It’s postseason time!
September 1, 2021 by Chris McGlynn, Alex Rubin, Keith Raynor and Theo Wan in Recap with comments
Our coverage of the 2021 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.
In their most complete performance of the season, the San Diego Growlers punched their ticket to Championship Weekend with a dominating victory over the Dallas Roughnecks. Chicago needed a late run to punch their own ticket to DC. Elsewhere, The Breeze and New York wrapped up their regular season with wins and Montreal looks every part the favorite in the Canada Cup.
Current League Playoff Bracket
Late-Game Magic in Chicago, San Diego Saves Best for Playoffs
Check out of full game recaps of the Central and West division playoff matchups.
Growlers’ Perfect First Leads Them Past Roughnecks
Fourth Quarter Run Leads Union Past Wind Chill
Atlantic Playoff Matchups Set by DC and New York Victories
Seeding and home field advantage remained at stake as the Atlantic completed its regular season wrapping up two postponed games.
In the first, the New York Empire traveled to face the Boston Glory, a rematch of a game from just a week prior. If there’s hope an AUDL rivalry between Boston and New York can light up the league in the way it has in so many other sports, this past weekend’s matchup could prove a spark. It was a tight matchup from beginning to end, with no lead larger than two goals, but New York prevailed 18-17.
The two teams have been high-scoring this season, but there was something of a juxtaposition at play: they scored a meager 35 points combined, but just five total breaks. Neither offense was in top gear, but the defenses were even less effective with the disc in their hands. That kept either team from ever seizing the edge in the game by expanding the lead. The pattern played out in the first, when the teams tallied nine holds — two from each of the Empire’s Ben Jagt and Glory’s Nick Patel — to seven turnovers. Boston led on serve, 5-4.
The Glory got the first and only break of the first half courtesy of a red zone stop. Chris Bartoli poached off his assignment to knock away a floaty upline from Ryan Osgar to Elliott Chartock. Cole Moore hurriedly picked up the disc, ripped a deep throw to the opposite goal line to Alex Donadio, and the lead doubled with an 8-6 score. A three-goal run in the early moments of the second half put New York in the driver’s seat. Back to back Boston huck turnovers both turned into Empire breaks, even walking one from just short of their own back line to the attacking goal. A Jagt drop a huck was the best scoring chance on a multi-turnover point to close the third quarter, keeping the game drawn even at 12-12.
The fourth quarter featured a break for each side. New York’s came first, following a hold on a Jagt forehand to John Lithio, when a reset error from Boston gave the visiting side a short field. A foolish Glory double team helped ease the Empire’s access to the goal, pushing the lead to 14-12. With a 15-14 lead, New York’s Elliot Chartock over-bladed a forehand huck to Jack Williams, which Bartoli batted down. Boston was able to advance the disc, aided by a defensive foul on a huck, and forced in a break to a diving Ethan Fortin, who had a defender draped on him.
It looked like the hosts might steal the game when, with about 90 seconds left on the clock and the game tied at 17-17, Lithio was snuck up on by a poach on a reset by Max Rick, intercepting a pass off the line. But nearing the end zone, Ilya Yudcovich turfed an open forehand with under a minute remaining. After a timeout, New York punched in the clinching hold to take the 18-17 lead with :18 remaining, and Boston would fail to muster a quality scoring attempt.
The matchup between the DC Breeze and the Tampa Bay Cannons was not quite a taut as the other Atlantic affair. Both teams were missing some key players, but it simply wasn’t a fair fight. The Breeze never trailed, going up 4-1 and ending the first quarter up 9-7. That lead grew just a couple of points in each of the first three quarters. But in the fourth quarter, the Breeze blew them out. A 7-1 margin in the final frame ballooned the final score.
The Cannons were outgunned in the matchup, earning just four break attempts, and converting only one of them. DC was able to tally 12 breaks on 23 break attempts, a number that wasn’t far off from matching their 15 total turnovers. Four different players garnered over 300 total yards each, topped by Jonny Malks with 499 on 33/35, to go with seven assists and a goal. Joe Richards found the end zone five times for goals, while Leo Pierson generated four blocks.
Canada Cup: Pivotal Win for Toronto, More Montreal Dominance
The second to last weekend of the Canada Cup season carried some serious playoff implications for the teams involved. The Ottawa Outlaws headed into their Saturday night matchup needing a win to make the Canada Cup final. On the other hand, the Toronto Rush were up against the wall coming in at 1-4 and having to win two straight against Ottawa. The Outlaws came into this matchup missing key offensive line players in Nick Boucher, David Colic, Ryan Poloz, and Mike Lee. Toronto got the return of Isaiah Masek-Kelly, who was welcomed into the century club that evening and was a positive addition to their defensive line.
The Saturday matchup started with turnovers from each side, but Ottawa got the best of the exchange by generating the first break to take a 2-1 lead. Toronto was unable to capitalize off multiple Ottawa turnovers and their lead remained. As Ottawa was about to play offense, lightning hit the skies of Toronto and a lengthy two-hour delay ensued. Both teams and the crowd were asked to leave the field playing premises.
