The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) kicked off their 2022 season with four games this past weekend. The University of Albany was the backdrop for the two days of games. Crowds were treated to some of the greatest players in the world doing what they do best, play exciting lacrosse. On top of the boisterous live crowds, more fans than ever were able to take in all the action with the league’s new TV deal with ESPN and TSN, helping to grow the game to new heights.
The first game had the winners of the previous seasons meet each other. Chaos (last year’s PLL champion) faced the Whipsnakes (winners of the previous two championships) in a valiant battle that wasn’t determined until the last few seconds of the game. Mike Chanenchuk (3g) was the hero for the Whipsnakes scoring with just 4.4 seconds left on the clock for the victory.
The second game of the day treated the fans to a more wide open game. Atlas went up against the Redwoods showcasing some of more of the up and coming stars of the league.
The Redwoods hung with Atlas for the majority of the game, but Atlas had another gear they were able to throw it in. Stars like Jeff Teat, Trevor Baptiste, Eric Law, Chris Gray, and Bryan Costibile were just too much to handle on this day. Atlas came away with the 17-11 win.
The Waterdogs played the Cannons in the first battle of Day Two. The Cannons had undergone changes to their lineup with the retirement of league founder Paul Rabil, and the addressing of their biggest concern from last season, a faceoff man. The Waterdogs had a healthy Michael Sowers in the lineup, and were excited about their possibilities.
Stephen Kelly was masterful at faceoffs for the Cannons in the first half winning 11 of 15, and was a big reason why the Cannons had jumped out to a 12-3 first half lead. Lyle Thompson once again proved why he was the greatest player in the game with 4 goals, and 2 assists. More importantly, while he was on the field, most of the attention was on him, allowing his teammates opportunities to do their thing.
The Waterdogs finally got on track near the end of the third quarter, mounting a comeback led by Michael Sowers, Zach Currier, and Ethan Walker, but it was too little too late. The Cannons, powered by Thompson, Ryan Drenner, Shayne Jackson, and Asher Nolting were able to withstand the challenge for the 16-10 victory.
The Archers played Chrome in the last battle of the weekend in Albany. This was a battle from start to finish that saw a little of everything. Chrome jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first quarter, but a determined Archers team led by Marcus Holman, and Will Manny made this a very interesting game.
Mike Messenger of Chrome, almost cost his team the victory when his temper got the best of him. In the closing stages of the game, Messenger was ejected for throwing a punch, sending the Archers to the power play for the remainder of regulation. They got a quick strike from Holman to make it a one-goal game with 0:57 seconds left. But in their final push for a tie, the Archers tried a pass to the middle off a cut, but Mike Manley sniffed it out, blowing up the play. Chrome was able to hold on for an exciting 11-10 victory, closing out the weekend of play in week one of the PLL season.
Although there were still a few players missing due to the NLL playoffs, and a few to injury, this was a very successful weekend. The PLL has a lot planned throughout the year, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Stay Tuned, you won’t be disappointed!
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Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.
An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.
Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.
In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.
Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).
Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.
Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.