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Playoff Preview: Who Can Tame the Whipsnakes?

Can the Whipsnakes win their third title in four years? At first glance, the answer seems to be yes. The Whips had the best regular season record (9-1) and locked the first-round bye in the PLL Playoffs. They also locked up the top throwback jersey, even if Peaches didn’t agree.

The Whipsnakes will earn a two-week break before preparing for the winner of the Quarterfinal matchup between the Waterdogs or the Atlas in Washington D.C. on September 11th. I wanted to look at their potential matchups and see who has the best chance of knocking them off. 

If you haven’t yet, check out Paul Rabil’s behind the scenes look that went into the design of the PLL Cash App Trophy. It is a great looking trophy that celebrates the history of professional lacrosse. 

2022 Whipsnakes by the Numbers
  • 2: Average margin of victory this year for the Whipsnakes. If you remove their route of the Atlas in Week 9 in Salt Lake City, the number falls to 1.33. The Whipsnakes don’t mind playing tight games, but that leaves little margin for error. 
  • 4: PLL Championship game appearances. The Whipsnakes have won three of them. 
  • -23: Turnover margin. The Whipsnakes can be careless with the ball. When you are playing as many one goal games as they do, an extra turnover can cost you a game and/or a championship.  
  • 9: Matt Rambo has 32 points on the season (21G/11A). He always seems to have a smile on his face and brings an edge to the Whipsnakes. Rambo could be the straw that stirs the Whips to another championship. 
Semifinal Potential Matchups
Scores Per GameScores Allowed Avg.Shooting Percentage Faceoff PercentageSave Percentage 
Whipsnakes11.89.8 26%62%58%

The Whipsnakes went 4-0 against the Waterdogs and Atlast this year. A look at the numbers tells you the Atlas should pose a challenge. A second look gives you pause. They are led on offense by Jeff Teat (22G/16A), Chris Gray (34 points), and MVP candidate Trevor Baptiste (70%) at the faceoff X. The Altas though have struggled in the second half of the season and limped to a 6-4 regular season record. A blowout loss in Week 9 makes you wonder if the Whipsnakes are in the Atlas’ head.  

The Waterdogs played the Whips to two one-goal games and were one of the hotter teams in the second half. Struggles at the faceoff X (15% and 37%) doomed their chances during the regular season. Getting that number closer to 45% may give the Dogs a chance.  

Championship Matchups 
Scores Per GameScores Allowed Avg.Shooting Percentage Faceoff PercentageSave Percentage 
Whipsnakes11.89.8 26%62%58%

Injuries to the Redwoods and season-long inconsistencies with the Chaos make them both long shots to overtake the Whips. (which is also probably why they might). See 2021. 

The Archers played the Whipsnakes to a two-goal game Week 8 in Denver. A poor showing at the faceoff x (26%) and a -16 on groundballs put the Archers in a hole that they couldn’t climb out of. The Archers had eight players score double digits led by Will Manny (33 points) and Marcus Holman (29 points) at attack and Tom Schreiber (35 point) and rookie Matt Moore (20 points) at midfield. Rookie Justin Inacio (43%) has struggled at the X. If the Archers hope to get to the semis or win it all, this will have to change. 

That leaves us with the Chrome. After missing the playoffs in 2021, the Chrome revamped their roster and had the second-best record in the league this season. The Chrome are led by their two outstanding rookies Brendan Nichtern (16G/23A) and Logan Wisnauskas (24G/11A).  

They dropped their only game against the Whipsnakes this year during Week 7 in Dallas. Two stats that stand out to me in this game makes me think the Chrome will fare better the second time around. First, Joe Nardella went 70% against Connor Farrell. I think Thor/Milk Man evens that up a bit more giving the Chrome a few extra possessions. Second, Kyle Bernlohr had 16 saves and a whopping 70% save percentage. Bernlohr’s season average was 58%, so that number probably regresses to the mean. 

Final Verdict

We all thought the Night King was going to rule Westeros. Turns out, Arya Stark had other plans. So do Brendan Nichtern and the Chrome!