MLU Conference Finals Recap: Dogfish, Whitecaps Advance To Finals

The Boston Whitecaps in the huddle at halftime.
Photo by Marshall Goff — UltiPhotos.com

The Boston Whitecaps continued their undefeated season in the first round of the playoffs, easily taking down the DC Current 23-15 in the Eastern Conference finals to advance to the MLU Championship on July 13.

On the West Coast, the San Francisco Dogfish narrowly defeated an injury-depleted Seattle Rainmakers team 18-17 to earn the right to fly East to Philadelphia to face Boston in what should be an excellent Championship matchup.

Here’s a look at each of the games from this week.

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Considering that the Boston Whitecaps had not played a meaningful game in weeks, you might have expected them to come out a bit flat against the DC Current, who had to win over the New York Rumble in the final week of the regular season just to make the playoffs.

That was not the case.

Boston was excellent from start to finish and put down the Current easily, leaving no questions about their mental preparation. The teams traded points to start the game, but the DC offense was not crisp enough to beat Boston’s zone looks and turned the disc over frequently in the second quarter, giving up a 5-0 run and watching the game slip away.

It was fairly clear at halftime, with the score 15-9, that the Current’s hopes of a shock upset on the road had come to an end.

Brandon “Muffin” Malecek, who was the subject of controversy in the final week of the regular season, responded with an excellent game, notably notching a number of scores, an unusual result for a player who is normally throwing assists from the handler position.

Danny Clark was also excellent for the Whitecaps, dominating the game on offense in the first half. He did come out of the game in the third after a Current player landed on top of him on a contested huck in the endzone, but appeared to be OK.

The Whitecaps, after facing a much easier regular season schedule than the Dogfish, will have their biggest test of the season in two weeks in the MLU Championship. It should be a classic.

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

San Francisco Dogfish v. Seattle Rainmakers.
Photo by Scott Roeder — UltiPhotos.com

The San Francisco Dogfish didn’t make it easy on themselves, but they withstood a late comeback from the Seattle Rainmakers to take the Western Conference title, finishing the year 3-1 against Seattle.

Despite the Rainmakers playing without many of their starters, particularly on offense, they stayed with the Dogfish for the entire game and had a last-second opportunity to win the game on a hail mary huck that didn’t quite carry deep enough into the endzone.

Cassidy Rasmussen and Evan Boucher both made a big impact in their first game back after injury, helping to lead the Dogfish to the win.

The game started on the right foot for the Dogfish after Seattle, starting on offense, turned the disc over on the goalline after making their way all the way down the field. San Francisco’s Mac Taylor picked it up and ripped a huge backhand to a streaking Andrew Hagen, setting up the first break of the game. San Francisco held that one point edge in the first quarter, going into the 2nd up 4-3.

The Dogfish offense played solid, smart ultimate in the second quarter and pushed the lead to two at halftime.

All of the Dogfish/Rainmakers games have been marked by an impressive second half comeback by one of the teams. It almost happened again. After an Boucher score extended the lead to four (16-12) in the fourth quarter, Seattle’s coach Ben Wiggins put on a throwing clinic, bombing some remarkable hammers over the top of the defense into the wind for scores, and doing his best to will the Rainmakers back into the game.

The Rainmakers closed the gap to one with a three point run, but San Francisco’s offense stayed poised, marching upwind to maintain a two point edge.

Seattle’s offense kept bringing them back within one, but, with thirteen seconds left in the game, it looked like the defense just wouldn’t have enough time to convert a break. The Rainmakers threw a rolling pull out of bounds and set up a double team to try to force a turnover. They did just that, causing an errant swing pass, and calling an immediate timeout with four seconds left and the score 18-17 Dogfish.

After a quick dump, Adam Simon put up a backhand huck into an army of Dogfish defenders, and the disc floated short and was easily blocked by Taylor with no time left on the clock.

The win sends the San Francisco Dogfish to face the undefeated Whitecaps in the MLU Championship.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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