Once the delay was lifted, the teams had a short warmup and got back on the field to continue the game in its entirety. Ottawa came out firing out of the break when Alec Arsenault caught a huck from veteran Andrew Ouchterlony for a quick score. The turning point of the first half occurred when Ottawa had an opportunity to make the game 6-4. Toronto turned it over on their half of the field when a throw to Cam Harris went out of bounds. Stuck on the sideline, Ottawa threw a first throw turnover and Toronto immediately scored on the other end, tying the game at 5-5.
Toronto ran off three straight breaks, including a Mike MacKenzie buzzer beater catch at the end of the first quarter to put Ottawa on their heels. Ottawa relied heavily on their offensive players in this matchup as Greg Ellis, Jeremy Hill, Geoff Bevan, and Alec Arsenault each played 20+ points. Putting out the same personnel did not seem to help Ottawa, who went into halftime down 12-8.
The momentum continued for Toronto throughout the third quarter. Despite some turnovers, Toronto was able to keep scoring on offense while Ottawa’s offense struggled with execution and there were multiple unforced turnovers for the Outlaws. The Rush finished the third quarter up 18-11 with the result all but sealed.
They continued their dominance en route to the victory. The play got a bit sloppy towards the end of the contest with multiple turnovers happening on first throws. MacKenzie pulled off a highlight reel layout to punctuate the victory that sank Ottawa’s hopes.
The long break seemingly hurt Ottawa as perhaps fatigue started to settle in throughout the contest. Having to drive that morning, the Outlaws had a long day with the game ending at 11 PM local time. The Outlaws were led by Jeremy Hill who had three assists and three goals while JJ Edwards scored the most goals for the Rush with four. Toronto put on a defensive clinic generating 30 blocks and punching in nine breaks to Ottawa’s two.
The Sunday contest between Montreal and Toronto didn’t mean much in terms of placement in the standings. Both teams had their fate sealed before the game even started: Montreal already clinched a spot in the final with Toronto still needing a win against Ottawa next week to make the final. Perhaps with this in mind, Toronto rested some of its players who were banged up, with defensive line players like Kevin Jay, Jason Lam, and Jacky Hau sitting for this matchup. Montreal was also missing some defensive line captains as André Arsenault and Simon Charette were not available for this game.
The Royal continued using their D-line to throttle the offense for the Rush, whose ability to score off of turns has been great all season. Christophe Tremblay-Joncas was a big reason why Montreal came out flying with three straight breaks and the 5-1 lead. Toronto was riddled with injuries in this contest, which they couldn’t afford. Andrew Carroll went down early in the first quarter after dropping a huck in the middle of the field. The Royal have found a future star in Jakob Brissette, who had four assists in the first quarter alone.
Toronto was able to get blocks but were unable to convert them into points on the board. A lot of the younger defensive players for Montreal, including Vincent Genest, helped spark Montreal’s break barrage. At half the score ballooned to 15-8. Toronto got some excitement to end the quarter as MacKenzie came down with a disc amongst a pile of players.
The previous game ended late at 11 PM local time and the fatigue and effects of the heat started to show. More Toronto players went down in this contest, including Geoff Powell and Jason Huynh, forcing the Rush to finish the game with multiple players out. Montreal’s solid downfield defense was a huge contributor to their success, stifling a lot of Toronto’s options. MacKenzie continued to try and spark the Toronto rally as he caught another layout for his fifth goal of the game.
Much like the day before, both teams played the fourth quarter with the result never in doubt. There were multiple times the Toronto defense looked tired or out of position, allowing Montreal players to slip free for the score or they were left unmarked. Brissette fired his seventh assist to end the game and Montreal defeated Toronto 25-18 for the fourth time this season. This game was never close as Toronto was only able to get one break in this matchup; in contrast, Montreal had eight. The Rush had 28 turnovers with many of them preventable.
Along with Brissette, Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky helped lead the Montreal offense contributing six assists and four goals in the win. 16 out of 19 Montreal players got an assist or goal, demonstrating the depth this team has. For the Rush, Cam Harris had six assists while Mike MacKenzie and JJ Edwards led the offensive line with five goals apiece.
The final weekend of the Canada Cup season has the Toronto Rush travelling to Ottawa to play the Outlaws at TD Place. The mantra for each team is simple, win and you’re in. The winner of this Saturday contest will take on the Montreal Royal in the Canada Cup Final on Thursday, September 9 in Montreal.
We’ll update these when the playoffs conclude!
Survivor Pool Update
With the regular season officially over, we are happy to crown a win of our AUDL Survivor Pool. Congratulations to Akshat Rajan for winning the pool. He was one of five participants to reach the end of the regular season without being eliminated and came the closest to predicting Pawel Janas’ regular season assist total. Akshat will receive an Ultiworld prize pack for winning the contest.