The Waterdogs faced the Archers in this year’s Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) championship from Subaru Park in Philadelphia, PA.
Although the weather wasn’t cooperating, it didn’t damper the spirits on this day. Two star-laden teams battled tooth and nail to the final buzzer. Michael Sowers of the Waterdogs was looking to repeat as champion for the Waterdogs, while Tom Schreiber was looking for his first championship for the Archers.
The goaltending match-up had the mentor vs. the student, with Dillon Ward in net for the Waterdogs facing Brett Dobson in net for the Archers.
Although the first half belonged to the Archers getting out to a 10-4 lead. The never quit attitude of the Waterdogs made this a nailbiter in the second half. Pulling even 14-14 with less than five minutes to go, someone was going to be the hero. The league’s MVP Tom Schreiber proved once again why he was the greatest field player in the game. Deep into the shot clock, Schreiber fired a laser finding the net with 1:37 left to give the lead to the Archers. Jake Carraway nearly answered for the Waterdogs with seconds left. He fired a blast from beyond the arc. Dobson was able to make the save and preserve the win and the championship 15-14.
To The Game:
The opening minutes were a defensive struggle with neither team able to solve the all-star goaltending. Ryan Conrad finally solved Brett Dobson with a great individual effort coming from behind the net at 4:20. Mac O’Keefe tied the game with a blast just inside the arc off a Matt Moore feed at 6:08.
Michael Sowers gave the lead back to the Waterdogs, but a two-point blast from Ryan Aughavin put the Archers in the lead at 9:55 off a Mac O’Keefe pass. Grant Ament increased the lead off a Tre LeClaire pass at 10:45, followed by LeClaire himself scoring on a rebound with just 0:04 seconds left in the quarter.
After one quarter, Archers 5 Waterdogs 2.
The Archers continued the early barrage with Grant Ament scoring his second of the day at 0:56 seconds, followed by Matt Moore converting a Challen Rogers pass at 1:17. Tom Schreiber got on the board with a spectacular goal banked off the inside of the post at 2:42.
Ryan Conrad got the Waterdogs back on the board with his second of the game at 3:14, but Mac O’Keefe got his second of the day off a brilliant Ryan Aughavin feed 0:44 seconds later. Jake Carraway then fired a laser off a Michael Sowers pass at 4:54, but Reid Bowering answered finishing a Matt Moore feed at 7:16 for a 10-4 Archers lead.
The Waterdogs put together a run to end the half. Zach Currier won the faceoff and went straight at the net scoring unassisted 0:09 seconds later, followed by Connor Kelly with a turnaround shot off a Kieran McArdle pass at 9:23. Michael Sowers ended the quarter with a power-play goal, converting a Kieran McArdle pass with 0:07 seconds left.
At the half, Archers 10 Waterdogs 7.
Tre LeClaire opened the third quarter scoring on a great individual effort from the outside at 2:17, but was answered by Connor Kelly with a bounced shot at 2:57. Mike Sisselbeger then scored off the ensuing faceoff 0:06 seconds later.
Ethan Walker fired a rope from in close off a Jack Hannah pass at 6:48, followed by a 2-point bomb from Jake Carraway at 7:41 to bring the Waterdogs within one just one goal.
After three quarters Archers 12 Waterdogs 11.
Zach Currier opened the scoring to tie the game showing why they call him the “Swiss army knife”. Currier cut through the defense scoring off a one handed swim move at 2:46.
The Archers gained the lead back with goals from Mac O’Keefe and Tre LeClaire. On the LeClaire goal, Waterdogs goalie Dillon Ward was helped off the field after hurting his left knee on the play. Matt DeLuca finished the game for the Waterdogs.
Two power-play goals from the Waterdogs tied the game once again. Ryan Conrad finished a Michael Sowers pass, followed by Jake Carraway converting a Connor Kelly feed at 7:27.
Cue the dramatics:
Tom Schreiber gave the Archers the lead scoring deep into the shot clock at 10:23. Jake Carraway gave one final effort with a blast from beyond the arc but a brilliant save by Brett Dobson saved the game and the championship.
Final score, Archers 15 Waterdogs 14.
The Game MVP was Brett Dobson
The Three Stars:
1. Brett Dobson
2. Mac O’Keefe
3. Michael Sowers
- Shots on goal were 31-25 in favor of the Waterdogs.
- The faceoff battle went to the Archers 20-11.
- Ground balls had a slight advantage going to the Archers 39-34.
- Waterdogs went 3 for 3 on the power-play, while the Archers went 0 for 1.
- Jake Carraway 2g, 1 2-pt goal, 0a
- Michael Sowers 2g, 2a
- Ryan Conrad 3g, 0a
- Mac O’Keefe 3g, 1a
- Tre LeClaire 3g, 1a
- Matt Moore 1g, 3a
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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.