Royal Captain Kevin Quinlan is a fan favorite in Montreal
June 28, 2019
by Matt Rezin
Week 13's slate of AUDL action has TWELVE games! Playoff teams across the league are battling for home field advantage. The Midwest playoff picture is still cloudy and most teams (even the Radicals in 5th place) still control their own destiny.
With so many games this weekend, let's get to the players!
Friday, June 28
Chicago Wildfire at Madison Radicals - 8:00 PM/ET
- Seth Weaver (CHI) — In his first AUDL season, Weaver has been a key part of the Wildfire's reinforced defensive line that has them in position for the playoffs for the first time for most of the players on the roster. He'll return to his hometown of Madison this weekend where his experience playing Madison Club under Radicals Coach Tim DeByl could aid his defensive effort. Running college cross country and track seems to be good preparation for the grind of playing defense in the AUDL. Weaver has 10 blocks and 11 assists in 7 games with the Wildfire this season.
- Sterling Knoche (MAD) — A bright spot for the reeling Radicals defense, Knoche leads the team with 18 blocks in 8 games and the league with 2.25 per game. Perhaps emblamatic of the Radicals struggles, Knoche's blocks outpace his prior two seasons in the AUDL while his goals (7) lag behind his career numbers. The Radicals defense hasn't been converting breaks this season when their stars like Knoche are earning blocks; with his 100% completion rate the Radicals should find Knoche as much as possible.
Saturday, June 29
Philadelphia Phoenix at Toronto Rush - 4:00 PM/ET
- Eric Nardelli (PHI) — A veteran of the Phoenix who has mostly played defense throughout his 5 year career, Nardelli has played in every game for the Phoenix this year and will likely add another Steel Spirit award to his AUDL resume. His 10 blocks lead the team this season and they'll need him to have a good performance on the road as they face a consistent Rush offense that rarely gives up easy blocks.
- Akufumi Muraoka (TOR) — After narrowly missing out on a trip to all-star weekend based on the dramatic fan vote that played out on Twitter, Muraoka has continued to be a critical part of the Toronto Rush gameplan. In week 12's tough loss against the Royal, Muraoka had 4 assists and 6 goals in a standout performance. The Toronto Rush have to put some wins on the board in order to secure home field advantage for the first game of the playoffs, Muraoka is second only to all-star representative Cam Harris in points played for the Rush this season.
New York Empire at Montreal Royal - 6:00 PM/ET
- Ben Jagt (NY) — In week 12's Stadium Game of the Week the Empire defeated the Raleigh Flyers in a dramatic highly skilled and competitive contest that went to double overtime. In what could be the game of the year in the regular season, Ben Jagt stood out among many great performances and grabbed ahold of the MVP conversation. Scoring 9 assists, 6 goals and a block, Jagt's speed and size kept the Empire remain undefeated in 2019 despite being against the ropes for much of their time in Raleigh. Through 9 games Jagt is averaging a gaudy 7.77 plus/minus despite his 19 throwaways.
- Kevin Quinlan / Quentin Bonnaud (MTL) — Fans in Montreal last Saturday got to see the Quentin and Quinlan show, as both Kevin Quinlan and Quintin Bonnaud scored 15 for plus/minus with no turnovers as the Royal earned a one goal victory in a major rivalry game against the visiting Toronto Rush. Kevin had 12 assists and 3 goals in the game and his connection with his long time teammate was on full display for the Royal faithful. With 8 scores between the two Qs (7 assists, 1 goal for Quinlan), only 2 of the Royal's 23 points didn't involve Quentin or Quinlan. Bonnaud got to his 15 plus minus with 3 assists, 11 goals and a block, with the block coming on the final point of the game as time expired with his team up 1 on a Rush huck sailing into the end zone.
Indianapolis AlleyCats at Pittsburgh Thunderbirds - 6:00 PM/ET
- Travis Carpenter (IND) — While he's been in the league for as long as anyone else, Travis Carpenter is only 26 years old and he keeps improving. In week 12's home game against the Wind Chill he caught 3 goals and had 7 assists and hockey assists. Carpenter's assists are way up this season and turnovers down against his career averages. He's making the plays that get points for the AlleyCats in the most important part of their season as they try to lock down a bye in the playoffs by taking first in the Midwest division.
