Another Power Rankings shakeup before the league's three Canadian teams join the fray this weekend.
July 28, 2021 by Chris McGlynn, Alex Rubin, Keith Raynor, Edward Stephens and Theo Wan in Coverage, Rankings, Recap with 0 comments
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Playoff previews abound in each division as Atlanta follows up its decisive win in DC with a home victory over previously #1 New York to keep itself first in the Atlantic; Chicago beat Minnesota on the road, giving the Union an inside edge at hosting a playoff game; and Dallas beat San Diego who in turn beat Austin, sending the West pecking order into chaos. Oh, and the Canada Cup commenced with underdog Ottawa defeating both Toronto and Montreal. There’s never a dull week in the AUDL, especially as the playoff picture comes into focus.
Time to tackle the Week 8 that was.
Current League Standings
Atlanta Hangs on for a Big Win over New York
The Atlanta Hustle tightened their hold atop a tough Atlantic Division in a tough 22-21 win over the visiting New York Empire on Saturday. It seemed like we were going to be in for a defensive affair, what with the Hustle missing their offensive centerpiece Parker Bray for the night and New York having to contend with Atlanta’s famously stingy “Grits” zone every other point. But with the exception of a few big moments by noted defensive playmakers such as Kelvin Williams, Jeff Babbitt, and Marques Brownlee, it was the offenses who shined throughout the windless evening. The difference in the final score reflects the Hustle’s offensive execution and depth, both just a touch better than the Empire’s over the course of the game.
Atlanta put any worries about missing Bray — or, for that matter, John Stubbs, sent over to the D-line since the offense had played well enough without him during the previous week’s two-game road swing — right out of mind during the first point: a quick, clean hold ending with a hammer from Austin Taylor to Antoine Davis. They more or less cruised from then until the end of the fourth quarter, keeping the disc moving, happily launching shots to challenge New York’s best deep defenders, and finding an open reset whenever they needed one.
It’s hard to say who had the best overall performance for Atlanta’s offense. Perhaps it’s Davis, who put up the gaudiest line: six goals, three assists, seven hockey assists, and 586 total yards. But you could make a strong case for Taylor’s combination of steadfastness and daring in the backfield. Or it could be Matt Smith, whose penchant for finding holes to receive the disc was unmatched by anyone else on either side and greased the field whenever it began to look boggy for the Hustle. Or there’s argument for D-line transplants Karl Ekwurtzel and Tanner Robinson, both of whom tallied impressive yardage counts while playing bigger in one-on-one moments than the often-actually-bigger Empire players guarding them.
Having so many different players step into various roles at different points during the season, or even during a single game, is a big part of the Hustle’s success to date. “Other teams find it hard to gameplan for us… because we don’t know all the time,” said Smith after the game. “We don’t know exactly who’s going to huck it, who’s going to cut under, who’s going to go break.”
The Empire, for their part, punished the Atlanta zone early. Their first point against it, they simply decided not to give a damn: Elliott Chartock hucked to Ben Jagt before Atlanta could set up. After that, they implemented a systematic approach that was scarcely less successful. With Jack Williams acting as a backfield stabilizer, dropping to offer another swing anchor for Chartock and Solomon Rueschemeyer-Bailey, they found opportunities to break through the smothering front five with astonishing regularity. And the way they worked it to that point — with mostly flat passes to Ryan Osgar just to the wrong-foot side of the mid-mid — left them time and space to make continue passes. That forced Atlanta’s deeps to decide whether to press in toward the disc or to guard the end zone rather than allowing them to patrol spaces where they could respond to threats in both directions.
And by the time the buzzer sounded to end the first half — as Jagt leapt ahead of a waiting pack of players for a goal — New York had the advantage by a point, 12-11.
In the third quarter, however, New York’s execution began to falter. And then it became apparent why the Hustle had moved Stubbs over to play defense. On one play, Jakeem Polk stepped in to intercept a low huck; on another, Empire rookie John Lithio misthrew an open pass. Stubbs met both turnovers with hucks for Atlanta breaks. A stall on the opening point of the fourth quarter gave Atlanta another break and an 18-15 lead, the largest of the night for either team.
The Hustle offense was nothing short of brilliant during that span. In fact, they did not give up the disc for the first twenty minutes of the second half, a remarkable stretch for AUDL play. Ekwurtzel skied Babbitt, Taylor hucked to Davis, Davis hucked to Robinson; as a unit, they out-bigged and out-deeped a formidable New York defense that typically has the advantage in long-yardage situations.
