Photo by Jeff Bell for UltiPhotos – http://www.ultiphotos.com
Seattle took control last night at Vancouver’s pristine Thunderbird Stadium, proving with a strong 21-15 win over the Nighthawks that their so-called second half slump is over.
With the sun in the sky and only a gentle breeze swirling toward them, the Rainmakers started out on offense and scored two rapid fire goals with connections from Adam Simon to Phil Murray and Matty Zemel to Jacob Speidel before Vancouver was able to get on the board with a pass from Andre Gailits to Mark Leduc. Seattle would go on to distribute their points fairly evenly through the roster, but Vancouver relied heavily on their stars: Oscar Pottinger, Aaron Loach, Mark Leduc, Andre Gailits, and Kirk Savage. The first quarter ended with a last-second catch by Gailits to make it 5-4 Seattle.
The Rainmakers went on to throw their bodies all over the place throughout the second quarter with surprise layout Ds and breathtaking horizontal leaps to score, but the Nighthawks were able to capitalize on several errors committed by the Rainmakers. Tyler Kinley fumbled a catch in his own endzone only to turn it over, giving Savage an easy throw to Pottinger to tie the game at 5s. Adam Holt was stalled out on his own endzone line and Savage again picked up and was able to make the assist, throwing to Alexander Davis this time, giving Vancouver their first lead of the match with 4:48 left in the half. Vancouver would hold onto the lead despite a buzzer-beating hammer from Sam Harkness to Donnie Clark, making it 8-7 Nighthawks going into the third quarter.
Facing questions about their ability to perform in the second half, Seattle did not disappoint. The Rainmakers continued distributing passes and points throughout their roster and were able to score six unanswered points off the bat in the third quarter. Vancouver was able to answer back, but the damage was done and the two teams mostly traded points until the end of the game.
In what should be a serious contender for the Waveborn Offensive Play of the Week, Mark Burton was able to rescue an out-of-bounds throw and convert an unlikely grab into a greatest, caught by Sam Harkness over the outstretched hands of two Nighthawks. Harkness led the team in goals with five, but as always, the remaining 16 were spread fairly evenly throughout the roster, while Simon played the role of distributor by picking up five assists.
A couple of noteworthy second half highlights were some bookends for Elliot Trotter, who was able to get the run-through D and then score on the same point to extend Seattle’s lead to 13-8, and a rundown score by Murray off of a huck by Simon, who celebrated in true #MLUbadboy fashion by striking a pose in the endzone. Vancouver would score last, making it 21-15 Seattle with 13 seconds to play. On the final point, O’Brien and Simon passed the disc patiently back and forth in a veteran move to kill the remaining time without incident.
Defensive standouts Donnie Clark, Frank Barich, and Erik Doesburg all had two Ds apiece. Doesburg’s massive lanky frame was especially welcome on Seattle’s D-line as the team resumed their place in the conference as the team with the greatest point differential with 16. The Rainmakers were also able to leapfrog in the standings over the San Francisco Dogfish, who had a bye this week, to attain first place in the Western Conference.
The referees are to be commended for keeping things largely in check and making sure the game continued moving at a consistent clip. They were forced to resorted to the orange band when Seattle’s Mario O’Brien displayed some unsportsmanlike celebration following a Rainmakers score, but otherwise the match was relatively call-free, at least in comparison to previous meetings between the two heated Pacific Northwest rivals.
Will Seattle be able to repeat their second half scoring streak and lack of allowed points at home next week against Portland? Get your tickets today and find out!