Monday, August 3, 2020

The Game-Winners

Okay, okay.

TigerBlog knows he still owes you the answers to the trivia questions from Thursday. He was going to go there Friday, and then the news about the Chi Family Fund For Excellence and Inclusion came along.

That left today - until he saw the two Princeton alums who scored overtime goals in the Premier Lacrosse League over the weekend.

So you'll have to wait for those answers, unless you already looked them up on And it won't be tomorrow, because he has something else planned for then.

Don't worry. He'll get to them.

And to keep that trivia theme going, he'll give you one more question: Which Princeton men's lacrosse player has scored the most career points without ever being named first-team All-Ivy League?

He'll even answer that one in a few paragraphs.

First, though, there is PLL lacrosse.

This is Year 2 of the PLL, which has a different model than other leagues. There are seven teams, up one from a year ago, and those teams do not have home cities.

In Year 1, the league went from venue to venue, usually with two games on Saturday and one on Sunday. Then it was off to another spot the next week.

That was the plan again this year, except that the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change of plans.

Instead, the entire league season was to be played in a two-week span in Utah. The first week would be group stage games, with four per team.

Those games were to set up the playoff round, which is single elimination. That begins tomorrow.

There are three Princeton alums who are playing in Utah, and they've all made dramatic impacts.

TB will start with the Archers, who feature Tom Schreiber and Ryan Ambler.

The Archers won their first three games before falling yesterday to the Whipsnakes 17-11 in a game that determined the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The Archers game Friday night was particularly dramatic, as the team defeated the Chrome 13-12 in overtime.

Chrome had the lead in the final 15 seconds, only to have Schreiber tie it with an individual effort that maybe nobody else would have pulled off.

You can see that here:

This led to the game-winner, courtesy of Ambler.

If you're looking for underrated Princeton men's lacrosse players of all time, you might want to include Ambler on the list.

In fact, Ambler is the answer to the trivia question. He ranks 13th all-time at Princeton with 158 career points, and he's also eighth at Princeton with 92 career assists, and those numbers don't take into account that he is also among the program's all-time leaders in leadership and toughness.

He was a three-time All-Ivy pick as a Tiger before graduating in 2016 - two second-team selections and one honorable mention.

In the game Friday night, Ambler made one of the most extraordinary plays you will ever see a lacrosse player make for the Archers win.

Here is his overtime goal. Keep an eye on the catch that precedes the shot:

TB has watched that clip about, oh, a thousand times already and he marvels at the catch each time.

So that's Schreiber and Ambler.

Next up is Zach Currier. There is only one Zach Currier, and there is simply nobody who plays harder than he does. There's also nobody anywhere in any sport who hates losing as much as Currier does.

Currier is in his first year in the PLL after winning a Major League Lacrosse championship with the Denver Outlaws. He is with the Waterdogs, the expansion team in the league, one that had been close without a win in its first three games.

Currier was hurt off the opening face-off of the 'Dogs' first game, and he missed the second one. He seems to be fine right now.

In fact, Currier joined Ambler with an overtime goal of his own, giving the Waterdogs the first win in franchise history. Because of how great Currier is at all the intangibles, it's easy to forget that he's also good at the tangibles, as his 24 goals and 34 assists in his brilliant senior year at Princeton showed.

His overtime goal was shot with the kind of confidence that Currier brings to every situation:

Next up is the single-elimination phase.

The Waterdogs play in the second game of the Tuesday tripleheader, which starts with the Chrome against the Chaos at 5:30 Eastern. Then it's the Waterdogs and the Redwoods at 8, followed at 10:30 by the Archers and Atlas.

The semifinals will be held Thursday (the Whipsnakes are the top seed), and then the final is Sunday.

The first week of the PLL has been great to watch for every lacrosse fan. The games have also gotten prominent windows on NBC and NBC Sports Network, which were supposed to inundated with Olympic coverage instead.

As much as TB loves the Olympics, having all this lacrosse to watch has been a great substitute.

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