So trailing by three with four minutes left on the clock, New York made a radical change and dared Atlanta to play for (very) short yardage instead. Rather than pull, Brownlee laid the disc at the corner of the Empire’s own end zone: the ensuing double-team earned an immediate point-block on a Stubbs hammer attempt. Even after Smith made a heads-up layout poach to get the disc back for Atlanta, Ekwurtzel dropped a shot that might have put the game utterly out of reach — credit to strong pressure on the play from the Empire’s Ben Katz. With that, the spell was broken, and Atlanta’s hard-earned lead was in jeopardy.
Atlanta’s D-line shifted exclusively to zone down the stretch in an attempt to wait out the clock, but New York powered through it for two scores over the next two minutes, both capped by scores from Lithio. Then, with 47.7 seconds on the clock, the Empire rolled a pull out of bounds near the brick mark and set another double-team. (It was in these late-game trap scenarios that Atlanta felt Bray’s absence.) Player Pierce found two open receivers across the field, but his hammer hung long enough that Babbitt had plenty of time to sprint in to break it up.
The Empire had 42 seconds left and a chance to tie the game. Chartock curled a long pass to Lithio to set up a red zone opportunity, but the zone refused any clean looks from that point forward, and New York had to settle for swing passes near the goal line. With one second remaining, Katz floated an inside-out backhand to the back line for Lithio. Kelvin Williams was ready. He attacked the spot earlier and higher than the young Empire receiver, swatting the disc to the ground to preserve a narrow Hustle victory.
It was another statement win for the Hustle, who are now 3-1 against the other current Atlantic playoff teams.1 The fact that they won without a couple of top players — Bray from the offense, and Christian Olsen from the defense — speaks well of the team’s chances in the playoffs. So does their ability to withstand big performances from the opposition: Chartock (5A, 806 yds), Osgar (6A, 5G, 775 yds), Ben Jagt (5A, 4G, 573 yds), Lithio (6G, 510 yds), and Babbitt (4 blocks) all had big games. And their success in the air against a team with so many dominant deep players could carry over into continued confidence in stretching the field and attacking discs where other clubs might shy away from those kinds of looks.
Polk cited the contagious energy as a reason for his own strong defensive play. “It definitely pumped me up, because just seeing our bigs make plays… It motivates me and encourages me to make plays, too,” he said.
Nor do the Empire walk away from their defeat entirely discouraged. “We lost to a good team. There’s no shame in that,” said Jagt. They mollified the mighty Hustle zone defense to an extent unseen so far this season, even including DC’s Week 6 victory in Atlanta. In the end, New York was only a couple of execution errors or another minute of play — or, as Jagt suggested post-game, perhaps only three more seconds of regulation — away from flying back home with a win.
Glory Win In First Trip to Florida
The Boston Glory finally bounced back following a disappointing loss to Philadelphia. After an unexpected week off due to inclement weather, the Glory made the trip down to Florida and held on against the Tampa Bay Cannons 26-23.
It was expected to be a high-scoring affair and it did not disappoint. Right out of the gate, defense seemed to come at a premium. Boston did record two breaks and Tampa Bay added one as well, but the score at the end of the first quarter, 9-7, does not point to much defensive resistance.
As we’ve come to expect, Ben Sadok and Tanner Halkyard led the Glory’s offense. Halkyard went off for six goals, four assists, and three blocks, leading the game with a +11 rating. It was a continuation of an outstanding season for the Syracuse graduate. Only Ben Jagt has a higher +/- per game average over the course of the year. Sadok had six assists and two goals on 50/52 throwing. They have proven to be one of the toughest offensive duos to stop this year.
Tampa would not go away quietly, though. The Cannons outscored the Glory 6-4 in the second quarter to tie the game back up by halftime. Bobby Ley had a lot to do with that. He turned in an impressive 10-assist, 926-total-yard statline while completing 45-of-48 throws. Ley is incredibly talented, but he has struggled mightily with turnovers this season. Given his volume and depth of target, you would expect some turnovers in his game. If Ley can keep that number down to around three per game, like he did against Boston, we could see Tampa continue to put up big scoring outputs.
