July 19, 2019
by Matt Rezin
With the regular season wrapped up, we have two teams hoping to reach their division championships this weekend and the AUDL Game of the Week on Stadium already has the West Division Championship in store for AUDL fans later Saturday evening. This is the playoffs so if you've read 'Players to Watch' before this season these names will be familiar, they're likely MVPs for their own teams this season if not in the conversation for the league award.
Saturday, July 20
Chicago Wildfire at Pittsburgh Thunderbirds - 6:00 PM/ET
- Pawel Janas (CHI) — With some key players missing in week 15, the Wildfire couldn't keep this playoff game at home. Most of those players are back for the road trip to Pittsburgh this weekend to better open the Thunderbirds defense and help Pawel prove that last weekend was a fluke. Janas finished the regular season with the league lead by quite a margin in both completions and assists. For a handler with his huge number of touches it's pretty incredible that he wound up tied for sixth in plus/minus at 66 on the season.
6.17 assists/g | .83 goals/g | .58 blocks/g | 96.9% on 685 completions
- Max Sheppard (PIT) — Joining the 50/50 club with his 12 assists and 15 goals over 2 week 15 games, Sheppard has kept playing the best ultimate of his career since winning the all-star MVP. Before the all-star game Max was scoring 3 assists and 3.71 goals per game, since his June 8 performance in Madison he's scored 6.8 assists and 6.2 goals per game. Double digit plus/minus performances are fairly rare in the AUDL but Sheppard has a three game streak going right now (14, 12, 11) as he runs the Thunderbirds offense with confidence.
4.58 assists/g | 4.75 goals/g | .75 blocks/g | 91.4% on 233 completions
DC Breeze at Toronto Rush - 7:00 PM/ET
- Matthew McDonnell (DC) — The 2018 MVP had another excellent regular season, Rowan finished second in goals behind Quentin Bonnaud, scoring 21 more than last summer to finish with 59. With the Breeze's frontloaded schedule they should be rested and ready for the playoffs and start their 2019 challenge with a road trip to Toronto. When DC faced Toronto this season each team won at home in close games, their playoff matchup with full rosters should be quite the battle.
3.92 assists/g | 4.92 goals/g | .33 blocks/g | 94.0% on 377 completions
- Cameron Harris (TOR) — In his 7th season with the Rush, Harris was all over the offense per usual, finishing tied for 14th in the league in plus minus with 53. The Rush really spread the disc around more this season with eight players finishing with double digit totals in assists and nine players with double digit goals totals. Harris still lead the pack thanks to his years of experience (and a strong finish in home games against Philadelphia and DC). As the Rush try to reclaim their East division throne in this year's playoffs Harris is going to be a huge part of the plan.
3.00 assists/g | 2.25 goals/g | .75 blocks/g | 93.3% on 223 completions
Los Angeles Aviators at San Diego Growlers - 9:00 PM/ET
- Sean McDougall (LA) — Tied with Janas at 6th in plus/minus with 66, McDougall has taken on a different role in the Aviators offense. With young, talented rookie cutters on the field this season McDougall has used his experience to play initiating cutter and handle the disc more this season (and also put up shots). His completion percentage and goals dropped this year but the dramatic increase in assists shows that more often than not his deep shots are finding their targets. Along with the Aviators rookies, McDougall enters the playoffs looking to show off his skills and put his teammates in the best position.
3.83 assists/g | 2.42 goals/g | .83 blocks/g | 92.5% on 186 completions
- Travis Dunn (SD) — Across the eleven games he played in this season Dunn's output was incredibly consistent almost guaranteeing 4 assists and 3 goals per game. His completion rate is the best of his career, and on top of his 48 assists this season he has 40 hockey assists, because Dunn gets the disc to his teammates with space to work. In last years playoff game he had 4 goals and 4 assists, this year it looks like that's the minimum we can expect as the Growlers welcome the Aviators to San Diego.
4.36 assists/g | 3.00 goals/g | .73 blocks/g | 94.0% on 313 completions