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Why healthy Grant Ament is cheat code for Utah Archers offense

Grant Ament Grant Ament

Even in a talent-rich league, bringing a former Attackman of the Year out of the box is a pretty rare luxury to have. 

That’s what the Utah Archers are able to do with Grant Ament. After dealing with injuries for the majority of the last two seasons, the Penn State product is back to his best. 

“Health is wealth at the end of the day,” Ament said after his three-goal performance against the Philadelphia Waterdogs this past Saturday. “Everybody who knows me knows that I wasn’t healthy until the last few games of the year last year, and good things happened. Being able to get through training camp without an injury, I’m very happy with that.” 

In 2023, a hamstring injury meant Ament spent most of the regular season coming out of the box. While he showed flashes of his 2021 Attackman of the Year level in the regular season, it wasn’t until he moved back to attack during the Cash App Playoffs that he really flourished. He notched 11 points (4G, 1T, 5A) in the Archers’ two-game run to the title. 

In 2024, with Utah’s starting offense fully healthy, Ament is back at midfield to start the season. Against the Waterdogs, his performance underscored how difficult Utah’s offense is to match up at its best. 

Philadelphia opened the game by guarding Ament with a short stick, prioritizing the matchups against Tom Schreiber, Connor Fields, Mac O’Keefe and Matt Moore. 

Seeing that, Ament inverted against Christian Scarpello twice in the first eight minutes. On both, he scored on an inside roll after the Waterdogs refused to slide.

“It was great to see him really aggressive early,” Archers head coach Chris Bates said. “We called his number. We want him against a shorty to get to the front of the cage and sort of not fish for feeds, but be a real offensive threat. If it’s a simple look, take it, bump it to the adjacent, get a hockey assist. But they didn’t slide early, he did a great job.”

Once it became apparent that Ament would abuse a short-stick matchup, the Waterdogs double-poled the midfield and left a shorty on O’Keefe. O’Keefe proceeded to score two goals in the second quarter. And, perhaps more notably, Ament even took Liam Byrnes off the dribble with a sweep to his left hand, finishing a sweet on-the-run rip that went five-hole on Dillon Ward. 

That’s prime Ament right there. 

Utah has no shortage of offensive threats. But Ament playing like he did on Saturday changes the dynamic. 

Between Ament’s injury, Moore’s hamstring issue late in the season and Fields’ separated shoulder in the semifinals, the Archers’ starting offense was hardly ever fully healthy in 2023. 

Now, in 2024, a full-strength Ament creates matchup issues all over the field. Saturday proved what happens when he gets the shorty. Otherwise, Schreiber and Fields will always get a pole. 

So that leaves O’Keefe and Moore. If a team shorts O’Keefe, he and Fields go to their two-man game immediately to generate either a switch or an open step-down for O’Keefe. Leave a SSDM on Moore and he’ll isolate and use his power to get a good shot off. 

“It’s really easy to be confident when you’re playing with Tom Schreiber, Ryan Ambler, Mac O’Keefe, Connor Fields and Matt Moore,” Ament said. “Any one of those guys can make a play at any time. If you don’t win your matchup, fine. Bang it forward and Fieldsy will do something crazy and go win his matchup. It’s a super fun offense to play in.”

Whether Ament continues to play midfield or not, the threat he poses completes this Archers offense. And he’s happy to make a difference wherever he fits best for the club. 

“I definitely was challenged a bit this week and played with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder,” he said regarding playing midfield. “But, at the end of the day, we’re trying to run this thing back. So whatever I can do to help get W’s in the scoring column, I’ll do whatever it takes. D-mid, O-mid, whatever we need.”