The Glory didn’t wait long to make their move. Boston opened the third quarter with a hold and a break to reassert its two-goal lead. Topher Davis continues to be a great late-season addition to this offense. In just his second game of 2021, Davis scored four goals, tossed four assists, and added a block. Tampa broke back to even things out, but another break from the Boston defense gave them a two-goal lead heading to the fourth quarter.
While Boston’s defense has struggled to stop opposing offenses from scoring this year, it has had no problem generating blocks. The Glory rank sixth in the league in blocks per game. In Tampa Bay, they were led by Dean Bullock, who tallied three in the winning effort.
An early fourth quarter break gave Boston the insurmountable lead it rode to the finish. Although the rest of the game was just the offenses trading holds, there was still plenty of intrigue. Both sides spent much of the game looking for calls, particularly Sadok, who is now bringing flopping to the AUDL. Not to mention whatever it is he does here after the flop.
With the win, Boston puts itself back in the playoff conversation. The Glory still has a long way to go, but with games against the Flyers and the Empire (twice) still on the schedule, they will have a chance to earn crucial wins against the teams ahead of them and sneak into the postseason.
For the Cannons, this makes official what we have known for a long time: Tampa will not be a part of the 2021 AUDL playoffs. There is still plenty to play for, as players like Sean Plunkett and Unmil Patel continue to carve out significant roles. The top end of the Cannons’ roster is ready to compete with the rest of this division. Perhaps these final few games will offer an opportunity for Tampa to develop some much-needed depth.
Chicago Regains Control in the Central
In a game with playoff seeding and hosting implications, the Chicago Union defeated the Minnesota Wind Chill 20-16. Chicago scored a hold on the first point of the game and never trailed as they secured the season series and all of the tiebreakers therein over the Wind Chill.
Each team managed a hold on its first possession. Chicago was able to break first after a drop from Minnesota’s Tony Poletto led to a Nate Goff-Tommy Gallagher give-and-go for the score. The first quarter ended with Chicago on top 4-2 after a five and a half minute, eleven-turnover point as the wind picked up.
Chicago broke to start the second quarter, as long, grinding points became the norm. With the wind picking up, the Union threw a zone to earn another break and take a commanding 8-4 lead on a Jeff Weis in cut, one of five goals he scored in his season debut. The Union took a 9-6 advantage into halftime.
Chicago cemented its lead with a three-goal run out of halftime to stretch the lead to 12-6. While Minnesota was dropping discs and throwing scoobers to the turf, the Union reset the disc until finding the right deep shot to score with. Minnesota did score its one break of the game in the third, a patient offensive point highlighted by a 9/9 throwing performance from Brett Matzuka, who also got the block that earned Minnesota possession. Chicago got a break back on its next defensive opportunity, with Drew Swanson snuffing a block on the first throw out of a timeout, and looked to go into the fourth with a commanding six goal lead. However, Brian Vohnoutka outread and outjumped a pile of defenders as time ran out to bring Minnesota to within 16-11 at the end of the third.
The Minnesota defense brought a lot of pressure, especially on set defenses with sideline doubleteams, but Chicago kept its composure and the fourth quarter was a series of downwind holds for both teams. Pawel Janas was 48/50 for 474 total yards and five assists. Backfield mate Nico Lake provided a steady presence, going 25/26 with three assists. For Minnesota, Josh Klane and Cole Jurek each tossed three assists, and Nick Vogt caught four goals. The Wind Chill were a paltry 15/33 scoring offensive possessions and just 1/6 on break chances.
Next week, Chicago travels to Madison in a rematch of the Radicals’ Week 6 win. Minnesota hosts Indianapolis, hoping for a win and a Chicago loss which would tighten the standings.
Shorthanded Indy Avoids Detroit Trap
The Detroit Mechanix hosted the Indianapolis Alleycats with hopes of breaking The Streak ™, likely with increased optimism. The Alleycats have, like Detroit, failed to get a win against any other Central Division foes. And the ‘Cats arrived without their sharpest claw: star Travis Carpenter was listed as reserve, along with key contributors like Levi Jacobs and Kyle Romard. But even without their full strength, the Alleycats were able to overpower Detroit 18-13.
Breezy conditions made it something of an upwind-downwind contest. That meant bountiful turnovers, with 57 giveaways between the pairing. Indy, however, was choosy with their deep looks, completing all six of their long shots, and efficient in the red zone, converting on 80% of their red zone attempts. Those high percentages were in stark contrast to Detroit’s as the Alleycats capitalized on their best scoring opportunities.
