The time has come. We are heading into the final week of the regular season for the inaugural Premier Lacrosse League season. With one game left for each team, there is still a lot at stake for most of these teams. With a league filled with depth on each roster and close games each week, this last game means a lot for their playoff pictures. Here is what each team needs for a playoff birth, and a shot at the first PLL championship.
The Archers, Atlas and the Redwoods all have a record of 4-5, so the Archers need to win against the Whipsnakes to give themselves the best chance. They also have the best score differential of these teams with 3, so as long as they don’t get blown out next week, they should have a safe seat at the 3 seed. This may be tough as the Whipsnakes are coming off their biggest win of the year, absolutely dominating against the Redwoods. The Archers had a hard fought game against the current top seed Chaos, which they lost 11-10 in overtime. The late addition of Joey Sankey has been huge for the archers offense, and Tom Schreiber has been playing some of his best lacrosse ever. If they can bring their A game this weekend, the Archers should be sitting pretty.
The Atlas are at a slight disadvantage compared to the Archers, because of their -10 score differential. This playoff system is heavily based on score differential due to the small numbers of teams in the league and with so many teams having such similar records. This week the Atlas see the Chaos for an 8 pm game under the lights. Could not be a more perfect setting for a huge game that means so much to both teams. The Atlas need to win and win big to get in and give themselves a chance at the 3 seed and an easier road to the championship. The Atlas had a huge win this weekend, having a good comeback win against the Chrome, showing this team will not go down without a fight. The Chaos have the best record in the league right now, and a win this weekend will give them the top seed in the playoffs. Coming off a big overtime win vs the Archers, they can keep the momentum rolling and lead with a strong foot forward into the playoffs.
The Redwoods are currently out of the playoff picture, sitting in fifth place due to their score differential of -13, the worst in the league (YOIKES!). This gives them the toughest chance to make the last playoff spot. A win may not even be enough at this point; they need about a 8 goal victory to keep their playoff dreams alive. Coming off of a tough loss to the Whipsnakes in Hamilton, the Redwoods got ran over in a score of 17-4. Although the redwoods were missing Matt Kavanagh and Eddie Glazner, a loss like that this late in the season can not happen if you expect to be playing the last week in Philly. Glazner has been known to be a big piece of the Redwoods defense, as he is the big communication piece of this unit, and they simply looked lost without him this weekend. If Glazner can come back soon and the offense has their best game yet, the redwoods may live to see another day.
The Chaos clinched a playoff seat in Week 8 after they had beaten the Redwoods 13-10. Win or lose, they stay in a top 2 seed due to their 7-2 record. The Chaos have been on their A game for the last few weeks, specifically their defense. Jarrod Neumann has emerged this season as one of the best defenseman in the world, and is now known as an offensive 2-point threat. Josh Byrne getting added back to the roster and having a big day Saturday, including a overtime game winner, make this team someone no one wants to see these next few weeks.
The Whipsnakes are the only other team who has clinched a playoff spot. Starting the season off as one of the hottest teams, they are starting to hit their stride late into the regular season. If the Chaos lose and the Whipsnakes win next week, the Whips can take the top seed in the playoffs, knocking out the Chaos from their spot. The Whips manhandled the Redwoods the other night, and if they can keep up dominant defensive performances and if everyone on their offense has big days like they did the other night, not much is stopping the Whipsnakes from taking it all.
Unfortunately, the Chrome have no chance of making the playoffs. Early season struggles stuck around and they dug themselves too deep of a hole to get out of. Currently with a record of 2-7, hopefully the Chrome can end the season on a high note and focus on areas to improve on for next season. They can also get ready for their end of the year games, and compete to make sure they get the first pick in next years draft.
This regular season has been nothing but spectacular all year, and this last week and the playoffs should not disappoint. This weekend could have some real tell all’s.