MLU Week 2 Recap: Four Teams Stay Undefeated

Vancouver Nighthawks v. San Francisco Dogfish.
Photo by Jeff Bell — UltiPhotos.com

After two weeks of play in the MLU, the playoff picture is already starting to be a part of the conversation. With just ten games in the season, every game counts. Teams like Portland (0-3) are quickly seeing their chances of making the postseason fade away.

Despite close games in the East, the Spinners (2-0) and the Whitecaps (2-0) have established a big early lead. Here’s a look around the league this week.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

San Francisco Dogfish 18 – Vancouver Nighthawks 17

The Dogfish, with a score with under ten seconds to play coming out of a timeout, move to 2-0 with the 18-17 win over the Nighthawks in Vancouver.

The Dogfish jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, and held that advantage at halftime, up 10-7. But a 4-0 run by the Nighthawks gave them their first lead of the game at 11-10.

Marc Leduc had a big game for the Nighthawks, scoring five goals and getting some big defensive efforts after turnovers. But his efforts wouldn’t be quite enough. Despite trading points and keeping the game tied until 17-17, Vancouver couldn’t find that one last block, as San Francisco called a timeout just yards outside the endzone and with seven seconds on the clock.

They punched it in immediately following the timeout, and Vancouver couldn’t answer in the waning seconds of the game.

The Dogfish move to 2-0 and get set for a battle with the Rainmakers (2-0) next weekend in San Francisco.

Seattle Rainmakers 18 – Portland Stags 12

With Portland again missing some of its younger talent (notably Khalif El-Salaam) for Regionals, they again got easily taken care of by the Rainmakers in a game similar to their preseason matchup.

Seth Wiggins had four assists and two goals, and veteran handler Adam Holt had a strong game with two assists, a goal, and a big layout D.

Eli Friedman played with the Stags for the first time this week and did make an impact with three assists and a score. But the Stags could never find any momentum, despite tying it up late in the first half. Seattle answered by scoring a quick two to take a 9-7 lead into halftime, which they extended to three coming out in the third quarter. They would pull away for the blowout win.

The referees made themselves known in this game as well, issuing multiple flagrant fouls as the two teams got chippy with each other.

With the loss, Portland fell to 0-2, but got to head to Portland for their home opener against the Nighthawks.

Watch the full game footage.

Vancouver Nighthawks 21 – Portland Stags 17

Things didn’t get any better in front of a home crowd for the Stags. Timmy Perston had a big game with four goals and two assists, but the Stags couldn’t catch up to the Nighthawks.

Portland again allowed a pair of breaks going into halftime, allowing Vancouver to extend their lead to three, which became five by the end of the third quarter. It’s simply very difficult to come back from a big deficit like that, especially on the MLU field, which makes offense easier with the extra space for swings and hucks.

Vancouver played the first back-to-back MLU games this season, something we’ve seen have, at least anecdotally, a big effect in the AUDL. They didn’t seem to be fatigued and kept the Stags from ever getting close in the second half.

With Portland falling to 0-3, their playoff chances already look bleak. With only seven games left in their season, they would almost need to win out to have a shot at the postseason.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Boston Whitecaps 20 – DC Current 19

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As Boston hit the road to Washington to take on the Current, we suspected we might see our first East Coast blowout game. But, once again, we see a lot of parity in the East, as the Whitecaps had to hold off a last-minute hail mary to seal the victory to move to 2-0.

Jeff Graham deserves player of the week honors after five blocks, four assists, and three goals to lead the Whitecaps to the road win. Brandon “Muffin” Malacek had a nice game as well, opening up the field with hucks and a handful of assists.

The game was tight until very late in the fourth quarter, when the Whitecaps’ Jon Hirshberger got a big stop in the endzone. Boston worked patiently as time ticked down, when Peter Prial found a streaking Jeff Graham deep in the endzone for the huge break to put Boston up 20-18.

After the Current scored their offensive point, Boston had a chance to seal the game, but DC came up with a goal line stand, taking a quick timeout to set up their offense with 23 seconds on the clock. A big huck downfield after the timeout didn’t connect with a leaping Sean Keegan, but a foul brought it back and added ten seconds to the clock. They would put up another huck, which floated into the endzone, got tipped, and then layout D-ed by Boston’s Seth Reinhardt to secure the victory.

Watch the full game footage.

Philadelphia Spinners 19 – New York Rumble 17

In the MLU preseason, the Spinners laid a beatdown on the Rumble on a neutral site in New Jersey, but the Rumble were without some of their strongest players and both teams were working on lines and strategies.

This game, as you might expect, was much tighter. Philly jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but the Rumble kept it tight before taking a 9-8 lead into halftime as Dan Heijmen found Robbie Gillies deep for the late 2nd quarter score.

The Spinners would retake the lead thanks to some strong 3rd quarter defense, and hold onto a one to two point advantage for most of the fourth quarter. But after a big layout block from the Rumble’s Jonathan Cox, Heijmen, the player of the game, hit Chris Mazur deep to tie the game at 17-17.

David Baer found Art Shull, who finished with four assists and two goals, deep in the endzone to give the Spinners a one point lead. New York worked it all the way down the field with just 25 seconds on the clock before turfing the disc yards outside the endzone to deliver the game to the Spinners, who move to 2-0 on the season. The Rumble, despite playing two close games, find themselves at the bottom of the table with an 0-2 record and -5 point differential.

Watch the full game footage.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

DC Current (0-2) @ Philadelphia Spinners (2-0) – May 4, 6 PM EST

The huge rivalry continues at the Spinners’ home opener. Expect another nailbiter, DC is hungry for a win after dropping two heartbreakers.

Seattle Rainmakers (2-0) @ San Francisco Dogfish (2-0) – May 4, 7 PM PST

The clash of the West Coast titans will happen in San Francisco as each team looks to jump to the top of the power rankings and the Conference standings.

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