Most of the game was fairly well contested, but a second quarter run for Indianapolis broke the game open. A five-goal streak took the Mechanix from a 6-5 lead to a 10-6 deficit from which they could never recover. The horrendous third quarter featured just three goals between the teams, with 21 of the game’s total turnovers coming in the period. That deadened most of the momentum Detroit might have used to power a comeback.
The quest to end the drought continues for Detroit when Madison comes to town next week on the backend of a big Radicals back-to-back. Indianapolis has been relegated to the spoiler role as well, and take on the Wind Chill in Minnesota next week.
Growlers Split Texas Trip
It took nearly three minutes for Dallas to open the scoring in a battle of star-powered West division teams. The teams traded downwind holds for most of the first quarter. Dallas was able to punch in an upwind break, as Jay Froude and Ben Lewis led the charge up the break side of the field. The Growlers were able to hold upwind and collect the downwind break. The teams ended the first quarter tied at 4-4. Dallas broke to start the second quarter, but the teams held out the rest of the way and the ‘necks went into the break up 8-7.
San Diego inched back into the game. After a Dallas hold to start the second half, Goose Helton threw a turnover against a double team. Froude roofed his defender to reel in a long huck, but Chase Cunningham dropped a dish right on the goal line. Eighty yards the other direction and a few seconds later, Travis Dunn laid out to score and preserve the hold. The Growlers tied the game on the next point — a three minute affair featuring two injury substitutions, two Travis Dunn skies, a classic Kyle Henke layout block, an a deflected hammer on the goal line. On a slightly more traditional sequence, San Diego broke again the next point to take their first lead of the game, 10-9. Each team held their ensuing possessions, but with time running out in the third quarter Dallas got a block on an ill-advised Helton deep shot; Kaplan Maurer found his way into a mostly empty end zone as Dallas retook the lead 12-11.
Dallas punched in breaks on its first two points of the fourth quarter to expand their lead to 14-11, and the Roughnecks never looked back. Dallas punched in another break with under a minute left as the teams ran out the string to provide the final margin. In his last game of the season (wrist surgery), Henke was the star of the Roughnecks show, scoring three assists, three goals, and three blocks. Gabe Hernandez continued to impress as the stand in center handler. He was 67/68 throwing for 219 yards and two assists. His backfield mate, Matt Jackson, threw five assists among his 51 passes without a turnover. Carson Wilder returned to the field after a few games away and led the team with five goals.
For San Diego, Helton once again stepped into a role that saw him as a lead thrower with Paul Lally absent. He scored four goals and four assists, but also had four turnovers, leading the team in all three categories. In the backfield, Tim Okita also had four assists. Over the course of the game, San Diego had just three blocks, as the Dallas handlers were incredibly protective of the disc, even in windy conditions.
The very next day, San Diego drove down to Austin and it was incredibly clear that they had played a tough game the night before. The Sol kicked off the game with four consecutive breaks, and the Growlers simply looked sluggish compared to the energized Austin defense. San Diego played over seven and a half minutes of game time before scoring. The Sol had a 6-2 advantage after the opening twelve minutes.
In the second quarter, the Growers started to chip away. San Diego took advantage of some Austin miscommunications to spur a 3-0 run and get the game within two at 7-5. A few clean holds apiece kept the clock moving, but Austin scored twice in the final minute to take a commanding 11-7 lead at halftime.
San Diego flipped the script in the second half, scoring the first five points to take a 12-11 lead with 5:21 left in the third quarter. The Growlers offensive spacing keyed their run, as the handler set began to take advantage of full field swings to open up more angles to attack downfield movement. The Growlers notched another break to end the quarter, and San Diego went into the final frame up 16-14.
A 3-0 Growlers run early in the fourth quarter iced the game for San Diego, who did not get broken at all in the second half. Lior Givol was the star of the show, tossing five assists and scoring a goal of his own. Travis Dunn had two assists, four goals, and 473 yards of total offense as the primary downfield threat. Dom Leggio was a rock, leading the team with 40 completions without throwing a turnover.
Austin had a solid performance from Eric Brodbeck, 20/22 for 381 total yards, two assists, and three goals. Reese Bowman had a well rounded games, with two goals, assists, blocks, and turnovers apiece. With the loss, Austin drops to third in the West, one game behind Dallas. San Diego remains a game up at the top of the division and hosts the Seattle Cascades next week. Austin will host the San Jose Spiders in their first ever Texas trip.
