Thursday, May 21, 2015

MLU Playoff Picture Clears Up, as the Spinners Continue to Rise

Everyone was back in action this week with teams beginning to separate themselves as we now have a clear view of the playoff favorites. Portland survived a scare from the Nighthawks who showed that despite a roster overhaul, can still compete with the top squad in the league. Falling behind, the Dogfish see what happens without Evan Boucher as the Rainmakers hold a slight edge for second place in the conference. Meanwhile on the East coast, the Current win but the Rumble show that their win last weekend was not a fluke. This is all while the Spinners got a huge victory in Boston in double overtime that proves the team is here to stay, moving the power structure in their favor.

1. Portland Stags: 5-0

Last Week: 1     Change: +0

Defeated Vancouver Nighthawks 19-16

Weekend Superstar: Timmy Perston (4 goals, 2 assists, 1 block)

Review: This Stags team looks good, really good. It has taken three years but the franchise has developed into one of the league's top teams. An old Stags team would have not responded from a Nighthawks comeback, but in the fourth quarter the Stags put them away by only allowing their opponents to score one goal. A minor setback to their plans to run the table could be the injury to starter Chris Hancock who may not return for the remainder of the season.

2. DC Current: 3-2 

Last Week: 3     Change: +1

Defeated New York Rumble 21-17

Weekend Superstar: Jeff Wodatch (5 goals, 4 assists)

Review: The Current got back to their winning ways over the weekend, getting a game back from the Rumble. While the team was matched point for point in the first half, DC limited their turns and decreased the amount of lofty play to put New York away. This was without one of the team's best players, Markham Shofner, who did not play over the weekend.

3. Philadelphia Spinners: 3-1

Last Week: 4     Change: +1

Philadelphia Spinners
Defeated Boston Whitecaps 22-21 2OT

Weekend Superstar: Billy Sickles (2 goals, 7 assists)

Review: If you did not believe in the Spinners before this game, they made you a believer. If you want a look at this new Philadelphia team just watch the double overtime time point where the Spinners O-line worked it cleanly right up the field for a score. The trio of handlers: Nick Hirannet, Billy Sickles, and Marshall Ward have a command of their offensive line and will have a chance to surpass the trio in DC (Kolick, Shofner, and Oung) this upcoming week.

4. Boston Whitecaps: 2-3

Last Week: 2     Change: -2

Lost to Philadelphia 21-22 2OT

Weekend Superstar: Jeff Graham (3 goals, 3 assists, 1 block)

Review: The Whitecaps are only halfway through 2015 and have already lost two heartbreaking games in double overtime. Boston could easily be 4-1 at this point in the season and running away in the East. But instead they have lost three games by a combined four points. Of all the teams in the East, they appear to be the most consistent. They never have an "off game" but from this point forward they have to close out the tight games.

5. Seattle Rainmakers: 2-2

Last Week: 5     Change: +0

Defeated San Francisco Dogfish 20-14

Weekend Superstar: Evan Klein (5 goals, 1 assist, 1 block)

Review: Great performance by the Rainmakers down in San Francisco in what was a must win game for Seattle. In this game all the pieces came together as Khalif El-Salaam made his season debut, Ben Beehner broke out for three goals, and rookie Evan Klein scored four break points waking up the team's defense that had been the weak spot on the team all year.

6. Vancouver Nighthawks: 1-3

Last Week: 6     Change: +0

Lost to Portland Stags 16-19

Weekend Superstar: Brendan Wong (5 goals, 2 assists)

Review: They gave Portland everything they got but still proved not to be enough. Heading into the fourth tied at 15 the Stag defense only allowed the Nighthawks to score once in the final quarter. This was rather unfortunate for what was a fantastic game for Vancouver that saw Brendan Wong's best game of the year statistically. However this match showed us that Vancouver can return to championship form, and will have the chance to prove that playing Seattle in their next two games.

7. New York Rumble: 1-3

Last Week: 7     Change: +0

New York Rumble
Lost to DC Current 17-21

Weekend Superstar: Chris Kocher (2 goals, 4 assists)

Review: Despite the loss to DC, the Rumble showed that last week's victory was not a fluke. For a majority of the matchup New York gave DC all the team could handle. While it looks like the team could look to give other teams trouble for the remainder of the season, New York's playoff hopes took a major setback with the season ending injury to Jibran Mieser. Meanwhile rookie Chris Kocher is becoming an integral part to the team's offense with Chris Mazur at the point.

8. San Francisco Dogfish: 1-4

Last Week: 8     Change: +0

Lost to Seattle Rainmakers 14-20

Weekend Superstar: James Yeager (3 assists, 1 block)

Review: Could Evan Boucher have been the problem in San Francisco? Probably not, he accounted for a massive chunk of the offense success for the Dogfish all season. This past game showed what a Boucher-less San Francisco team (who has played with the team since it's inception) will look like. The offense looked misguided at times and relied on rookie Gabe Saunkeah to anchor the team. The defense however look much improved compared to last week, leading the Rainmakers to turn the disc over 24 times.

Once again a full weekend of MLU action is upcoming with four games being played. It kicks off with a battle for first place on the East coast as the Spinners travel to DC hoping to get their first victory there since Week 1 of the inaugural season. At the same time on the West coast, Seattle and Vancouver will face off yet again with both squads now in mid season form. On Sunday, Boston will head to New York in what has become a must win game for the Rumble if they have any playoff intentions at the end of the year. It will be the same case for the Dogfish as they have a tall task in knocking off the undefeated Stags to keep their season alive.

Don't agree? Tell me what I missed in the comments section and who you think 
should be at the top.

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