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AUDL Week 12 Recap: NYC, Philly Clinch Playoffs

DC Breeze v. Philadelphia Phoenix
Photo by Pete Guion — UltiPhotos.com

New York and Philadelphia clinched playoff spots with victories this weekend as Indianapolis come one stop closer to locking up the final berth out of the Midwest.

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

EASTERN DIVISION

Philadelphia Phoenix 23 – 21 DC Breeze

With two wins on the weekend and a pair of Rochester losses, the Philadelphia Phoenix have booked the final playoff spot in the East and will face the Empire in the first round later this month. They didn’t play their best this week against the Breeze, allowing DC to make a run back into the game late in the second half.

However, the Phoenix held on to a slim lead and closed out the win, sweeping the DC Breeze during the regular season.

The Phoenix have now played fifteen games — they had a game against New Jersey canceled earlier this season. The league has not yet announced if it will be made up (the result would not matter for the playoffs).

Philly now has to prepare to face New York, a team they’ve never beaten, in the playoffs.

New York Empire 22 – 9 New Jersey Hammerheads

The New York Empire rebounded after a loss to New Jersey last week and clinched the #2 seed in the Eastern Division playoffs with a 22-9 victory over the Hammerheads at home in Brooklyn.

The Hammerheads were unable to figure out the Empire’s containment 1-3-3 zone and suffered an anemic offensive performance, scoring just three points in the first half.

Jack Marsh returned for the Empire, playing for the first time in over a month, and had a nice “welcome back” moment with a big layout in the endzone for a score in the first half. He also showed some signs of rust, making some poor throws in the windy conditions at Aviator Field.

The Empire travel north this weekend for their last regular season meeting with the undefeated Toronto Rush. The Empire won’t be holding back, Empire handler Joe “Goose” Santosus told Ultiworld. They’ll be looking to gain a mental edge for the playoffs by handing the Rush their first loss in the playoffs.

Toronto Rush 28 – 18 Rochester Dragons

The Toronto Rush continued to show their home dominance, moving to 12-0 on the season with a ten point win over the Dragons. Despite the fact that Rochester has played much better since a rough start to the season, they never were able to get fully back into the playoff race. With the two losses this weekend to the Rush, they fall to 6-9 on the season.

Both teams will face New York next weekend. The Rush will be missing a number of their key players, who will be playing with Team Canada at Potlatch in Seattle, WA. That could give the Empire hope for a road upset, finishing the Rush’s undefeated season with just three games to play.

The Dragons hope to get another win over the Empire in Rochester. The Dragons have not lost at home to anyone except the Rush.

Philadelphia Phoenix 20 – 17 New Jersey Hammerheads

New Jersey, after snapping their ten game losing streak with a win over the Empire last week, is back to their woeful ways with two straight losses this weekend to New York and Philadelphia.

Although they played much better against the Phoenix, they could not hold off a late rally and watched Philadelphia go from being tied with them 17-17 to winning by three in just three minutes.

The Phoenix moved to 9-6 on the season. New Jersey is in last place, sitting at 2-12.

Toronto Rush 26 – 20 Rochester Dragons

Rochester, as usual, played better at home, but could not rally past a tough Rush team, falling by six. The two weekend losses eliminated Rochester from playoff contention.

The Rush have played some tight games against Rochester away from home. Dave Wheeler had seven goals for the Dragons, but they couldn’t overcome great performances from Mark Lloyd (2G, 3A, 3D) and Jeff Lindquist (2G, 5A, 1D).

The Rush moved to 13-0 and have one final game at home next weekend against New York before hitting the road to play DC and Philadelphia in week 14.

MIDWESTERN DIVISION

Madison Radicals 15 – 13 Windy City Wildfire

The Radicals stopped the Wildfire from clinching the Midwest’s overal #1 seed with a hard-fought 15-13 win in Chicago.

If the Wildfire win their final two games of the season over Minnesota and Detroit, they will still take the top spot. No team but Madison has beaten Windy City.

The Wildfire could not stop Madison’s Pat Shriwise, who finished with three goals, three assists, and four blocks to lead the Radicals to a huge win in a likely Midwestern Division Finals preview.

The Radicals are one game back of the Wildfire in the Midwestern Division standings with two weeks left.

Minnesota Wind Chill 35 – 24 Cincinnati Revolution

The Wind Chill may not have destroyed Cincinnati like they did in their last meeting, but the 11 point victory (and impressive 35 point performance) kept their playoff hopes alive in the Midwest. The Revolution were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.

Minnesota has to win out their season, including two more games against the current 3rd place Indianapolis Alleycats, to make the playoffs. The Alleycats won their last meeting by eight.

Indianapolis Alleycats 24 – 17 Detroit Mechanix

The Alleycats took one step closer to the plaoffs with a solid win over Detroit this weekend. The win eliminated both Detroit and Cincinnati from playoff contention. The Alleycats need just one win over the Wind Chill in two upcoming games to clinch the third and final playoff berth in the Midwest.

Michael Ford had a huge game for the Alleycats, tallying six assists, two blocks, and no turnovers.

The Alleycats now await the Wind Chill, who travel to Indianapolis next Saturday in a pivotal late season game.

Madison Radicals 29 – 22 Detroit Mechanix

The Radicals handled their business in Detroit, coming away with a seven point victory. Scott Richgels was outstanding, finishing with four goals, six assists, and two blocks.

The Radicals will now look to win out their remaining three games to keep pressure on the Wildfire. If the Wildfire lose a game, the Radicals could take the #1 seed and get a first round bye in the playoffs, after winning the season series over Windy City 2-1 with their victory on Saturday.

The Radicals are at home against the Cincinnati Revolution next weekend.

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