Buzzer Beater: Montreal Mélancolie [UFA Week 11, 2024]

The Royal once again came close to a signature win, but couldn’t close the deal.

The Montreal Royal throw past the Boston Glory mark during the 2024 UFA regular season. Photo: Kathy Joyce – UFA

Royal Jokers

In a different world, Montreal could be 7-3 and in the thick of the playoff picture right now. Their 2-8 record is simply not indicative of a team that plays Boston, New York, and DC – the three teams in the East who have clinched the playoff spots – harder than any other “bottom feeder” should be expected to. In their first four games against that trio this season, Montreal lost by a combined seven goals.

This week, the Royal had a golden chance to upset the Glory and earn their first top-tier win of the season. A buzzer beater to end the first quarter kicked off a three goal run and gave Montreal an early lead. The two teams traded goals with neither squad ever holding more than a two goal advantage. The Royal received with 29 seconds on the clock and the score tied. An inventive inverted scoober from Jakob Brissette got the offense started and the Royal worked the disc within a few yards of the end zone. Tobe Decraene, who threw five assists and notched four blocks on the night, turfed a blade a beat in front of two open receivers to send the game to overtime. In the extra frame, Kevin Quinlan and Decraene each had throwaways on touchy away passes that gave Boston just enough opportunity to earn a win.

Montreal had everything they needed to win this game, but couldn’t close it out. It’s been a few years since the team truly engaged with the playoff bubble, so it’s understandable that the Royal’s clutch muscle is a bit weak. The players’ will to win was clearly evident throughout the second half and overtime of this week’s game, but the execution did not match their effort. Montreal’s performance this season can either be a catalyst for improvement in 2025, or a sign this team just is not ready to win despite their talent.

The East is thought of as the toughest division in the league, and breaking into the Boston/DC/New York triumvirate will be tough. It’s hard to wonder if this iteration of the Royal are a playoff team in another division, and I hope we’ll see them play some cross-divisional games in 2025 to really test that possibility.

Boston’s win keeps them in second place and above the New York Empire in the East playoff race. On pace to host a playoff game for the first time, the Glory are just about to complete their best-ever season in their young history. Watching them go toe-to-toe with the been-there-done-that Empire and Breeze players will make for exciting playoff matchups.

News and Notes

  • Houston squeaked by Dallas 15-14. The Legion came back from a three-goal deficit to tie the game, but the Havoc closed out a five minute point to earn the final score.
  • Elliott Moore’s +10 day helped Austin to a 28-18 win over Houston a day later.
  • Allan Laviolette’s seven assists, four goals, and 783 total yards helped carry Carolina to a 24-19 win over a resilient Philadelphia team. The Flyers converted six of their eight break chances.
  • Madison scored with seven seconds left to cap off a back-and-forth game and take down Pittsburgh 21-20.
  • Chicago defeated Minnesota 25-20, though Minnesota already clinched the top seed in the division. The Union’s Sam Kaminsky led the offense with a 64/65 throwing performance, four assists, and three goals. Jack Shanahan had a 4A/5G game of his own.
  • Salt Lake and Oakland both took down Portland, with Oakland clinching a playoff spot with the win. The Shred were a perfect 22/22 in the red zone, and Oakland raced out to an 11-4 lead to build an undefeatable advantage. Portland’s Ben Thoennes did throw 10 assists over the two games.
  • Alex Atkins went 60/60 throwing with four assists to help Colorado narrowly beat Indianapolis. The result was not enough for Colorado, as Oakland eliminated them from playoff contention, but Indianapolis is still alive in the Central playoff race.
  • The Los Angeles Aviators went down 10-4 to the San Diego Growlers, but came back to win 25-24. The Aviators slowly chipped away at the lead and came back without needing to go on a single big run. Sean McDougall’s five goals led the way for LA.

Mailbag

Have a question about the UFA? Send it in to [email protected] with UFA Mailbag in the subject line. You can also message me on Twitter at @StallSeven, or subscribers can DM me in the Ultiworld Discord.

What do you see as the reason behind Colorado’s second consecutive lesser than expected season? – Theresa on Discord

Every UFA team is better when it can play with a consistent roster. The Summit have been without the services of Jonathan Nethercutt and Quinn Finer for the better part of this season, and it shows. Zeke Thoreson, Denny Bechis, and Thomas Brewster are other players among team leaders in +/- per game who have missed significant time this season. While the systems and structures the Summit play with are strong, they rely on really good chemistry – especially on defense. With competing priorities of National Teams (Nethercutt and Finer) and the college season (Thoreson), my understanding is that the team just did not have enough practice time and game reps where all of the major contributors could play together and truly succeed.

I’ll also say that the Summit have one of the harder schedules in the league. The Summit have the most out-of-division games in the league, hosting Atlanta and Indianapolis and traveling for a doubleheader weekend in Minnesota and Madison. They went 1-3 in those games. Scheduling just one game against the Portland Nitro also reduced their chances for easy wins compared to other West teams. In short, Colorado faced a tough challenge this year with a hard schedule and high expectations. The best version of this team is more than capable of facing that challenge, but we just haven’t seen that version take the field enough for that success to come to fruition.

UFA Week 11 Power Rankings

  1. Alex Rubin
    Alex Rubin

    Alex Rubin started writing for Ultiworld in 2018. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he played for four years. After a stint in Los Angeles coaching high school and college teams, they moved to Chicago to experience real seasons and eat deep dish pizza. You can reach Alex through e-mail ([email protected]) or Twitter (@arubes14).

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