On Saturday, Coach Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood’s observation that the Ottawa Outlaws have improved every game correctly predicted a win over the surprisingly resurgent Philadelphia Phoenix. Ottawa won the home game 22-19, receiving a surprising boost from the D-Line in the form of five break goals. As usual, Derek Alexander led the team with five assists, while speedster Karl Loiseau found himself in the endzone for seven important goals. His brother, Laurent, was second on the team with four goals. The MVP, though, could well have been Flick the mascot, whose dance moves have made admirers of the crowd for two weeks running.
Though Philadelphia opened the game with an offensive hold, Ottawa’s defence forced a turnover and almost capitalized on the opportunity, proving that they would again contribute after a solid showing against Montreal in the game prior.
On the offensive side, Ottawa’s first goal came via brother-brother connection, as Karl found Laurent in the endzone for a hold. The two brothers found their first ever combination for a goal against Montreal in the week prior, and they picked up right where they left off.
Though the first eight points all ended with offensive holds, Ottawa opened the game with the first break point. Paul Renaud recorded a massive D – the first of his game-leading four – before the defensive offence cleanly punched in the goal. Geoff Bevan went every other to keep possession before Matt O’Brien found Paul Mensah in the endzone. A timely block from Aidan Hayter held the score at 5-4 to end the first quarter.
Though Ottawa’s offence was broken to start the 2nd, a hold was followed by an Outlaw’s defensive break to push the lead to 7-5. That two-goal differential would be maintained by Ottawa until halftime, as Paul Renaud threw the disc away but then saved his skin with a block just before time expired.
The third quarter began cleanly, with several offensive holds from both teams. In fact, ten straight holds – though both teams had chances created with multiple blocks – were finally interrupted by an Ottawa goal. Captain Nick Boucher interrupted a pass from Sean Mott, and a timeout allowed Ottawa a chance to put its offensive stars on the field. Derek Alexander went every other before eventually finding Karl Loiseau in the endzone for an important goal, giving the Outlaws a key three-goal lead with only a few minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Ignoring the building pressure for its first win, Ottawa began its final quarter with two clean offensive holds as Greg Ellis and Derek Alexander threw timely assists. A Kyle Cantal block on an Ethan Fortin pass allowed the defence another goal, pushing the lead to 20-17. That would prove to be insurmountable, as each team traded two more goals to finish the game. The final point in particular was a momentous victory for Ottawa, as the D-Line (bolstered by Greg Ellis) forced Philadelphia into a marathon point that extended for practically half the entire quarter. Paul Mensah and Nick Boucher recorded blocks, and although the defence didn’t score, it forced the Phoenix to waste so much time that a comeback proved impossible.
Ottawa amassed 16 total blocks en route to victory, along with an incredibly efficient offensive conversation rate of 80%. Paul Renaud, Nick Boucher, Derek Alexander, and both Loiseau brothers were instrumental in the victory, as the team played a consistent four quarters at home. The team will next face the Toronto Rush in Toronto on May 20th, where Ottawa will attempt its first ever victory over their Ontario rivals. Ottawa has improved immeasurably each game, so all signs point to the Ottawa-Toronto clash being one for the ages.