Photo by Jason Honyotski – Ultiphotos.com
The D.C. Current locked up the top spot in the Eastern Conference and earned their fifth-straight victory with a 21-16 win over the Boston Whitecaps on Saturday night. Peter Prial scored a game-high six points on three goals and three assists to pace a very productive Current offense and hand his former team their first ever loss at home.
The D.C. Current (7-1) seized their chance to claim the top spot in the Eastern Conference as they sprinted out of the gate against the Boston Whitecaps (4-4) and never looked back. It took the D.C. offense five throws and all of 19 seconds to get on the board Saturday. The Current’s defensive line followed suit with back-to-back break points to give D.C. a 3-0 lead just over three minutes into the opening quarter. And following Boston’s first score that didn’t come until halfway through the first quarter, D.C. responded with consecutive scores to claim a 5-1 margin. From nearly the onset of the match, the Current established a sizable lead, one they would not relinquish.
“When we were on the field warming up, I looked over to [Assistant Coach] Will [Smolinski] and said, ‘Everyone looks confident, everyone looks happy’ and that’s a cool sign to see in your team warming up,” said Current Head Coach Keven Moldenhauer. “Then at the beginning of the game the O-line went out there and did their job beautifully and the D-line came in with good hard pressure and they did everything they’ve been working on. Once that occurred it set a tone for them. I thought Boston tightened up a little bit because of how we were playing, and we were good from there.”
D.C. has only lost one contest this season, a 17-12 match in Boston during Week 3. Heading into Week 9 with a return trip to Boston on tap, the Current wanted to show they could top the reigning MLU champions on their home field. D.C. received the opening pull and wasted no time finding the end zone. Sean Keegan gave the disc to Alan Kolick who sent it right back before a pass went up field to Prial. Prial, playing in his first game in Boston since leaving the Whitecaps last year, found Markham Shofner open following an in-cut which led to a 40-yard huck to a wide open Calvin Oung for the score.
D.C. doubled their lead moments later when Dominique Gibson charged the disc to make an interception. Possession moved down the field to Brent Bellinger who hit David Boylan-Kolchin for the score 80 seconds into the match. The Current tallied a break point again following another spectacular defensive play as Chip Cobb laid out to knock away a deep pass. Without giving the disc back, D.C. marched up the field before Delrico Johnson found Eric Miner for the score to give the Current a 3-0 lead.
“Getting those turns early is definitely encouraging,” said Smolinski. “Guys like to play and if you score on the D-line you get to keep playing.”
Following a score from the Whitecaps, D.C. answered with their own well-executed offense as Prial hit Keegan for the score. The Current’s defense struck again to score their third break point of the first quarter on the following possession when the Whitecaps dropped the disc and D.C.’s Johnson hit Dan Kantor for the score to inflate the lead to 5-1.
Boston’s offense was able to hold off the Current’s tenacious defense for goals before the end of the first and at the start of the second quarter to slice the advantage to 5-3. But two points would be as close as the Whitecaps could cut it. D.C.’s offense responded with a score of their own before their D-line struck gold again on another pair of break points to make it 8-3 just three minutes into the second quarter.
D.C. scored their sixth break point of the first half shortly before intermission to make it a 12-6 contest heading into halftime.
While the Current racked up seven break points, the Whitecaps could only manage to score a pair of breaks against D.C.’s dominant offense. The Current were smooth with the disc and rarely looked troubled against the Boston defense. Prial led the way with six points, but Kolick (4 assists), Shofner (2 goals, 2 assists) and Jeff Wodatch (3 goals, 1 assist) weren’t far behind with four points each.
“I was very happy with how the offense executed. Even when Boston tried to run a couple clammy zone-manish things and double man traps in the corner we just ran right through them like they were nothing,” said Moldenhauer. “When the D gives you a lead like that, the offense plays better because they can play loose and run the offense the way they are suppose to.”
The Current have two regular season games remaining on their schedule, but following their win over Boston D.C. knows they will now host the Eastern Conference Semifinals on June 28.
Come out and cheer on D.C. during their final regular season home game of the year, June 14 against the New York Rumble. Buy your tickets here.