Archers hold off Cannons 16-13 in Week 1 Showdown

Eduardo Curros – Field Correspondent, All Lacrosse All The Time

The Archers and the Cannons met up in the second Saturday game in Week 1 of the 2023 PLL season. The Archers lost several players in free agency, including attackman Will Manny to the Whipsnakes, and attackman Marcus Holman and goaltender Adam Ghitelman to the team across the field from them. However, their offense is still potent, with the likes of Grant Ament, Connor DeSimone, Ryan Ambler, Matt Moore, and Tom Schreiber. New additions include Mac O’Keefe, Reid Bowering, faceoff specialist Mike Sisselberger and goaltender Brett Dobson.

Meanwhile, the Cannons are looking to rebound from a disappointing 2022 in which they went 1-9 and missed the playoffs. Further adding to their difficulties are the retirement of defender Brodie Merrill, and the decision by star attackman Lyle Thompson to skip the 2023 season for physical and mental recovery. Fans are hopeful that attackmen Ryan Drenner and Asher Nolting can make the most of additional playing time in the absence of Thompson. The Boom Squad’s offense will also certainly be bolstered with the acquisition of Holman and a full sophomore season from both Adam Charalambides and Jonathan Donville.

The Archers made the most of a big second quarter to lead 5-3 at the half. They then kept up with the Cannons in a second-half shootout for a 16-13 win. Archers (1-0) play Chrome in Week 2 in Charlotte, NC, while the Cannons (0-1) will face Chaos.  

Dolans Bar

First half: Archers 5, Cannons 3

The first frame of the first game in the season is generally a slow pace, with both teams trying to find their feet. However, Archers head coach Chris Bates had his offense and his attackmen and midfield running shot after shot. If not for their former goaltender (Ghitelman), this game could have been over quickly. Conversely, the Cannons displayed their skill while down a man. Drenner scored a shorthanded goal, assisted by Nolting, to closed the first quarter with a 1-0 lead. 

The second frame showcased Ament’s deft touch, as he set up goals by Mac O’Keefe and Connor Maher, respectively. Holman (with another assist from Nolting) tied the game, but Matt Campbell restored the Cannons’ lead again. Archers responded with a three-goal run to end the half. O’Keefe equalized, assisted by Schreiber, then Connor Fields went back-to-back to give Archers a 5-3 lead. 

Second half: Archers keep pace in 21-goal shootout

The Archers started on a roll with O’Keefe getting his hat trick and Ambler getting on the board to make it 7-3. Holman replied for Cannons, but Fields’s hat trick goal and a marker from DeSimone extended the lead to 9-4. Cannons trimmed the lead to two, courtesy of Matt Kavanagh (assisted by Nolting) and a two-point goal from Holman (assisted by Donville). Tre Leclaire pushed the lead back to three for Archers, but Chris Aslanian cut it back to two. However, Ament struck again in the closing seconds to give Archers an 11-8 edge heading into the fourth quarter.

Kavanagh’s second goal pulled Cannons within two to start the fourth quarter. Leclaire and Sisselbeger pushed the lead back to four, 13-9. Drenner scored his second on a power play to narrow the margin to three, Matt Moore found the net to put Archers back up four. Colin Kirst replaced Ghitelman in net for Cannons part way through the fourth quarter. Drenner’s hat-trick goal and a marker from Donville made it a 14-12 game. The fourth goal from Fields made it 15-12 Archers. Drenner assisted Nolting to again cut the lead to two, but Schreiber closed the scoring for Archers in a wild second half that saw 21 goals. 

Game Notes

Cannons: Holman (2g, 1 2-pt g, 1 a); Drenner (3g, 1a); Nolting (1g, 4a); Kavanagh (2g); Ghitelman (13 saves)

Archers: Fields (4g); O’Keefe (3g); Leclaire (2g, 1a); Schreiber (1g, 3a); Ament (1g, 2a); Sisselberger (1g, 1a; 24-30 Faceoffs; 14 Ground Balls); Dobson (16 saves)

Caused Turnovers: Cannons 5; Archers 9

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“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and currently serves as Edge of Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.