Yep, you read that right. It’s not another new Rambo movie but another man named Rambo who was the hero on the lacrosse field on Sunday in the Premier Lacrosse League’s championship game.
Never heard of the Premier Lacrosse League? Not many people have outside of the lacrosse community. It was just barely on my radar.
The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) is a professional lacrosse league with a goal of going big to make lacrosse a major league sport by providing lacrosse players with salaries, health care and league stability. The PLL played its first season with six teams (Archers, Atlas, Chaos, Chrome, Redwoods and Whipsnakes) which played on a tour in 12 different cities. The league is direct competition to Major League Lacrosse (MLL) which has had difficulty in growing the sport. The PLL also had a television agreement with NBC.
In the PLL’s championship game televised on NBC from Philadelphia, the Whipsnakes’ Matt Rambo scored the tying goal to force overtime with 21 seconds remaining in regulation, then buried a championship-clinching shot 28 seconds into the extra frame to claim the Premier Lacrosse League’s first championship, a 12-11 triumph over Redwoods.
Rambo, who notched three goals and three assists, earned championship game MVP honors two days after winning the league’s regular-season MVP award.
The late rally saved the Whips from a potential collapse. Jim Stagnitta’s crew was up 9-2 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, but Redwoods turned things around quickly with a late spurt in the third frame. Jack Near, Ryder Garnsey and Sergio Perkovic scored in the final three minutes, with Perkovic’s goal coming from 2-point range, to cut the deficit to 9-6 going into the fourth quarter.
That was the start of a 9-1 run for Redwoods, capped off by goal by Joe Walters with 1:36 remaining to give the team its first lead of the game since going up 1-0.
That set up the first of Rambo’s heroic actions which came out of a Whipsnakes timeout with 30 seconds remaining. He took a pass from Drew Snider and found space right down the middle to run in and equalize.