AUDL Week 8 Recap: The Race For The Final Playoff Spots Is Heating Up

The DC Breeze's Joe DiPaula makes a huge layout D against the Empire.
Photo by Sandy Canetti — UltiPhotos.com

As teams start to separate into tiers in the AUDL, the battle for the third and final playoff spot in each Division is starting to get interesting. In the East, New York is threatening Philadelphia for the #2 spot as Rochester is rising up looking for that coveted last berth.

In the Midwest, Minnesota laid down a statement win as the Alleycats stumbled again against the Wildfire.

Here’s a look at this weekend’s games from around the AUDL.

Toronto Rush 28 – 18 Philadelphia Phoenix

The Toronto Rush extended their undefeated streak to eight games as they made clear to the Philadelphia Phoenix who was at the top of the Eastern Division.

In their last meeting, the Rush came away with the slimmest of victories — a 26-25 win in Philadelphia. This time, however, the Rush got the easy W.

The game was close in the first quarter and the Rush only had a two point lead at halftime, but they outscored the Phoenix 18-10 in the second half. The usual suspects for Toronto — Cam Harris and Mark Lloyd — were outstanding, combining for many of the team’s scores and assists. David Brandolph played well for the Phoenix, notching six assists.

The loss moved Philly to 5-2; they still have a sizable lead over the New York Empire in the race for the 2nd playoff spot in the East.

Rochester Dragons 14 – 12 Philadelphia Phoenix

A day after their tough loss to the Rush, Philadelphia fell victim to the dreaded road back-to-back game two, as they lost to the Rochester Dragons 14-12 on Sunday.

Rochester has put up an excellent 3-1 record at home — they have lost only to Toronto.

This game was — as the scoreline indicates — an ugly, turnover-heavy one, as high winds made advancing the disc difficult. The game had a combined 100+ turnovers and field position was more important than clean offensive play.

Max Rick had a game-high four goals and just two turnovers for Rochester.

The Dragons are now just a game and a half back from New York for the third and final playoff spot in the East. They are 4-2 since an 0-4 road start to the season.

DC Breeze 22 – 20 New Jersey Hammerheads

The DC Breeze traveled north for road games this weekend and split the weekend 1-1, a good result in the AUDL.

Their win came against the lowly New Jersey Hammerheads, who fell to 1-7 on the season.

This was not an easy win for the Breeze. They had the Hammerheads on the ropes with a five point lead with under ten minutes to go in the game, but Marques Brownlee (7G/1A/2D) tore through the Breeze defense to bring the Hammerheads within one at 21-20 with just over two minutes remaining. The Breeze managed one late goal to stave off a huge comeback from New Jersey.

Evan Feeney (1G/5A/2D) and Jon Pressimone (4G/2A) led the way for the Breeze.

New York Empire 23 – 13 DC BreezeĀ 

The New York Empire returned home after nearly a month on the road and took care of business against a DC Breeze team in the second game of a back-to-back.

The Empire jumped out to an early 7-3 first quarter lead with a pair of upwind/downwind breaks and a buzzer beater from Billy Katz to to CJ Oulette.

The Breeze closed the gap to two by halftime, getting a big buzzer beater of their own to close the first half.

It was all Empire in the second half, though. They extended the lead in the third quarter with three straight scores to start the half and pulled away to the ten point victory.

The Empire, now 4-3, will have a chance to overtake Philadelphia for second place in the East next weekend, as the Phoenix travel to Brooklyn for the first time this season.

Minnesota Wind Chill 26 – 9 Cincinnati Revolution

In the biggest blowout in AUDL history, the Minnesota Wind Chill walloped the Revolution in Minneapolis to move into fourth place in the Midwestern Division.

The game was already over by halftime, when Minnesota lead 18-4.

The statement game from Minnesota could signal a renewed energy and effort for a team that many expected to be one of the top teams in the Midwest. They are now 3-2 against the teams other than the Madison Radicals and Windy City Wildfire, the top two teams in the division.

Unfortunately for the Wind Chill, their next two games are against the Radicals and Wildfire — two losses would put them five games south of .500. Their three remaining games against the Alleycats will likely decide the final playoff spot in the Midwest.

Madison Radicals 26 – 20 Cincinnati Revolution

The Madison Radicals didn’t demolish Cincinnati like the Wind Chill did, but they still came away with another victory at home, where they are 4-1.

David Schleicher had six goals, two assists, and no turnovers for the Radicals, who needed a late string of goals to take down the motivated Revolution.

Ryan Gorman, Isaac Jeffries, and Eddie Mack all played well for the Revolution, who hung close with Madison throughout most of the game. Tired legs may have been a factor late, however, as the Radicals outscored the Revolution 9-5 in the fourth quarter.

Cincinnati is now in last place in the Midwest with a record of 3-8.

Windy City Wildfire 26 – 22 Indianapolis Alleycats

The Alleycats put up a good fight, but still couldn’t find the winning formula against the Wildfire, who won their seventh game in a row.

They did it this week without league assist leader Brodie Smith — they didn’t need him.

AJ Nelson continued his quest for league MVP, this week notching seven goals, four assists, five blocks, and just one turnover. That’s a ridiculous stat line on a team stacked with talent. He leads the league in scoring and plus/minus with 55 goals and an absurd 105 +/-.

The Wildfire are playing the best ultimate in the Midwest right now and look like the favorites to take the Midwestern spot in the finals, where they would play at home in Chicago in early August. They will have to get past a bolstered Radicals team whose Wisconsin players have finally joined the squad.

 

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