Photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com
Week 9 was supposed to answer some playoffs questions, but today brings more speculation as to who we are going to see in the Eastern Finals while the second spot in the West is still up for grabs. New York’s victory over Philadelphia has put the Spinner’s postseason into question, and Boston has taken the reigns to make another run at the championship game. The Nighthawks’ postseason hopes are still alive despite a loss to the Dogfish, while the Rainmakers remain close to sealing up the second spot in the West.
18 – 17
In a game that looks like it will define the postseason, there were some very notable absences. The Current played without star cutter Peter Prial while the Whitecaps came to town with an injured Jeff Graham and without Teddy Browar- Jarus. Both teams knew they had to adjust and rely on other players. The teams traded points and Boston was able to gain a two-point lead in the second quarter, but D.C. was able to fight back to tie it up at 10 before the half.
“I think we, overall, had a well-played game with the exception of some bad decisions here and there,” said D.C. cutter Jeff Wodatch. “And those decisions caught up with us throughout the game a few times.”
It wasn’t until over halfway through the fourth quarter at the four-minute mark that the momentum seemed to shift in favor of the Whitecaps. The game tied at 14, Whitecaps defensive handler Alex Simmons caught a Callahan goal to put the Whitecaps up 15 -14. The Current were able to tie it back up again at 16, but the teams were able to trade out points to end the game 18-17.
“I honestly thought we were down on the final point,” said Boston’s Josh Markette. “We get the turn and I am leaping out of my chair but they were dumping and swinging and I was like ‘Guys, there are 10 seconds left, we have to score.’ Then someone tells me we are actually winning and I cannot tell you how I went from desperation to complete elation.”
With only two seconds remaining on the clock, the Current had one last shot at tying the game to send it into overtime, but Alan Kolick’s huck was just out of reach of Jeff Wodatch.
“We were that close,” said Calvin Oung. “That would’ve been an amazing play. That probably would’ve been the play of the year if that had worked. And who knows what would’ve happened in overtime.”
With this win the Whitecaps advance to 5-3 on the season and are tied for first place with the Philadelphia Spinners, while the Current fall back to .500 at 4-4. This greatly improves the Whitecaps’ chances for a playoff spot, but the conference is still up in the air. While the Current aren’t out of the running, they will need some luck if they want to see the postseason.
Read the full Rapid Reaction here.
14 – 16
Sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference, these two teams battled it out just to have a shot at upsetting the Rainmakers’ spot in the Western Conference Finals. The first point set the tone for this low-scoring game as the teams combined for a total of six turnovers. After adjusting for the wind, the first quarter ended with as many points scored as turns in that first point at 4-2 in favor of the Dogfish. The second quarter was also low scoring with the Nighthawks throwing out a zone defense to disrupt the Dogfish’s flow, while the Dogfish defense didn’t make anything easier on the Nighthawks. Each team was only able to put another two on the board to finish out the half 6-4.
“The back half of the season has been focused on fired-up offense and making sure the fundamentals are there,” said Dogfish cutter James Sheridan. “When the fundamentals have been there, the games have been going the way we want them.”
The wind seemed less of a factor in the second half of the game, and the Dogfish found their rhythm again. The Nighthawks continued to try and control the Dogfish’s offensive pace with their zone, but the Dogfish adjusted and found the right holes to bring their lead up to four to finish out the quarter at 12-8.
The Nighthawks went on a three-point run in the fourth quarter, but found themselves in too deep of a hole and finished off the game two points behind.
“Execution mistakes, some poor decisions and travel turnovers hampered our offense all day,” said Nighthawks coach Andrew Lugsdin. “Once again, the guys played hard for most of the game but we’re still making too many mistakes.”
While playoff hope lives for both of these teams, they are only holding on as they both need to win out and the Rainmakers to lose out.
18 – 20
In what many believe to have been a preview of the Western Conference Finals, the Stags netted another victory over the Rainmakers, finishing out their series 3-0. Unlike their last matchup with the Rainmakers, the Stags took their lead early in the first quarter, going up 5-3. The Rainmakers were able to match the Stags point for point with each team adding an additional four points to the board, finishing the first half 9-7.
“Their offense has gotten better throughout the year,” said Stags head coach Danny Quarrell. “They had a stretch there where I think they scored on hucks four or five times in a row, and we didn’t adjust quick enough. And when we thought we had adjusted, they scored another one.”
Both teams had issues with offsides calls in the third quarter which led to some fast points in a high-scoring quarter where each team put another seven points on the board. The pace slowed down in the fourth quarter as the Stags found their defensive rhythm and were able to open up their lead to four. The Rainmakers started making a run close to the end of the game, but the Stags held on whenever they had possession, using the clock as another weapon against the Rainmakers.
“It’s a puzzle,” said Rainmakers offensive cutter Mark Burton. “We’re putting together the pieces and getting closer and closer. We had opportunities this game, now we just have to take them.”
The Rainmakers only need a single win to advance to the playoffs and are feeling confident with both the Nighthawks and Dogfish facing them on double-header weekends. Portland will be getting their first weekend off for the season in Week 10.
Read the full Rapid Reaction here.
17 – 20
After being thrashed 10-25 in their last matchup, the Rumble may get the last laugh as they put the Spinner’s playoff hopes in jeopardy. While this matchup was reminiscent of the game between the two teams in Week 3, this time the Rumble were able to hold on in the second half and came out on top.
New York came out firing this game and quickly found themselves with a 5-1 lead. They traded points with the Spinners for the rest of the quarter and finished it out, up 7-4. While the Spinners were having trouble generating offense, they found some flow in the second quarter and wen into half down by one, 10-9.
While the Spinners were able to keep it close in the second half, they were never able to overcome the Rumble’s lead. Tying the score at 17, the Spinners looked like they might be able to pull out a late-game comeback, but John Wodatch’s Callahan set the Rumble up to receive the disc late in the game with the lead. The Spinners were unable to bounce back and the Rumble took their second win of the season.
“It’s huge, because it’s [been] a long season so far and we haven’t been able to get many wins, but we’re working so hard, so putting a win on the board is huge for us,” said Wodatch.
The Rumble are out of playoff contention, but their win has serious consequences for the Spinners. Philadelphia now must win out to guarantee themselves a spot in the postseason. Although, depending on what else happens around the league they can still make it with just one more win.
Read the full Rapid Reaction here.
Week 10 Matchups
New York Rumble vs. Boston Whitecaps
Saturday, June 20 at 5:00 p.m. ET | Buy Tickets
San Francisco Dogfish vs. Vancouver Nighthawks
Saturday, June 20 at 6:00 p.m. PT | Buy Tickets
Washington D.C. Current vs. Philadelphia Spinners
Saturday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m. ET | Watch on MLU Live
San Francisco Dogfish vs. Seattle Rainmakers
Sunday, June 21 at 1:00 p.m. PT | Buy Tickets