LA Makes a Playoff Push
With their backs against the proverbial wall, the Los Angeles Aviators knew that anything short of an undefeated road trip weekend would probably mean the end to playing meaningful games this season. With victories over the Seattle Cascades (21-16) and the San Jose Spiders (20-18), the Aviators breathed new life into their season.
Los Angeles shuffled its lines, moving designated shooter Calvin Brown to the D-line and turning the offense over to the more conservative handling corps of San Fontaine and Collin Gall. Hybrid Danny Landesman became the key figure of the offense, finishing with five goals and five assists for the game. The switch worked, as the LA offense only got broken twice. The Aviators themselves notched an early break for an insurance goal to take a 3-1 lead and never trailed in the entire game. A 3-0 run midway through the second quarter gave LA a four goal lead at 10-6. Seattle’s Otis Williams forced a turnover in his debut game and his club scored on an untimed throw after a defensive foul on the buzzer beater attempt to bring the game to 11-9 at halftime.
The Aviators held to start the second half and survived a five minute point to score a break on the next point and retake a four-goal lead. Jack Brown had two drops and two blocks on that point, seemingly involved in every big play. A few holds later, Los Angeles punched in another break to open the score to 16-11; the Aviators defensive unit looked much more comfortable moving the disc — especially around the red zone — with Brown on the field. The Aviators bookended the final frame with breaks and Seattle never came close to mounting a comeback.
Once again Manny Eckert put on an offensive showcase, throwing 63/64 for 411 yards and five assists. Mark Burton chipped in three goals and an assist to with a surprisingly quiet 406 total yards. The aforementioned Landesman led LA with five assists and goals each. Sean McDougall has four goals, two assists, and two blocks in a well rounded effort. Los Angeles converted seven of its fourteen break chances, a great turnout from a team that entered the week bottom five in the league in defensive efficiency.
After the victory in Seattle, LA faced the Spiders in San Jose. The Spiders came out firing, with Sawyer Thompson reeling in a layout grab to punctuate the first point. After cagey opening holds, Gall tossed a scoober into the ground and San Jose’s Jacob Miller found Kevin Tien on the break side for the game’s first break. The Aviators aptly responded, pulling off a 3-0 run to flip a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead. The Spiders had a series of unforced errors, but the Aviators made good use of them. The first quarter ended with LA up 7-6.
The Aviators strung together another three-goal run. Seamus Robinson had one sequence in which he blocked a huck to Thompson, secured an impressive catch over him on a huck going the other way, dished the disc on the goal line, and scored upline to complete the bookends. In a game of runs, San Jose just had to wait until it was their turn. A missed huck here, a tipped pass there, and San Jose used its time outs to sub on the offense. They scored one break on a massive Justin Norden hammer over a double team, but on their second break opportunity of the quarter, a breakside throw was just out of Andrew Moore’s reach. Los Angeles worked through a zone with under a minute remaining in the half culminating in McDougall skying a pile as the buzzer sounded to give the Aviators a 12-9 lead.
The runs wouldn’t stop in the second half. Los Angeles got a hold and a break, San Jose got a hold and two breaks. The game became a bit chippy — some bids bordered on the dangerous side, and players were visibly upset at some no calls from the refereeing crew. The game took on an air of importance as both teams realized that the loser would be all but eliminated from playoff contention. Landesman caught a trust-throw goal with a few seconds left in the third, and the Aviators blocked the Hail Mary to take a 16-14 lead into the final frame.
The Spiders broke to start the fourth quarter on a lazer deep shot to Evan Magsig. That score brought the game within one, but every time the Spiders crept in, Los Angeles had an answer. The Aviators crossed over Calvin Brown to the offense for a quick-score set play. Most of the fourth quarter was eaten up by a nearly four minute point featuring five turnovers, two Keenan Laurence highlight catches, one broken camera, one end zone stall six blading moonshot, and shockingly just a single timeout. With a 19-16 lead, Los Angeles was in good position to see out their victory, which they earned 20-18 by escaping the San Jose trapping defense as time expired.
Once again Landesman (seven goals, two assists, one block) and McDougall (four goals, three assists, one block) were the key scorers on the Aviators offense. Sam Cook added four assists and a goal and Gall was 39/40 throwing as the hub handler in the backfield.
