A late great philosopher once said, "hungry dogs run faster". That proved to be true yesterday during the PLL semifinals as both underdogs came away from their matchups with the dub and will be moving on to the championship game in Philly next Sunday. Pretty fitting when you think about it.
For the first time in PLL history, the Whipsnakes will not be playing in the championship game. Three straight trips to the title game and now that run is over after the Waterdogs got their revenge from last season and sent the Whips home for good. Up next for the Aqua Pups will be the only other team to be playing in their 3rd straight title game, the defending champion Chaos. The same team that went 2-8 in the regular season. They won TWO games in the regular season, and now after 2 wins in the playoffs they are going to Philly to defend their crown. Live look at the haters and doubters, of which there were many, right now.
Chaos lost the championship game to the Whipsnakes in the 2020 bubble, won the championship against the Whipsnakes last year, and now will have an opportunity to go back-to-back despite the fact that they were the 2nd worst team in the league during the regular season. The Waterdogs are now just the 4th team to make it to the finals, and finally got themselves a hard-earned boop from ownership they've been after for long.
Game 1: Waterdogs 11 - 10 Whipsnakes
The thing about Michael Sowers is that he's a freak. He's the fastest kid alive. And the moment he gets anywhere near the cage without a defender already touching him, it's too late. He's going to score and there's quite honestly nothing you can do about it. He had a hat trick in the first half to get the Waterdogs going, but it was the 4th quarter hat trick from Kieran McArdle that sealed the deal for the Pups.
Kieran McArdle has been the best attackman in the league this year and that's a cold hard fact. He was 2nd in points during the regular season, led the league in assists, and has had 7 points in the playoffs so far. Somehow he wasn't an all-star this year but he'll just have to mess around and win a Championship Game MVP instead.
The biggest difference maker in this game, however, was Dillon Ward in net for the Waterdogs. 17 saves on the day for the guy who just led the Colorado Mammoth to an NLL Championship in June. Now he's playing for his 2nd championship of the summer, and he's only getting better as the weeks go on. But in order to win that 2nd championship, he'll have to go up against a bunch of the same Buffalo Bandits players he had to face in the NLL Finals after the Chaos took down the Archers.
Game 2: Chaos 9 - 7 Archers
I know I already put this goal up at the top of the blog but holy shit that was so sick and deserves to get seen again. Speaking of seeing it again…
What a day out of Clooch. The Backhand Bandit picked a helluva day to have his best game of the year. 3 goals on the afternoon and each of them were pure filth. The type of goals that can completely demoralize your opponent. The Archers defense did everything you could possibly ask them to do against this Chaos team. They held Josh Byrne and Dhane Smith to just one goal each. But when those guys were getting shut down, the Chaos had other weapons who could step up. 3 goals out of Cloutier, and 3 goals out of Kyle Jackson were the difference maker.
The Archers received a combined 3 points out of the trio of Marcus Holman, Grant Ament, and Will Manny, and just didn't have anybody else stepping up to take over. Seems like it might be time for some major changes for that Archers lineup.
But in the meantime, the Chaos are playing their best lacrosse of the summer. That's not saying much since they were terrible in the regular season. But this is what they do. They sandbag the regular season and focus on when the wins actually matter in the playoffs. Then they have this edge to them that makes them an absolute son of a bitch to play against. The Waterdogs are also playing their best lacrosse of the summer. They've had the hardest path to the championship so far with the Atlas and Whipsnakes, and they've looked great in both of those games so far. I know it's NFL season right now and the scheduling here for the PLL couldn't possibly be worse. But you're going to want to find a way to save a screen to put on ABC this Sunday at 3pm, because this championship game is going to kick a ridiculous amount of ass. All I'm saying is the last time the PLL championship was played in Philly, it was a Philly guy scoring the game winner in overtime. I wouldn't be surprised if history repeats itself this time.