June 17, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in News, Recap with 5 comments
Week 9 was a bit of a stepping stone in the Major League Ultimate season. With the playoff picture already settled in the West and neither of the teams battling for the final spot in the East in action this week, this week was an opportunity for teams to work on fine tuning and, in some cases, getting healthy.
Here’s a look at this week’s games and what to watch for next week.
Boston Whitecaps 25 – 18 Philadelphia Spinners
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Now it’s official: after a 25-18 road loss to the Whitecaps, the 2012 AUDL Champions will not even have an opportunity to go for another title in Major League Ultimate’s inaugural season. The loss, their seventh straight, eliminates the Spinners from playoff contention.
With the win, Boston moves to 9-0 and is just a game away from an undefeated regular season. As good as Boston is, this would still be an impressive achievement. Each of the other teams in the East has split their games against the other competitors — don’t forget that the Spinners beat the Current and Rumble in weeks one and two, respectively. In the one-game professional format, it is simply not easy (especially on the road) to beat a team every time you face them.
Both teams have inconsequential games next weekend: the Whitecaps are at home to face the Rumble and the Spinners will host the Current. Neither game has playoff implications; there is a good chance some or all of the visting teams’ starters will rest, as they have a game against each other on Sunday to determine who will make the playoffs.
Vancouver Nighthawks 16 – 15 Portland Stags
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Vancouver and Portland have, for a few weeks now, been eliminated from playoff contention. That didn’t stop them from putting on quite a show in the MLU Live game of the week.
Oscar Pottinger and Kirk Savage had huge games for the Nighthawks and helped them rally back from a 13-11 deficit to pull even and eventually ahead by two before closing out the win, 16-15. The Nighthawks finished a season sweep of the Stags with the victory.
Cody Bjorklund continued to play outstanding ultimate for the Stags, who just didn’t have the depth to get wins in the extremely talented MLU Western Conference.
The Seattle Rainmakers, just as they did in their first meeting, made the San Francisco Dogfish look bad in the first half, dominating the game and heading to halftime with a five point advantage, up 8-3. Apparently, though, the Dogfish have decided they are a second half time.
Midway through the third quarter, the Dogfish used a 5-0 run to close the gap to one. The final score of the run came on a dropped pull, a once-a-season mistake, right?
Nope. After the Dogfish took a one point lead, the Rainmakers dropped another pull, giving the Dogfish another free break and their biggest lead of the game at 16-14 and 1:54 left in the game. The Rainmakers managed one more score but couldn’t get a break on the ensuing possession, even after a huge block by Matt Rehder in the endzone.
This, the second game between these two playoff-bound teams, was exactly like the first: the Rainmakers take a big lead early to watch it crumble away in the second half.
The win gives San Francisco clinches them the season series and, as long as they handle the Stags next weekend, guarantees them the Western Conference regular season title. It may also clinch them a distinct mental edge over the Rainmakers who will be looking over their shoulder in the second half of their playoff game, regardless of the size of their lead.
The two teams have their final regular season matchup next Sunday.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The New York Rumble and DC Current face off for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot next Sunday at 7 PM, the final regular season game. Despite lingering injuries for stars on both teams (Rumble — Chris Mazur, ankle; Dan Heijmen, knee // Current — Alan Kolick, hamstring), expect to see everyone on the field as they battle for a chance to face the Whitecaps at the end of the month.