Though they lost, the Spiders can be happy at least with the performance of their young stars. Kevin Tien had a breakout game on the D-line, nabbing five blocks. Not historically known as a thrower, Thompson had six assists without a turnover. Jordan Kerr led the team in total yards with 467 and added three assists, two goals, and a block. As a team the Spiders were 13/16 on hucks, but their middle game was missing, as they had six more turnovers than their opposition.
Though out of the playoff picture, San Jose has an exciting week ahead with the Spiders first ever trip to Texas. Los Angeles hosts Seattle hoping to keep its slim playoff hopes alive.
Canada Cup: Ottawa Disproves Naysaying
Raise your hand if you predicted the Ottawa Outlaws handily defeating the Toronto Rush (23-21) and the Montreal Royal (26-19) in one weekend. The start of the 2021 AUDL Canadian Cup was nothing short of exciting as Ottawa proved all the naysayers wrong by winning two games against their Canadian rivals.
Having eight rookies for this game and 13 overall, the Outlaws faced a bunch of roster turnover in recent years and have had to replace old stars with younger faces. Toronto, on the other hand, had a new looking offensive line with no Isaiah Masek-Kelly (not active), Adrian Yearwood (now coaching), Thomson McKnight (not active), nor Akifumi Muraoka (not on roster) suiting up for the Rush this past weekend. Both teams had new faces calling lines for this game, as Yearwood made his coaching debut for the Rush while Karl Losieau was the line-caller for the Outlaws.
The first point of the game included a turnover from each team before Ottawa got the hold after a Nick Boucher huck to Paul Renaud for the first score of the AUDL Canada Cup season. Smooth holds were the name of the game early on in this first quarter, as only three of the 15 first quarter points yielded a turnover. Things were held on serve when a jump ball went up to a crowd of Outlaws and Rush players and Paul Renaud intercepted it as the clock hit zero. There was a bit of controversy here as Toronto’s Phil Turner appeared to come down with it first, but it was ruled Ottawa’s way as they headed to the second quarter with an 8-7 lead.
Ottawa’s first break opportunity of the second quarter came off of a Carson Turner block. They put their offensive line on after a timeout but were unsuccessful in getting the much-needed break as the Rush got the disc back and punched it to keep things on serve at 10-10. The first break of the game came from the Ottawa squad courtesy of an Eric Phang-Lynn poach block which led to a Kyle Hunter backhand huck to Jon Hallett for the score and the two-point advantage. The Outlaws generated its third break of the game after Brandon Adibe took on Andrew Carroll in a matchup of top-end speed and was able to generate a highlight layout block on the Rush veteran. Nick Boucher threw his fourth assist of the game with a hammer to Jeremy Hill to go up 15-12. More controversy ensued at the end of the second quarter as former Outlaw Paul Mensah caught the disc in the end zone, but was ruled out of bounds.
Coming out of halftime, both teams had smooth offense as each team held three times before the first break. Paul Mensah tipped the scoober pass from Ottawa’s Matt O’Brien and the Rush eventually scored off a Bryan Yue assist to narrow the lead to 18-15. The Rush scored two breaks in a row off of a Mike MacKenzie cross-field throw to Cam Harris and a Dan LaFrance flip to JJ Edwards tying up the game at 19-19 and causing Ottawa to call a timeout. Ottawa got another momentum changer at the end of the third quarter. With time running down, Cam Harris turfed a throw to Luc Comire. With six seconds left on the clock, the Outlaws scrambled to pick up the disc with Nick Boucher throwing his ninth assist of the game with a hammer to Matt O’Brien. The quick turn of events gave the Ottawa group a 22-20 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The turning point of the fourth quarter and the game was when Toronto had a glorious break opportunity on Ottawa’s side of the field. They were unable to convert after a Jason Lam throw flew past Kevin Jay. Ottawa was able to score on offense and push the lead back to 23-21. The Outlaws continued their dominance and won the game 27-24 giving their franchise its first ever victory against their provincial rivals.
Ottawa’s offense was led by Nick Boucher who threw for an AUDL 2021 season record of 11 assists, 888 throwing yards, and 1,223 total yards. Alec Arsenault’s three assists and six goals, and Jeremy Hill’s three assists and five goals were a driving force for Ottawa’s success. In a losing effort, Jason Lam had three blocks while Mike MacKenzie did a great job on the Rush offensive line contributing with five assists and six goals. The Outlaws dominated in the skies, going 100% on hucks, which was a big key to their success.
