Game Notebook

Pittsburgh Thunderbirds Vs. Madison Radicals: 2017 AUDL Playoff Preview

For the third consecutive season, the journey to the Final Four in the American Ultimate Disc League tournament has the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (10-5) knocking on the door in the Badger State Saturday, Aug. 12 when they battle the first-place leaders of the Midwest Division, the Madison Radicals (12-2). This second-round playoff matchup gets underway at 7:00 p.m.ET at Breese Stevens Field.

Coming into this week’s showdown in Wisconsin, Coach David Hogan’s T-birds showed everyone their resilience last week on the road by overcoming a 23-19 deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter and, over a seven minute period, claimed a 25-23 lead against the Minnesota Wind Chill (11-4).

Over the course of their six-point assault of the scoreboard, Pittsburgh’s Max Thorne put up two of his four assists and one of his team-leading seven goals. Max Shepard delivered both of his blocks on defense to stop Minnesota during this stretch. Two ill-timed throwaways by the Wind Chill, as well as a block by the Black and Gold’s Xavier Maxstadt, helped the comeback. Pat Earles, Scott Trimble, Jon DeAmicis, Carl Morgenstern, and Sam VanDusen joined Thorne in adding the sextet of goals.

Thorne’s seventh and final goal of the match was the game winner on a pass from Thomas Edmonds with 1:23 left. Edmonds, Thorne, and Jon Mast ended the evening with four assists each while Earles led the way with five helpers. David Vatz was second in scoring as he tallied three goals and Anson Reppermund held the line with his team-high three blocks. DeAmicis chipped in a pair of defensive blocks in the dramatic win.

Reppermund spoke with Evan Lepler on the league website about facing the Radicals, the one Midwest Division opponent Pittsburgh has never beaten on the road, “We’ve played [Madison] really tight many times. I think they’ve always been within reach for us, and hopefully we can give them another good game and show what we can do.”

Madison went 6-1 at home during the 2017 campaign with their only loss Saturday, June 3, 23-17 to the Dallas Roughnecks. The Teal, Blue, and Chartreuse own a +51 point differential in assembling their 12-2 regular season record. Their two-game series sweep of the Thunderbirds was by a total of just seven points.

Leading the Rad’s attack is Colin Camp with 39 goals in 12 contests while Peter Graffy registered 26 scores in 11 games. Andrew Meshnick kept the offense rolling with 27 assists while also leading the defense with 28 blocks over 11 match-ups. Graffy was second with 25 helpers and tied with Kevin Pettit-Scantling for second in blocks with 27 apiece. Pettit-Scantling participated in all 14 matches and racked up the lead for minutes-played with 11,165. Thomas Coolidge had Madison’s lone Callahan this summer.

Weather: Per the forecasters at weather.com, the projection is for mostly sunny at game time with a high of 75 degrees and an overnight low of 55. Winds are expected out of the north to northwest at three to five mph plus a zero percent chance of rain in Madison.

Prediction: I think Pittsburgh is ready to seize another opportunity with timely blocks by the defense to record a 25-24 win against the Radicals. This meeting could come down to which team commits the fewest throwaways and has the freshest legs late in the game. Tyler DeGirolamo could be a factor for the T-birds as long as his hamstring does not tighten up during the match. You can see every pull on the free live stream at AUDL.TV/Live.com.

Next Up: The winner travels to Quebec for the AUDL Championship Weekend, Saturday, Aug. 26 and Sunday, Aug. 27, at the Complexe Sportif Claude-Robillard, home of the Montreal Royal.

Top Video From TheAudlChannel On YouTube.com – Game Highlights: Pittsburgh Thunderbirds At Minnesota Wind Chill — 2017 AUDL Playoffs…

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