
2021 PLL Championship: Chaos vs Whipsnakes
The championship will feature the same sides as last year. The Whipsnakes and Chaos will meet again, and the Whips are aiming to secure their third-straight PLL title. If the Whipsnakes win, they will continue to be the only champion the league has ever known.
The title game will be held Sunday, Sept. 19 at 12 p.m. EST on NBC/Peacock.