Photo by Kevin Leclaire– UltiPhotos.com
The D.C. Current knocked off the previously unbeaten and reigning MLU Champion Boston Whitecaps 18-17 on Saturday night at Catholic University’s Cardinal Stadium.
In the final seconds of the game, the winning throw came from Peter Prial, who released a floating hammer to Calvin Oung in the end zone. Oung came down with the disc, and the Whitecaps’ 13-game winning streak came to an end.
“The conversation in the fourth quarter was ‘One play, that’s all it’s going to take. One play,” said Keven Moldenhauer, the Current’s head coach. “We really believed as a team, we looked at each other and we knew that’s all we had to do. We got that one play, put another line out, got another play and the game was over.”
The match between the top two teams in the league lived up to the hype, and then some, as Boston and D.C. battled until the final second.
The Current scored back-to-back break points to claim a 17-16 lead, only to see Boston’s Jeff Graham secure the tying score with under 30 seconds left to play. With the possibility of overtime staring D.C. in the face, the Current’s offense took the field and were able to seal the victory.
The last second sequence started with the disc in possession of handler Markham Shofner, who chucked a last second huck from midfield into the end zone. Shofner’s throw fell to the turf as time expired, but the game didn’t end there as the refs called a foul. Ten seconds were put back on the clock and the disc found the way to former Boston Whitecap Peter Prial. Prial, who finished with one goal and five assists on the night, tossed up a hammer as a mass of humanity gathered underneath it. Somehow the falling disc navigated its way to the outstretched hands of Calvin Oung for the game winning score.
“As soon as I caught the disc, it’s just an instinct for me to start screaming and I just ran towards my teammates,” said Oung. “That’s one of those plays I’d like to say I dream about. But I’m glad we got the win, that’s all I wanted to get. I didn’t want to go to overtime against that team.”
Photo by Bob Hume – UltiPhotos.com
While the ending was spectacular, the start of the contest was equally exciting. The two squads tallied 12 scores in the first quarter, going toe for toe on offense as neither side could score a break point. The Current would earn the first break as they went up 9-7 following a D by Ben Flemming proceeding a huck from Shofner whose throw found Jeff Wodatch, who tallied four goals in the contest, in the end zone.
The D.C. lead wouldn’t last however as Boston would score an offensive point, and then even the count at nine by breaking the Current before halftime.
Boston would continue their run after the intermission, as they scored two straight points to take an 11-9 lead.
The Whitecaps would hold on to that two score margin. They carried a 15-13 lead into the final 10 minutes of the contest, and then claimed a 16-14 advantage following a Jeff Graham (5 goals, 2 assists) score with 4:03 remaining in regulation.
With time running out, D.C. stepped up their game. Sean Keegan (2 goals, 2 assists) found Wodatch deep for a score to trim the Whitecaps lead to one, and on the ensuing point the Current’s Brian Marshall put a hard mark on Graham and earned a turnover on a stall count violation. Marshall would finish the point and knot the game at 16 as he brought in a pass from Bobby Gordon.
Riding a wave of momentum the Current would score another break point as David Boylan-Kolchin laid out for a monster D. After a series of short passes Alan Kolick, who completed each of his 56 throws on the night while also scoring two goals and throwing five assists, put a pass to Eddie Peters for the go-ahead score, giving the Current their first lead in the second half.
Graham would atone for his late fourth quarter turnover by coming down with the disc in the end zone to tie the game once more, this time at 17 all, with just 29.2 seconds left on the clock.
The raucous Current crowd roared as D.C. received the disc with a last second chance to win and erupted with joy after Oung came down safely with Prial’s hammer throw.
“I think this win is great, and I think it shows everybody in the Eastern Conference and everybody in the Western Conference that D.C. is a team to be reckoned with this year,” said Prial. “Teams are going to need to bring their A-game to beat us.”
Photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com
You can watch the entire game on the MLU’s YouTube page, or by clicking here.