Blaze Riorden, while also having one of the best names in Lacrosse, also has one of the best resumes. Reigning MVP, 3x PLL Goalie of the Year, and 2021 champion, he has proven that his absolute dominance can provide a team with more winning ability.
However, this year, the team’s success has been below expectations. I personally predicted this team to go 6-4 and go 3rd in the league, but they haven’t been able to prove that sort of worth.
However, although team success isn’t as stellar, Blaze continues to light up the league with his outstanding play. His statistics are great and even compared to other years, he is still the top dog.
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Ghost of Blaze Present
Blaze Riorden has shown his true worth this season in quantity and quality. He’s saving 54% of shots on goal, which is 3rd out of the consistent starters. That may not seem too impressive, but he leads the league with the highest number of saves so far this year with 86.
Some may cite the fact that he has allowed 80 whole goals this season, the second worst out of the PLL. However, I counter with this; He has received the second most shots on goal in the league at 166 and still manages to save over half of them.
The Chaos team this year has been inconsistent on defense. They have the second most scores allowed per game, the lowest in caused turnovers, the least amount of ground balls, and the second most scores against. But even on that high of a number of shots, he still manages to save 54% and hasn’t saved less than 40% and fewer than 10 shots in a game all season.
Ghost of Chaos Past
What convinces me that Blaze is still having an MVP-caliber year is what he’s lost from last year’s team. The 2021 Chaos defense was no joke.
What really frustrates me is that the Chaos defense cannot take advantage of turnover opportunities. Last year, there were 4 Chaos defensemen in the top 20 for caused turnovers, with every one of them in double digits. This year, the closest player to the top 20 is their LSM and SSDM with 4 a piece at No. 26.
The Chaos defense isn’t bad by any stretch. They just don’t fit the standard for a championship-level team. That’s one of the differences between last year and this one; The cohesive play of the defensive unit
Ghost of Lacrosse Future
No doubt in my mind that Blaze should be taking home Goalie of the Year again. He’s been outstanding, even with an insufficient stretch by the Chaos defense. However, he has shown he still has a lot left in the tank, and there’s no slowing him down.
His production this season is outstanding. He may not have the 61% save percentage, but he very well might by the end of the year. They play two of the best offenses in the Atlas and Archers in the next four weeks, but I believe Blaze will end the year on a high note. With some wins in the books and a couple more saves, Blaze will prove why he’s still the same MVP we saw in 2021.