July 15, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 2 comments
The final weekend of the American Ultimate Disc League regular season has come to a close. The Windy City Wildfire locked up the one seed in the Midwest with a win over Detroit and the Toronto Rush closed out a perfect 16-0 regular season with two road wins in the muggy East Coast heat.
Here is a look at the final games of the season as the playoff teams prepare for the postseason.
Windy City Wildfire 32 – 19 Detroit Mechanix
Casey Degnan and AJ Nelson scored eight goals a piece to lead the Wildfire to a season sweep of the Detroit Mechanix in their final game of the regular season.
With the win, the Wildfire clinched the #1 seed in the Midwestern Conference playoffs, giving them a bye into the Conference Finals. They await the winner of the Madison Radicals v. Indianapolis Alleycats game in two weeks.
The Mechanix finish the season 4-12 and at the bottom of the Midwestern standings (their -81 goal differential left them below the two other 4-12 teams).
The Wildfire’s only two losses on the season have come to the Radicals.
Indianapolis Alleycats 24 – 18 Minnesota Wind Chill
Just a few weeks ago, many thought that the Wind Chill, who had been underperforming all season, could still find themselves in the playoffs — they would just need a few wins over the Alleycats.
Instead, the Alleycats dominated Minnesota down the stretch, closing out the season with three wins against the Wind Chill and shutting the door on their playoff hopes.
Many of Minnesota’s top players did not even compete in this weekend’s game. Their 4-12 season was a surprise given the talent on the team and around the city in Minneapolis, but they never could put together wins against the top three teams in the division.
Madison Radicals 25 – 23 Indianapolis Alleycats
The Radicals finished a season sweep of the Alleycats and gave themselves the clear frontrunner status in their upcoming playoff game.
The Alleycats have chipped away at the Radicals’ margin of victory and lost by just two this week, suggesting that we’ll be in for a great playoff matchup.
Nate Thibideau had six goals and three assists for the Radicals to lead the way for their sixth straight win. Discounting a loss to Cincinnati with many of their starters missing, the Radicals have not lost since May 12th against Windy City.
Toronto Rush 31 – 17 DC Breeze
The Rush easily handled the DC Breeze on the road in Washington to move one step closer to a perfect regular season.
Thomson McKnight had a goal and four assists and was a steady handler for the Rush. Cam Harris caught four goals and threw for one to help guide the Rush to a blowout win over the Breeze.
The Breeze finished the season 4-12 and in second-to-last place in the Eastern Division.
New York Empire 25 – 16 New Jersey Hammerheads
The Empire closed out a season series win over the Hammerheads with a nine point victory in Manhattan on Saturday. New Jersey was plagued by countless drops and execution mistakes in the first half that led to an early New York lead.
Jack Marsh continued to smooth out the New York offense and made some spectacular throws to help keep the Empire defense on the field.
Mike Drost and Ben Ivers had strong games for the Empire defensive line.
The Hammerheads close out the year with just two wins, one of them coming against a heavily depleted Empire team in June. The Empire didn’t need this win, having already clinched the 2nd spot in the Eastern Division playoffs weeks ago. They get set to face the Philadelphia Phoenix at Wildwood in two weeks for a chance to play Toronto in Chicago.
Toronto Rush 35 – 24 Philadelphia Phoenix
The Toronto Rush completed a perfect 16-0 regular season on the road in Philadelphia, the site of their closest game of the year (26-25) that came all the way back in early April. This game was not close.
The Rush become the first AUDL team to finish the regular season without a loss, and just the second professional ultimate team (along with the MLU’s Boston Whitecaps) to do so. They await the winner of the Empire v. Phoenix game in the Conference Finals.
The Rush, by most measures, have been the most successful team in the AUDL: a perfect record, an astonishing +176 point differential, the highest average attendance in the league (1000+ per game), and the all-time pro ultimate attendance single-game record (2300) in their home opener. To complete the season, they need just two more wins.