Photo by Scott Roeder – Ultiphotos.com
For #ThrowbackThursday this week, we are looking back at the final weeks of the 2013 Season, featuring a matchup between the San Francisco Dogfish and Seattle Rainmakers, both jockeying for position in the first MLU Championship.
For the third time in as many weeks, the Dogfish faced off against the Rainmakers. The previous two meetings had been split, with both teams taking a game each. Heading into the Western Conference Championship, the Dogfish (8-2) were the apparent favorites, having won the season series (2-1). The Rainmakers were also (8-2). However, things weren’t as simple as the records would show. Over the three games both teams scored exactly 56 goals, no game had been won by more than 2 goals, and the Dogfish loss has come just a week before. What would be a memorable first Western Conference playoff game was set up by the two previous matchups, and so we’ll take a look at them first.
6/15/13 – San Francisco
Playing at home, the Dogfish won the toss and started on defense. Hoping for a quick break to build momentum, things quickly went in the wrong direction. The Rainmakers jumped out to a 3-0 lead and ended the first quarter leading 5-2. It seemed the game would continue this way as the Dogfish found themselves down by as much as 6 in the third quarter. Things changed direction as a four minute point ended with Patrick Baylis sending a risky scoober into the endzone that was tipped by two different Rainmakers before a falling David Abram came down with the disc. With momentum shifted in a single point, the game ended with a 10-4 run by the Dogfish. The Dogfish now had a 7-1 record and left the Rainmakers needing to win both games of their upcoming doubleheader to get into the playoffs.
6/23/13 – Seattle
8 days and 800 miles later.
The two teams were back at it in Seattle. Both teams were coming off a win the day before and were locked into their playoff spots, making the last game largely about testing the other team in preparation for the following week’s playoff. With this, neither team was able to take hold of the game, although the Dogfish led the entire first half. To start the second half, the Dogfish scored again to take a four goals lead, the largest the game would see. While the game went back and forth, midway through the fourth quarter the Rainmakers pulled off a pair of breaks to tie the game. After trading points, the Rainmakers broke the Dogfish twice more to take their first lead of the game. Both of these goals were forehand hucks from Adam Simon. Suddenly finding themselves with a two goal lead, the Rainmakers were able to hold off the Dogfish and end the season with a 24-22 win over their future playoff opponent.
6/29/13 – San Frnacisco – 2013 MLU Western Conference Championship
Only 6 days later this time.
The Rainmakers were back in San Francisco looking to build on the previous week’s success and win the Western Conference’s first playoff game. The Dogfish, looking for an early break pulled to Seattle to start. Seattle managed to work it all the way downfield before turning it on a throw that caught a bit too much wind. Within seconds the Dogfish were primed to score in the opposite endzone and, after an early timeout, did just that. The Rainmakers responded, finding Simon for the score, regaining momentum and hoping to build off the quick strike. To the Rainmakers’ dismay, the Dogfish not only held and scored, but followed that up with a break. A few holds left us at 4-3 with the Dogfish leading to end the first.
While there was more back and forth, the second period followed to same pattern. Beau Kittridge led his team with 2 goals and 1 assists to get in on ¾ of his team’s scores. The second quarter looked to end with 4 goals from the Dogfish and 3 from the Rainmakers again, but a last second foul allowed the Rainmakers to attempt a full field huck. As it came down, a full speed Elliot Trotter seemed primed to make it a 4-4 second quarter, but an amazing backwards leap from Martin Cochran got just enough of the disc to steer it towards the turf.
Taking an 8-6 lead into half, the Dogfish were in a good position, but had lost a halftime lead only a week earlier to these same Rainmakers.
Kittridge started the second half with another assist but the Rainmakers responded with a 60 yard hammer to the goaline followed by a high push-pass to Mark Burton in the endzone. Goals were traded back and forth. Kittridge found Evan Boucher for another assist goal, followed by another wacky Rainmaker goal: a sliding Danny Trytiak catch followed by the prone backhand. Burton in particular did what he could with 3 goals in the quarter, but the Dogfish fought back and the Rainmakers headed into the fourth down 15-12.
With their season on the ropes, the Rainmakers came out looking for a break only to be scored on within 15 seconds of the pull. Never saying die, Seattle put up a hold and two breaks, making the score at 16-15 with only 3 minutes to go. With the clock working against them, the Rainmakers found themselves in position to tie the game but a dropped dump led to a downfield huck from San Francisco and an 18-16 lead for the Dogfish with only 45 seconds to go. Sticking with the fancy stuff, a Seth Wiggins hammer found Trytiak in the endzone.
Having to work upwind, the Dogfish were double teamed on the sideline and turned the disc with 4 seconds left. Taking a timeout, Wiggins picked up the disc and found Simon. Into the wind he put up the half field huck, but as he so often did in the regular season, Mac Taylor jumped in front of the crowd and intercepted the disc to seal the game and end the Rainmakers season.
An amazing three game series ended with the Dogfish headed to Philadelphia to play the Boston Whitecaps in the first ever MLU Championship Game. As a fan of either the Dogfish or the Rainmakers you couldn’t have asked for a more exciting three weeks of play to cap off the MLU season. The Rainmakers had to wait until 2015 to punch their ticket to the MLU Championship. Both teams were ultimately defeated by the Eastern Conference juggernaut Boston Whitecaps.