The Empire and Summit look like strong divisional favorites.
June 17, 2022 by Theo Wan, Alex Rubin and Lucas Coniaris in Recap with 0 comments
Our coverage of the 2022 AUDL season is presented by VII Apparel Co., who provides premium performance apparel for the active world, featuring their proprietary GreenLine fabric made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
As we reach the halfway point of the 2022 regular season, the playoff picture is beginning to take shape and the contenders are separating themselves from the pack. Somehow, it already feels like teams are getting into must-win games.
Welcome to the AUDL Throwaround, where we discuss the top stories, players, and highlights in the league.
Results & Standings
Week 7 Scoreboard
Week 7 Standings
Week 7 Stories
New York Remains Undefeated
The New York Empire took down the DC Breeze for the second time this season and, in the process, solidified their hold on first place in the East. In their 25-21 home win, New York continued to shuffle some of their lineup, once again putting Ben Jagt on the defensive line and adding Matt “Cat” Stevens there, as well. Both players reached a big milestone in Week 6 in Toronto, each scoring their 300th career AUDL goal.
In the first quarter, the teams traded breaks as neither could gain a significant advantage but New York finally had something to say about it in the second. The defensive line stepped up, generating three breaks in a row, including Ryan Drost delivering a poach block and a corresponding score to extend the Empire lead to 12-8. Ben Jagt has made the smooth transition to the defensive line for the second game in a row, scoring four of his five goals while starting on defense. Jagt’s shift plus the additions of John Randolph and Jibran Mieser create a formidable group of players to have to score against. The Empire already had defenders like Ben Katz, the Drost brothers, and Antoine Davis, so adding those three just make things simply unfair for other offenses in the East.
DC’s attempt at a comeback was stifled by New York’s offense, who held at a 74% rate and never gave up two breaks in a row. Their ability to halt any of the momentum the Breeze could get on defense played an important role in securing their league-leading eighth win. Rowan MacDonnell improved on his output from his first game against New York back in April, as he finished with five assists and three goals. Elliott Chartock returned after not playing against Toronto last week, and was on a rock on the offensive line with Ryan Osgar, who finished with a combined ten assists and four goals. With the 25-21 victory, New York continues their hold on the highest point differential rate in the league at +60. The next best team in the league are the Carolina Flyers at +32, and with the way both teams are playing, they could be the last two teams standing on AUDL championship weekend.
Summit Ascend Out West
The Colorado Summit have staked their claim as the most dominant expansion team this season with a 25-20 win on the road against the Salt Lake Shred. This win clinches the season series for Colorado, earning them an important advantage in the event a tie breaker is needed for playoff positioning. The loss drops Salt Lake down to the third spot in the West Division standings, despite only losing to Colorado on the season.
Colorado took advantage of a series of Shred miscues (Salt Lake didn’t record a clean hold until the fifth point of the game!) to build a 6-2 lead. The Summit kept pushing, riding key blocks from Dave Wiseman, Nathan Bucholtz, and Cody Spicer while going on a six goal run that spanned nearly the entire third quarter to build a 20-10 lead. Salt Lake’s quick-strike offense had found success in previous games by attacking at unique angles that defenses weren’t prepared for, but with a few weeks of film out there, Colorado was able to anticipate the Shred attack and earn blocks from tight-window throws.
Salt Lake’s defense came alive in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of a few too many Colorado throwaways to score a 5-1 run that opened the final frame. Though the gap was closed, Colorado had built enough of a lead that it was able to weather the storm, right itself, and still come away with a five point road win.
Chicago Escape at Home
The Chicago Union narrowly closed out against the Madison Radicals, holding on to their top seed in the Central at 4-0. The final score was 22-21 after an exciting Madison comeback deep in the fourth. The story of the game early was Chicago’s downfield strength. Multiple floaty hucks went the way of Chicago receivers, namely Eli Artemakis and Jeff Weis. Madison’s coaching staff continued to tinker with lines, as many players saw both offensive and defensive possessions. However, the lack of a consistent handler core seemed to cause issues for the Radicals.
Coming into the fourth quarter down by four, Madison amped up the defensive pressure. After a clean hold to make it 19-16, Madison put out an excellent defensive stand that culminated in a massive Kevin Pettit-Scantling block with 9:30 left on the clock. The Radicals worked it up to the red zone where a diving save on a tipped hammer secured the break for 19-17. Both teams traded holds to make it 20-18. The Union worked it up to the goal line, but a Pawel Janas hammer was blocked, allowing a patient Radical’s D-line offense to bring them within one. Two more holds made it 21-20 with 2:19 on the clock. A drop from Artemakis enabled Madison to once again work it up the field to tie the game at 21-21. On offense, the Weis put up a flick huck to Ross Barker, who expertly boxed out his defender to haul in the score. With less than 30 seconds on the clock, Madison’s O-line tried to work quickly, but an overthrow targeting Victor Luo sealed the game.
Pettit-Scantling, the Radical’s defensive standout, again spent a majority of his points on the offense (20 of 25). Madison’s need for stability around the disc often put KPS in the backfield with Victor Luo. Pettit-Scantling still managed to lead the field in the blocks (3), often helping the Madison offense earn the disc back after a turn. It will be interesting to see how Tim DeByl chooses to deploy him in the second half of the season.
Around the League
- The rest of the Central matchups went to script. The Indianapolis AlleyCats bounced back from their trouncing in Minnesota to beat the Detroit Mechanix 32-18. Indy’s Jeremy Keusch had a breakout game, tallying seven goals and one assist.
- Pittsburgh Thunderbirds gave the Minnesota Wind Chill a great second quarter, but Minnesota took care of business the rest of the game, with a final score of 20-14. Cole Jurek led the field in +/-, continuing to excel in his hybrid role.
- In the East, the playoff picture potentially got more complicated as the Montreal Royal suffered an upset loss at the hands of the then 1-5 Toronto Rush. With the defeat, Montreal fell back to .500, equaling the Philadelphia Phoenix, who have two games in hand over the Royal. Montreal’s defense was not able to stop Toronto’s hucks on Saturday night and despite that held the disc with less than 30 seconds left and a chance to win the game. The Montreal squad was missing two of its top players in Christophe Tremblay-Joncas and Malik Auger-Semmar due to their Team Canada obligations. With the win, Toronto stops a five-game losing skid and gains some momentum heading into their road trip to Philadelphia and DC this coming weekend. The Rush were led by rookie Travis Puckrin who had his career game with four assists, two goals, and three blocks.
AUDL Power Rankings:
|1||New York Empire||-||1|
|7||Minnesota Wind Chill||-1||6|
|9||Salt Lake Shred||-1||8|
|10||San Diego Growlers||-1||9|
|16||Los Angeles Aviators||+1||17|
|25||Tampa Bay Cannons||-||25|
Highlight of the Week
Everyone knows throwing is easier indoors, but that doesn’t mean tracking down hucks requires less talent and effort. Indianapolis’s Jeremy Keusch got on his horse to get to this one before it left the field, or punctured the wall of the complex.