Nick Boucher reflected on the impact this victory had on the squad. “The win was amazing for the entire team in completely different ways, for guys like myself who have lost to Toronto for 5-10 years straight, it was a feeling of long-awaited relief that we had been building so long to achieve,” said the Ottawa star. “For the other half of the team (playing their first-ever AUDL game), it was an inspiring victory letting them know they are capable of hanging with the best the AUDL has.”
Riding high off their monumental victory against the Toronto Rush, the Ottawa Outlaws travelled to Montreal to take on the Royal in their second game of the weekend. Fans were present for this game, which added a different atmosphere than what was found in the Cup opener. Montreal was looking to start strong without a lot of their French imports from last year, while Ottawa was looking to continue their winning ways.
The wind was a factor in this matchup, causing some extra pressure on the throwers. Ottawa had a rocky start, giving away the disc on their first two offensive points, but they were still able to generate holds. Without Quentin Bonnaud in the lineup, Montreal relied upon Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky to dominate in the cutting lines, generating two assists and one goal in the first frame. The Outlaws gained some added momentum after Nick Boucher grabbed a disc over a group of Montreal and Ottawa players to give Ottawa a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Ottawa scored the first break of the game after a Jonah Munoz block. The offense was called on after the timeout and Greg Ellis found Rhys Toogood for the 10-8 lead. Vincent Lemieux had six throwaways and threw a crucial short field turnover which led to another Ottawa break and a 12-9 lead. A messy and turnover-filled point showed Montreal’s inability to cash in on break opportunities and Ottawa was able to squeak out the hold to make it 14-11 at half.
The start of the second half showed offensive proficiency from the two squads as breaks seemed hard to come by. Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky continued to find the endzone in the third quarter, but Montreal was still unable to get the crucial break they wanted. There was a lethal connection between Ottawa’s Mike Lee and David Colic in the third quarter as Lee assisted on three of Colic’s four goals in the frame.
Montreal started the fourth quarter down 21-17 needing to make a furious defensive charge. The wind started to really affect the throws early in the fourth. Outlaws rookie Desmond Staples got his first taste of the scoresheet, leading the defensive unit to another break to put the game out of reach at 24-18. The Outlaws ended up winning 26-19 demonstrating their dominance from beginning to end.
For the Outlaws, this victory was impressive, a huge victory in Montreal less than 24 hours after their emotional win over Toronto. More rookies continued to step up for the Outlaws, including Rhys Toogood, who had three assists and two goals, while Mike Lee made his return for the squad adding a much-needed veteran presence on their offensive line, chipping in with five assists and one goal. Montreal’s Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky led all scorers with six goals.
Up next: the Canada Cup season takes the upcoming weekend off. On August 7th, the Toronto Rush will see the Montreal Royal for the first time while Montreal hopes to exact some revenge as they travel to Ottawa for the second game of their weekend.
For the fourth straight week, there is a new team in the top spot!
AUDL Power Rankings:
|3||New York Empire||-2||1|
|7||San Diego Growlers||-3||4|
|9||Minnesota Wind Chill||-2||7|
|11||Los Angeles Aviators||+4||15|
|15||San Jose Spiders||-3||12|
|18||Tampa Bay Cannons||-||18|
Survivor Pool Update
And suddenly we are down to just seven entries left! Most of the competitors eliminated this week struggled out west. The Cascades cost five people in their upset loss at home against the Aviators. As it turned out, LA enjoyed playing spoiler, as it knocked out the other three entries on Saturday when it took down San Jose. Our final seven participants are closing in quickly on that Ultiworld prize pack.
Stall Seven/Deep Look Picks Contest
A rough week for Deep Look, so Stall Seven made up ground in the season series. The AUDL experts picked Dallas and Ottawa’s wins correctly, while both podcasts sided with Minnesota and New York in losses.
- Stall Seven: 2/4 on the week, 10/24 for the season
- Deep Look: 0/4 on the week, 11/24 for the season
This week’s lines:
- Chicago (-3) at Madison
- San Jose at Austin (-2)
- Philadelphia at DC (-3.5)
They still have one more game against Raleigh next month. ↩