Photo by John King – UltiPhotos.com
Sunday saw the top two teams in the Western Conference meet for the second time in three weeks. After a hard-fought game, the Stags defeated the Rainmakers, 20-18.
With revenge on their mind Seattle came up just short of an away victory and an opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the third place Dogfish for the second and final playoff spot.
Unlike their Week 7 meeting, this game saw Portland take a quick two-point lead in the first quarter before the two teams traded points the rest of the way.
Neither team was able to pull away or gain much momentum other than Portland’s two-point swing in the first quarter. Each team capitalized on quick huck scores in the third as a result of the other team’s offside penalties but neither was able to put together more than two points in a row.
Seattle tied the game early in the fourth quarter but Portland’s defense came alive and put a stop to any hope Seattle had of completing the comeback and taking the lead. Seattle played perhaps its best ultimate late in the fourth quarter, but they simply ran out of time. Had this game continued for another five minutes, Seattle was playing well enough to win.
Jeff Pape led all Rainmakers with three goals to go along with his one assist. He also completed 16 of 17 throws along the way. In what was mostly a defensive struggle, the teams seemed to match each other across the board. Each team had three drops, an offsides penalty and for a moment in the fourth quarter, the same score.
“It’s a puzzle,” said Rainmakers cutter Mark Burton. “We’re putting together the pieces and getting closer and closer. We had opportunities this game, now we just have to take them.”
Next week the first place Stags will be on a bye as Seattle tries to keep the traveling Dogfish from stealing their second playoff spot in the Western Conference. Seattle will have the benefit of facing a Dogfish team on the back end of a double header as they play at Vancouver Saturday before facing Seattle on Sunday.
If San Francisco can pull off a victory against the fourth-place Vancouver, Sunday’s winner will be in sole possession of second place heading into the final week of the regular season.
Come see the Rainmakers take on the San Francisco Dogfish this Sunday at 1:00 at Renton Memorial Stadium. Purchase tickets here.