Last year Atlas LC scored 128 points, good for third in the league. The club’s performance was driven by the attack trio of Jeff Teat (22g,16a), Chris Gray (16g,16a), and Eric Law (18g,11a), all of whom ranked in the top 15 in points last season.
In addition to a formidable attack, Atlas boasts strong midfielders like Bryan Costabile and Romar Dennis. Dennis is fresh off winning the 2023 PLL Championship Series scoring title, mainly due to his impressive 2-point shot ability. And it’s likely he’ll be incorporating it more into their offense this summer, which could spell trouble for the Redwoods.
“The way that the 2-point line has elevated the game, and how quickly you have to get out and cover people… defensively (in training camp), we tried to focus on getting out and not allowing them to ramp up,” said Redwoods head coach Nat St. Laurent.
A John Grant Jr. Led Redwoods Offense
For the first time, John Grant Jr., pro lacrosse’s all-time leading goal scorer, will be on the sideline as an assistant coach leading the ‘Woods’ offense.
“I think it’s going to be a happy medium of that Canadian philosophy of indoor and the American philosophy of outdoor,” Redwoods captain and eight-time all-star Rob Pannell said. “No one has played them both more successfully than John Grant Jr… I’m excited to see the off-ball movement increase and guys creating space and keeping their defenders occupied.”
This hybrid offense is expected to include many elements from a Pairs offense scheme. The most significant ramification for the change in offensive philosophy will be the uptick in the two-man game for the Redwoods. Last season, the Redwoods had a 23% two-man rate (shots initiated off a pick), which was second to last in the league.
The goalie match-up had Jack Kelly in net for the Redwoods against Jack Concannon for Atlas.
In the first half Ryder Garnsey put on a clinic scoring five highlight reel goals for the Redwoods. Not to be outdone for Atlas were Xander Dickson with two and Chris Gray with absolute beautiful goals. The Redwoods led at the half by the narrowest of margins 7-6.
The second half saw Jules Heningburg and Wes Berg come to life to keep the majority of possession with the Redwoods. While Atlas had opportunities, Jack Kelly was sensational in net for the Redwoods en route to a 13-12 victory.
To The Game:
TD Ierlan got the Redwoods off to a quick start firing a laser to the top corner just 0:13 seconds into the game, but was answered by a shot just as impressive by Bryan Costabile just 0:11 seconds later.
Ryder Garnsey regained the lead for the Redwoods with two quick goals. The first was a great individual effort with a defenseman on his back at 7:23, and again 0:28 seconds later.
Xander Dickson got Atlas on the board on the power-play with a low to low shot from in front at 10:22, but Ryder Garnsey made an absolutely acrobatic set of plays to score at 11:48.
After one quarter, Redwoods 4 Atlas 2.
Charlie Bertrand scored with a behind the back shot off a Rob Pannell feed at 0:38 seconds, but was answered by Eric Law with a quick stick off a Jeff Teat pass at 1:12. Ryder Garnsey increased the lead to three finishing off Nakeie Montgomery’s feed at 2:12 for his fourth of the day, but a laser from the side of the net by Brendan Curry at 2:48 narrowed the Redwoods lead to 6-4.
Chris Gray brought Atlas within one goal with a beautiful one hand low to low shot at 4:12, followed by Xander Dickson with a bounce shot that beat Jack Kelly to tie the game.
Ryder Garnsey gave the Redwoods the lead once again when he caught a Rob Pannell pass and again made a highlight reel shot at 11:40.
At the half, Redwoods 7 Atlas 6.
Wes Berg opened the third quarter scoring finishing off a Nakeie Montgomery feed at 0:53 seconds to increase the Redwoods lead to two goals, followed by Ryder Garnsey with his sixth of the game with a laser to the bottom left of the net at 3:07.
Atlas got on the board again when Jeff Teat with a spin around shot beat Kelly at 4:38, followed by Eric Law with his second of the game off a Chris Gray feed at 5:20.
Myles Jones got on the board for the Redwoods with an absolute howitzer to the bottom right corner at 7:30, but Eric Law answered for Atlas again off a Chris Gray bounce pass at 8:30.
After three quarters, Redwoods 10 Atlas 9.
The Redwoods increased their lead when Jules Heningburg blasted a shot to the top corner at 1:55. Wes Berg scored the next two goals for the Redwoods, first with a quick stick off a Jules Heningburg feed at 3:25, followed by a dive across the crease at 3:56.
Bryan Costabile scored his second of the game for Atlas with an absolute laser at 5:22, followed by Eric Law finishing off a beautiful pass from Jeff Teat at 5:56. Xander Dickson converted a Jeff Teat pass at 11:17 to bring the game within one goal, but the Redwoods were able to hang on for the last 0:43 seconds for the win.
Final score, Redwoods 13 Atlas 12.
- Ryder Garnsey
- Jack Kelly
- Eric Law
- Shots on goal favored Atlas 26-23
- The faceoff battle went to Atlas 19-10
- Groundbaĺls were in favor of Atlas 38-25
- Eric Law 4g, 1a
- Jeff Teat 0g, 4a
- Xander Dickson 3g, 0a
- Ryder Garnsey 6g, 0a
- Wes Berg 3g, 1a
- Rob Pannell 0g, 4a
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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.