Eduardo Curros – Field Reporter, All Lacrosse All The Time
The #3 seed Waterdogs faced off against the #2 seed Cannons in the second PLL semifinal game from Long Island, New York on Sunday. The Cannons took a 12-8 decision when these teams met in Week 8. This time around, Waterdogs exacted revenge, going on a 12-point run over the middle quarters to win handily 17-6. They will now play Archers in the final on September 24 in Philadelphia, with a chance to repeat as champions.
Waterdogs pull away with big second quarter
The majority of the first quarter was an exhibition of accuracy as Ryan Conrad opened the scoring unassisted at 2:22. The dynamic duo of Ethan Walker with help from Michael Sowers scored at 5:46 and Connor Kelly with an assist from Kieran McArdle followed at 7:30. The Cannons could only muster a single goal thanks to Jonathan Donville closing one with a pass from Asher Nolting with :04 left to make it 3-1 Waterdogs after one quarter.
The second quarter saw Waterdogs goalie Dillon Ward put on a show as his team kept the pressure on. Ward allowed a 2-point goal from Chris Aslanian thanks to a fantastic pass from Jonathan Donville 33 seconds into the quarter. But that goal would be the entire scoring for the rest of the half from the Cannons. Waterdogs proceeded to score the next 12 points on 11 goals through the third quarter. Michael Sowers scored unassisted at 2:56. Connor Kelly with help from Ethan Walker scored a 2-point goal at 3:31. Ethan Walker scored with a quick pass from Michael Sowers to expand the lead at 4:48. Kieran McArdle and Michael Sowers then scored at 9:49 and 10:46 respectively to give Waterdogs a commanding 9-3 halftime lead.
Waterdogs continue to pour it on
The Cannons’ woes continued in the third quarter as Waterdogs extended their lead. Charlie Hayes, Zach Currier and Connor Kelly each scored unassisted at 2:02, 2:08, and 4:38. Ethan Walker reunited with Kieran McArdle at 7:07. Michael Sowers scored thanks to help from Jack Hannah at 8:08. Kieran McArdle and Zach Currier would team up to score eight seconds later. Cannons netminder Colin Kirst looked frustrated as the assault was unyielding. Matt Kavanagh finally broke the run with 27 seconds left in the quarter, but Zach Currier scored with two seconds left in the quarter for a 16-4 lead.
Asher Nolting and Marcus Holman scored at 2:55 and 4:38 of the fourth quarter. Connor Kelly responded for Waterdogs at 5:26 to make it 17-6. Tempers finally boiled over with less than two mins left, as Waterdogs ran out the clock while on a power play for the remainder of the game.
The potent Cannons offense we saw all season went out with a whimper, shooting a dismal 13.9% for the game. No Cannons player scored more than one goal on the day. Meanwhile, five different Waterdogs players had at least four points. Zach Currier went 12 of 17 on faceoffs, and led all players with 13 Ground Balls. Dillon Ward made 13 saves in the win.
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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.