Photo by Scott Houghtaling – UltiPhotos.com
The Vancouver Nighthawks defeated the Seattle Rainmakers 29-24 in double overtime on Saturday night at Renton Memorial Stadium.
With less than a minute on the clock in regulation, Vancouver’s Kevin Underhill reeled in a score from Kirk Savage to tie the game at 22. Seattle was unable to take the lead before time expired. The teams traded points in overtime until the five-minute quarter ended in a 24-24 tie. With Vancouver now receiving the pull to begin the second overtime, a drained Seattle team couldn’t muster the energy to contain the surging Nighthawks. Vancouver reeled off five-straight scores to win behind the excellent play of Kirk Savage, who had a goal and an assist in the second overtime period.
Nonetheless, Seattle had its chances. After a seemingly devastating drop by Vancouver’s Gagandeep Chatha in the first overtime, the Rainmakers were poised to capitalize and convert a break to grab a two-point lead. But Danny Trytiak was too concerned about keeping his feet in-bounds that he dropped the disc in the end zone. Vancouver would go on to hold the point, Chatha redeeming himself with a goal from Kirk Savage.
“We dropped the game-winning goal. We had a goal to go up a break with less than a minute left and it bounced out of someone’s hands and Vancouver tied it up,” said Rainmakers Coach Steve Gussin. “They came out and played really well and we lost our legs a little bit at the start of the second overtime. And credit to them, they worked their butts off all game long. They worked really hard and played a fantastic game.”
The start of the game was a back and forth affair. Vancouver started off with the disc looking upwind into the sun. Seattle’s normally potent handler defense was unable to generate pressure against smart throws and resets by the Nighthawks. After hitting a few under passes, Kirk Savage found Gagandeep Chatha in the end zone for the first point of the game. Seattle responded with a quick score from Danny Trytiak to Kahyee Fong to even the game. On the next point Seattle was able to generate some pressure and Bryson Uhrig-Fox forced the first turnover. A huge huck from Henry Phan to Chris Bubernak put Seattle on the doorstep. Bubernak earned the assist to Rory Gallagher and Seattle had their first break, but Vancouver earned it back a few points later after a drop by Donnie Clark.
League writers predicted this game to be a high-scoring contest, and the Nighthawks and Rainmakers delivered. Seattle’s defense still played well, but consistent pressure was hard to come by. The Rainmakers D-Line did not force as many high stall count throws than their first game against Vancouver in Mount Vernon. Questionable throws and drops led to far more turns. Both of Seattle’s breaks during the second quarter came off of overthrown huck looks by Vancouver.
Vancouver would lead 7-6 at the end of the first quarter, with Seattle receiving the next pull. Seattle held, then Eddie Feeley converted two breaks into scores, earning himself a goal and an assist. He would also have five defensive plays over the course of the game. Danny Trytiak held the highest stats for the O-line with three goals, four assists and two defensive plays.
Vancouver would earn another break in the second quarter to tie the game at 12 going into half. After a halftime showcase featuring women’s club team Seattle Underground, neither the Nighthawks nor the Rainmakers could pull away. They traded holds and breaks to keep the game close. Neither team led by more than two during regulation. Seattle held the lead almost the entire second half, but center handler Kirk Savage for the Nighthawks kept his team close, distributing the disc and keeping the offense flowing. Fittingly, Savage threw the assist to Keane Knapp to secure the break that would send Vancouver into the first overtime and eventual victory. Savage ended the night with two goals, seven assists and three defensive plays. Morgan Hibbert anchored the defensive line with one goal, one assist and six defensive plays.
Next week’s game will be a rematch in Vancouver. A win for the Nighthawks would give them the series over Seattle, but the Rainmakers sorely need a victory to catch up to Portland as the conference leader.
Tune in to MLU Live beginning at 7:00 p.m. PT on Saturday to watch the Rainmakers win the season series.