“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk – All Lacrosse All The Time, a Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
The first of three PLL Playoff Quarterfinal games on Saturday matched #7 seed Chaos against #2 seed Chrome. Chrome marched into the playoffs on the heels of their best regular season in team history, finishing 7-3. Chaos, on the other hand, struggled to yet another losing regular season at 2-8, just good enough to make the cutoff for the postseason.
However, it was the defending champions Chaos who took control of the game from the start, dominating all facets of the game in a stunning 11-3 victory over Chrome. The win advances Chaos to the PLL semifinals next week, where they will play the winner of the game between #3 seed Archers and #6 seed Redwoods.
Chaos set tone with five-goal run
Chaos reeled off five straight goals to start the first half, with Mac O’Keefe (4:58) opening the scoring on a power play. CJ Costabile (5:16) followed in transition, before Josh Byrne, who assisted the first two goals, tallied one of his own at 10:32. Chaos led 3-0 after 12 minutes. Chrome looked out of sync from the outset, committing a number of uncharacteristic turnovers, and Chaos faceoff specialist Max Adler held his own against Chrome’s Connor Farrell throughout the game.
Byrne would tack on another goal 37 seconds into the second quarter, then assist Challen Rogers on his first of the game (7:20). Chrome would finally break the run and get on the board with Logan Wisnauskas (9:42; power play), assisted by Brendan Nichtern, to make it 5-1 Chaos entering halftime.
Chaos pours it on in second half
Byrne’s hat-trick goal (1:36) and another from Rogers (3:58) extended the Chaos lead to 7-1. Chrome would cut the deficit to five, courtesy of Justin Anderson (9:03), but their offense was unable to solve the punishing Chaos defense, including netminder Blaze Riorden. Adding to Chrome’s woes was Chaos’s ability to stifle the Chrome transition game, primarily by stifling long outlet pass attempts from goaltender Sean Sconone.
Another four-goal run from Chaos to start the fourth quarter put the game handily out of reach. Dhane Smith found twine at 2:45, followed by a hat-trick goal from Rogers (3:31). Chase Fraser followed with a pair (4:33; 7:12) to make it 11-2. Nichtern fed Wisnauskas for another marker (11:39) to close the scoring, and unfortunately for Chrome, their 2022 season.
Other Stats of Note
Josh Byrne (Chaos): 3g, 3a
Challen Rogers (Chaos): 3g, 1a
Max Adler (Chaos): 10 of 17 on faceoffs, 6 ground balls
Brendan Nichtern (Chrome): 2a
Blaze Riorden (Chaos): 15 saves, 83% sv pct
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“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.