In game two of the Friday double header, Whipsnakes and Chrome were both looking to generate positive momentum heading into elimination play. The loser of this game would become the bottom seed in the elimination game, which meant they’d be taking on Atlas. Whips struggled in the first two games to find an offensive groove. Brad Smith looked more comfortable in their second game as the top option, closing the game with a flurry of three two pointers.
For Chrome, it’s been about their size and physicality. Colin Heacock and company have been physically imposing their will on defenders, leading to bruising offense that invokes a lot of the elements of the box lacrosse game with field lacrosse flair.
In this game, it was a low scoring affair by Sixes standards, as Chrome won 18-14. That total is in no small part due to the efforts of both goalies, Sean Sconone and Brian Phipps.
Sean Sconone saved 52% of the shots he saw and played the full game for the first time, making 13 saves. Phipps also played both halfs as well, making 13 saves.
“Brian Phipps was terrific,” said Whipsnakes Head Coach Jim Stagnitta, adding that he thought Phipps bailed them out multiple times in the game.
The second half saw plenty of offense from the Chrome, while the Whips once again struggled to get their offense going. Four different players scored for Chrome, including a two pointer for Cole Williams, giving them 5-1 first quarter lead.
It stretch further in the second quarter, with Williams, Justin Anderson, and Kevin Rogers scoring goals to push the Chrome to an 8-2 lead. A run would get the Whips back within 8-6. Keegan Khan was part of that run, being a little unorthodox for the Sixes games thus far by taking his man behind the net and attacking from X. He look comfortable and able to score from there.
In the third, Chrome found their groove again, and pushed their lead up the 12. Sean Sconone made timely stops, as the Whips were able to generate some quality chances but couldn’t put them home.
“I thought we went down eaerly and came back. So like that we had that fight,” said Phipps.
Will Perry hit a pair of two pointers in the 4th quarter to lead the Whips in a 7-4 quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the Chrome were able to secure the 18-14 victory. Chrome scoring was led by Logan Wisnauskas, who had four goals and an assist.
Jay Carlson’s four points led the Whips. Stagnitta is looking for more from some of this players, and has high expectations in particular for Brad Smith, who he said he expects to be the midfielders number one midfielder this summer and will lean on for offense.
Outside of that, it’ll be about playing team lacrosse for the Whips.
“When the shit hits the fan, we become very individual,” said Stagnitta, who wants to see more focus on team offense. “Can you win your matchup, and after that, you have to make good decision.”
For the Chrome, the focus was on turning the page from a tough Thursday loss.
“This feels good. A couple days ago one slipped away from us, we weren’t too happy about that, and today wanted to get back on track, and hope that we’d be going into tomorrow with a win,” said acting Chrome head coach Jacques Monte.
Monte also said he is happy with the Chrome’s level of fitness, and thinks their two way approach has helped with that.
“You don’t really specialize, and that’s helped us preserve our bodies. It’s put us in a position where the guys know how to play defense, and we’re just going to stick with it. In the end, our bodies are in pretty good position going into tomorrow,” Monte said.
The win means that Chrome will face Archers tomorrow, while the Whips will face Atlas in the second semi-final.
While the Whips are winless in round robin play, a quick look through PLL history says not to put much stock in “regular season” performance. The Chaos have gotten hot through the playoffs before after down regular seasons. In a tournament format like Sixes, and with the Atlas possibly shorthanded, the Whips may still surprise you.