AUDL Week 9 Recap: New York Takes 2nd Place In The East

The AUDL's New York Empire.
Photo by Sandy Canetti — UltiPhotos.com

Here’s a look at the Week 9 games around the AUDL.

MIDWESTERN DIVISION

Madison Radicals 25 – 24 Minnesota Wind Chill

Despite almost letting the Wind Chill come from behind to steal a win, the Madison Radicals held on to complete the season sweep of Minnesota witha 25-24 victory.

After scoring 18 points and jumping out to a big lead in the first half, the Radicals lost their composure in the second half and let Minnesota back into the game.

“We have a tendency, that when we get ahead, everybody decides it’s time to for them to start working on whatever part of their game they feel is the weakest. So, there were a lot of throws you wouldn’t have seen in most of our games,” Radicals Coach Tim DeByl told a team reporter. “You can’t let up on the gas against anybody, especially against [Minnesota], that’s a good team.”

The Wind Chill slowly chipped away at the Radicals’ lead, eventually pulling to within one at 24-23 late in the fourth quarter. The Radicals scored on the ensuing point, but after earning a turnover, they gave it back to the Wind Chill who got back within one again at 25-24. With just twenty seconds remaining, the Radicals were able to run out the clock to take the win.

The loss sent the Wind Chill back to four games below .500 at 3-7, two and a half games behind Indianapolis (5-4) for the final Midwestern Division playoff spot. Minnesota has three more games against Indy — they will likely need wins in  at least two of them to have a shot at the playoffs.

Windy City Wildfire 21 – 9 Detroit Mechanix

The Windy City Wildfire (9-1) continued their winning ways with a blowout win over the Detroit Mechanix (3-8). The Wildfire have now won eight games in a row after a week two loss to the Radicals.

The Wildfire spread out the playing time and the scoring, but AJ Nelson still led the way on offense with two goals and three assists in the low-scoring affair.

The nine points scored by Detroit was second to only the Mechanix’s six point game against the Wind Chill as the lowest scoring performance in the AUDL. They have had a lot of trouble putting points on the board away from home. They generally play indoors in Michigan; it may be the adjustment to windy conditions that is causing them so many problems on offense.

Indianapolis Alleycats 27 – 23 Detroit Mechanix

The Mechanix played much better on Sunday on the road against the Alleycats, but Indianapolis came away with their fourth win in five games to move to 5-4 on the season.

Cameron Brock had six goals and three assists as Michael Ford added five assists, a goal, and a block to lead the Alleycats to the victory.

The Alleycats used a 3-0 run to pull away after a tight start to the game, making it 11-8. The Mechanix would hang around until later in the second half where they got back within one at 21-20. But the Alleycats responded immediately with another 3-0 run to extend the lead for good.

The Alleycats have a brutal schedule down the stretch, with three games against a rising Minnesota team and two against Madison. They hold a two and a half game lead over Minnesota for the final playoff spot.

EASTERN DIVISION

Philadelphia Phoenix 31 – 27 DC Breeze

The DC Breeze again flirted with victory over the Phoenix after leading for much of the game and being tied with Philadelphia heading into the fourth quarter. But with just six minutes to go in the game, the Phoenix went on a 4-0 run to pull away from the Breeze as they continued to show their prowess late in the second half of games.

Matt Esser had eight goals and David Brandolph had nine assists to lead the Phoenix to their third straight win over the Breeze.

DC Captain Glenn Poole didn’t see the fourth quarter letdown as the core of the problem in the game. “We let up three buzzer beaters in each of the first three quarters and couldn’t capitalize on multiple break opportunities in the first half,” he said. Neither team led by more than two until Philly went on their late run in the 4th.
The Breeze still have an opportunity to make the playoffs, but with two games remaining against the undefeated Toronto Rush, they would need some help from either Philadelphia or New York down the stretch.

Rochester Dragons 26 – 20 New Jersey Hammerheads

Rochester continued to protect their home turf with a 26-20 win over the Hammerheads on Saturday evening. The Dragons (5-6) are now within one game of .500 and a game and a half behind Philadelphia for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

After a dreadful 0-4 start to the season, the Dragons are 5-2. But with three more games against the Rush, it will be difficult for Rochester to stay close in the playoff race.

KJ Dziak had five goals, four assists, and a block for the Dragons in just 19 points played, an efficient and impressive performance.

The Dragons are now 4-1 at home; their only loss came to the Rush. Their upcoming games at home are against the Breeze, Rush, and Empire.

Toronto Rush 33 – 15 New Jersey Hammerheads

The Toronto Rush continued their undefeated season with a huge blowout win over the Hammerheads at home.

Jeff Lindquist had seven assists and four blocks as Mark Lloyd had three goals, three assists, and four blocks to send home a happy Rush crowd.

The Hammerheads have now lost nine in a row after a week one win over Rochester.

It is still possible for the Hammerheads to make the playoffs, despite a dreadful run of games. They do not play the Rush again (responsible for three of their losses) — if they were to win out their season against the Breeze, Phoenix, and Empire, they would still have a chance to get into the playoffs.

New York Empire 19 – 18 Philadelphia Phoenix

The New York Empire got the better of the Philadelphia Phoenix in round one of their three back-to-back games in three consecutive weeks, but it was not a smooth victory at home in Brooklyn.

The Empire jumped out to a big first half lead and looked like they were on cruise control again for a home win. After scoring three straight to start the third quarter and going into the fourth up by six, it seemed to be already over. However, the Phoenix again proved to be a second half team, opening the fourth with three rapid scores — all breaks — to trim the lead to three.

The Empire, with heads down and uncertainty in their throws, barely clung to victory. With just seconds left in the game and New York up by one, Husayn Carnegie got trapped by a double team and threw an errant hammer near midfield. The Phoenix worked it down and took a shot into the endzone as time expired, but it was blocked by a huge layout from CJ Ouellette to preserve the win.

Ouellette finished with two goals, an assist, and three big blocks. Ben Ivers led the Empire in scoring with four goals.

The win put the Empire (5-3) into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Division with two fewer games played than the Phoenix (6-4). The teams face off again next weekend in Philadelphia.

The Phoenix, despite the loss, have to feel good about their chances at home against the Empire after dominating New York in the fourth quarter. The Empire will need to get back to form if they want to have a chance on the road.

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