Photo by Pete Guion – UltiPhotos.com
D.C. completed their regular season home schedule with a 21-15 win over the New York Rumble on Saturday night. The Rumble stayed within striking distance for most of the contest, but D.C.’s defense was once again the deciding factor as they rattled off four-straight break points to finish off the match.
Saturday night’s contest pitted two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum against one another. A week after securing the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, D.C. hosted New York with the opportunity to claim their sixth-straight victory and a perfect regular season home record. On the other end, the Rumble were looking to bust up a four-game losing streak that had crushed their hopes of a playoff berth.
In an overall sloppy game, the teams combined to turn the disc over 53 times, but D.C. showed they were the better team in the end and were able to secure the win and the season series sweep over the Rumble.
“I thought our initial energy was decent, but it was just an ugly game,” said D.C. Head Coach Keven Moldenhauer. “I thought we had a lot of turnovers on offense, but sometimes you’ve got to win the ugly games too.”
New York played the Current tough and held a lead over D.C. for much of the first quarter, claiming advantages of 2-1, 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 throughout the frame. But inside of the final minute of the opening quarter New York misfired on a crucial opportunity, squandering a chance to claim a 6-5 lead heading into the second frame in which they were scheduled to receive the opening pull. Instead, New York handler Isaac Saul dropped a pass and saw D.C. take a 6-5 lead into the second quarter when Eddie Peters quickly picked up possession and fed the disc to Brian Marshall who found Chip Cobb in the end zone for the Current’s first break of the day.
The Current quickly added to their advantage to start off the second quarter. New York tried to score an upwind point, but threw the disc right into the midsection of Dan Kantor. Three throws later Kantor was standing in the end zone with the disc for the bookend score to make it a 7-5 contest.
D.C.’s defense expanded their lead once again before halftime with back-to-back break points. After an Andrew Fickley D, Glenn Poole sent a disc to Eric Miner followed by a David Boylan-Kolchin D that resulted in a goal on a pass from Peters to Delrico Johnson to give the Current a 12-8 advantage.
But the Current’s largest lead of the day was quickly sliced in half before the halftime whistle. New York was able to score on a long offensive point before coaxing three turnovers from D.C. on one point to earn a break back on a Marques Brownlee toss to Lucas Murphy. The Rumble’s defense found some success using two- and three-man cup zones against D.C.’s handlers, along with a strong sideline trap to slow down D.C.’s fast-paced offense.
“They threw us off with the double teams a little bit,” said handler Lloyd Blake, who finished with one goal and three assists. “But we worked through it and just tried to remain focused on our job and what we were doing. We’ve had some bad weather practices in terms of wind and rain so we’ve worked on that stuff a lot.”
Following halftime, the Rumble further cut into the Current’s lead after forcing a turnover on D.C.’s second possession of the half. They converted it into a break point on a huck from Sean Murray to Brownlee to trim the lead to one at 13-12.
The Current have proven to be mentally tough all season long and displayed their mettle once again when they quickly regained a three-goal advantage following a composed offensive point and another break score sparked by a Kantor D to claim a 15-12 lead.
“[At halftime] we talked about how strong teams finish games and how good teams don’t just win the games they need to win, they win games period,” said Blake.
But D.C. was simply unable to put New York away. The Rumble closed out the third quarter with a score from Andrew Bosco and opened the fourth with a point brought in by Ignaclo Yz to once again make it a one-goal game.
The Current landed the knockout blow shortly into the fourth quarter when their defense seized control of the game and closed out the contest in convincing fashion.
Following an offensive line score that saw Jeff Wodatch hit Tom Doi for a goal, D.C.’s defensive line turned a simple New York miscue into a goal and stormed to the finish line from there. Boylan-Kolchin converted a Rumble throwaway into an assist with a toss to Peters, before Bobby Gordon hauled in the next goal by making a spectacular layout catch. Johnson followed with his second goal of the night prior to Robert Dulabon capping the night’s scoring with his first goal of the night.
“We tried a lot of different things in the first few quarters that we are not accustomed too, just kind of testing things out,” said Gordon. “But when it came down to crunch time, coach said to play man defense and do our thing. I think that raised our level of intensity and we pulled through. Once you get one [break] it just rolls from there. Everyone was feeding into it and wanted to make that next big play.”
D.C. will look to carry their winning streak into the playoffs as they travel up to Philadelphia next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET to square off with the Spinners at Franklin Field in the regular season finale.