The bubble feels like ages ago, and it was amazing to see fans in the stands at Rio Tinto Stadium for the third iteration of the PLL postseason. Utah provided three electric and competitive games that were all absolute treats.
Before we get excited for what’s to come in the semifinals in Philadelphia in a couple of weeks, let’s recap what happened at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Rio Tinto Stadium Hosts Dramatic PLL Quarterfinals
#6 Chaos (13) vs. #3 Archers (10)
Max Adler came up huge in this one, securing 70 percent of the faceoffs for the Chaos. Those possessions were huge and kept the Archers at a distance once the Chaos had a lead.
Kyle Jackson, a personal favorite, was massive when given a rare opportunity to dress with four goals on only eight shots, plus two assists. The Archers had many uncharacteristic and untimely turnovers throughout the contest that deflated any type of momentum they had from the previous possession.
This game is living proof that it’s hard to win without a top faceoff man.
#7 Cannons (9) vs. #2 Atlas (13)
Winning 68 percent of the faceoffs and shooting 64 percent are two signs that it’ll be a good day. Lyle Thompson and Shayne Jackson kept the offense moving throughout for the Cannons, while timely goals by Paul Rabil and Tyson Bell kept the game from getting out of reach.
But the Atlas stifled the Cannons offense, largely through big outings from Trevor Baptiste (71 percent at the stripe) and JD Colarusso (64 percent save percentage). Jeff Teat and Eric Law both netted the ball three times each, and the Bulls championed six different goal scorers en route to securing the W.
#5 Whipsnakes (14) vs. #4 Redwoods (13)
Well, it didn’t go to overtime, but it sure felt like we were headed there at Rio Tinto Stadium.
There’s just something about this Whipsnakes team that won’t let them lose a playoff game to the Redwoods. Matt Rambo, Captain Clutch himself, hit a beautiful contested shot near the end of regulation to take the lead and seal the game for the two-time reigning champs.
I think if Brian Phipps had started this game, it would have been a six or seven goal margin of victory. When you account for Joe Nardella’s 66 percent throughout the game and Kyle Bernlohr’s 18 percent first half before Phipps replaced him, there’s no reason the Whips wouldn’t have been further ahead. It will be interesting to see who gets the call in net for when the Whipsnakes take on the Waterdogs in two weeks in the semifinals.
Performances of the Week
Brian Phipps (Whipsnakes goalie): The Whips had an 18 percent save percentage in the first half before Phipps took over in the second. He locked down the defense and held the ‘Woods to just four goals on 10 shots. Without him, the Whips were on a collision course to an early exit.
Max Adler (Chaos faceoff): Adler came up huge at Rio Tinto Stadium, securing 70 percent of the faceoffs for Chaos.
Kyle Jackson (Chaos midfielder): Jackson came up huge against Archers with four goals on just eight shots and two assists to boot.