“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk
All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network
Chrome LC took on Archers LC in the final game of the Premier Lacrosse League’s 2022 opening weekend at Casey Stadium in Albany, New York. Archers finished the 2021 season with a 5-4 record, losing their quarterfinal playoff match to eventual champion Chaos. Chrome missed the 2021 playoffs, enduring a 5-game losing streak after a 2-2 start to finish last at 2-7.
Archers would be without the services of dynamic attackman Grant Ament, who was injured during training camp. Meanwhile, Chrome would enter the game with a number of new faces on their roster. The new additions included 2022 Teewaaraton Award winner and NCAA champ Logan Wisnauskas, Army attackman Brendan Nichtern, and newly-minted starting goaltender Sean Sconone. The roster overhaul did not seem to bother Chrome, as their veterans paced them to an 8-3 halftime lead. Chrome then held off a late Archers rally while shorthanded to triumph 11-10.
Spit and Polish
Jackson Morrill struck first for Chrome, scoring just one minute into the game. Jordan MacIntosh (2g; 5:01) and Colin Heacock (5:06) would follow, finding the back of the net just five seconds apart to give Chrome a surprising 3-0 lead. Archers attackman Will Manny (3g, 1a) would take advantage of a defensive miscue from long-stick midfielder Eli Salama 20 seconds later to end the Chrome run. Salama would make up for that miscue just 9 seconds later, firing a 2-point goal past Archers goalie Adam Ghitelman to extend Chrome’s lead to 5-1.
Rookie Connor DeSimone (2g, 2a; 7:25) would start his big day, cutting the Chrome lead to 5-2. MacIntosh (10:05) would tally his second with an insane toe drag that left three Archers defenders in his wake. DeSimone would then assist Marcus Holman (3g, 1a) at 11:42, ending the first frame with Chrome leading 6-3. The second quarter yielded just two goals. Nichtern (2:22) netted the first of his career. Then Dylan Molloy (2g, 2a), who struggled last year after signing with Chrome mid-season, showed he is still a force to be reckoned with, notching the first of his two goals on the day at 5:57 to send Chrome into halftime with an 8-3 advantage.
All It Takes Is One Punch
Archers returned the second quarter favor coming out of halftime, blanking Chrome 3-0 in the third quarter. Manny’s second (0:51), DeSimone’s second (1:45), and Manny’s hat trick goal (10:34) cut the deficit to 8-6 with 15 minutes left to play. Holman’s second goal 17 seconds into the final frame made it a one-goal affair. Suddenly, it seemed as though Archers coach Chris Bates’s “shell game” plan on offense, tinkering with the roles of Manny, Holman and Tom Schreiber in the absence of Ament, was coming to fruition.
Molloy (1:11) and Nichtern (4:41; power play) had other ideas, ending Archers’ 4-goal run with their respective second goals of the game. Archers would close the gap to one again, with Ryan Ambler (7:19) and Tre Leclaire (7:42; power play) joining the fun. Mike Messenger (8:31) would extend Chrome’s lead to 11-9, but he would then put his team in dire straits. After getting whistled for a 30 second penalty on a fallen Archers player, he would earn himself a 3-minute, non-releasable penalty and subsequent ejection for throwing a punch at the opponent as he got to his feet.
The penalty effectively gave Archers a power play for the remainder of the game. Holman would capitalize, scoring his hat trick goal to make it 11-10 with 58 seconds remaining. As time wound down, Holman had a chance to net his fourth of the day and force overtime. However, with a Chrome defender falling down in front of him, he was unable to get the ball out of his stick for a shot on net as he backpedaled past the goal, and Chrome escaped with the narrow victory.
Other Stats of Note
- Ground Balls: Archers 33; Chrome 32
- Caused Turnovers: Archers 4, Chrome 7
- Connor Farrell (Chrome): 14 of 23 on faceoffs
- Sean Sconone (Chrome): 11 saves
“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.