- Mark Fedorenko (PIT) — His years of experience match the #7 on his Thunderbirds jersey and Fedorenko has been a fixture on the Pittsburgh roster since their founding in 2015. Listed as a hybrid player, Fedorenko spends roughly 3/4 of his points playing for the o-line doing it all for the Thunderbirds. When he is needed on defense or after a turn, Mark is a solid defender with the skills to earn the disc back. His career numbers reflect this with regular season averages over one per game for assists (1.54), goals (2) and blocks (1.07).
Detroit Mechanix at Minnesota Wind Chill - 7:00 PM/ET
- Andrew Sjogren (DET) — After his first weekend away from the team in 2019, Sjogren will return for the Mechanix road trip to Minnesota where they hope to put their first win on the board. After a blazing start to the season averaging over 5 plus/minus in the first three games, Sjogren has cooled down a little bit. Instead of goals and assists, most of Sjogren's production in May and June has taken the form of Hockey Assists. As one of the most dedicated Mechanix players he'll be a big part of their gameplan.
- Quinn Snider (MIN) — While he's only played in 4 games in his rookie AUDL season, when you sort this season's statistics by plus/minus per game, Snider is 3nd overall with a 7.5 average, right between DC's McDonnell and New York's Jagt. In key wins for the Wind Chill, Snider has played a major factor, like when he scored 10 goals and 3 assists in a 1 goal win against the visiting Wildfire on June 1st. Hopefully in the future he'll be available to play a full season and we can see if he can repeat these outstanding performances long term. This 6'2" Canadian cutter is active this weekend as the Wind Chill welcome the Mechanix to Minnesota.
Raleigh Flyers at Tampa Bay Cannons - 7:30 PM/ET
- Jacob Fairfax (RAL) — Since representing the Flyers in the All-Star Game, Fairfax has been on a tear as Raleigh welcomed the Roughnecks and then Empire to town. Against Dallas, Fairfax had 4 assists and 6 goals as his Flyers trounced the tired Roughnecks (playing a Sunday afternoon game after visiting Tampa Bay Saturday night). Then in last week's incredible Stadium Game of the Week Fairfax kept it up scoring 4 assists, 3 goals and a block without a turnover despite the robust Empire defense. Tied for first in the South division, the Flyers still have something to play for as they visit Florida Saturday evening.
- Tanner Repasky (TB) — Despite the results of the Cannons week 12 double header, Tanner Repasky was a bright spot for the Cannons who had an assist and 6 goals over the weekend and had a 100% completion percentage. As the season winds down the Cannons will rely on able veterans like Repasky to set an example for the young talent they're developing in Florida.
Atlanta Hustle at Dallas Roughnecks - 8:00 PM/ET
- Matt Smith (ATL) — 4 weeks after their last game (6/2) the Hustle travel to Dallas this weekend with the playoffs out of reach but third place in the competitive South Division well within their grasp if they can finish the season strong. They've got a strong roster traveling this weekend including their team's all-star representative and team leader Matt Smith back in action for the first time since his trip to Madison. Leading the team in plus/minus (as ever) with 40 in 9 games, Smith's consistent and technical play is the driving force behind the Hustle offense.
- Abe Coffin (DAL) — After missing the entire 2018 season due to a wrist injury, Coffin has returned better than ever for the Roughnecks and his week 12 performance against the Cannons was evidence that he is back to playing at 100%. Playing a team leading 26 points, Coffin also led in assists (6), completions (43) and tied for first in blocks (3). Mostly handling for the Dallas offense, Coffin also grabbed a goal as the Roughnecks rolled to their seventh win of the season and a tie in first place for the South Division. With Brandon Malecek inactive this weekend Coffin could shoulder a lot of the handling duties against Atlanta.
Seattle Cascades at San Diego Growlers - 9:30 PM/ET
- Khalif El-Salaam (SEA) — Defense is the hallmark of El-Salaam's game and he is second on the Cascades in blocks this season (to the inactive Zach Sabin, 14) with 8 in 7 games. Representing Seattle at the All-Star Game a few weeks ago, Khalif had a huge performance in the showcase game. Leading Team Rowan in points played with 29, he scored an assist, 2 goals and a block without a turnover to finish with a plus/minus of 6 that tied for the lead on Team Rowan. As the Cascades face their 10th and 11th opponents of the year on this weekend's road trip to the 2019 West Division playoff franchises, El-Salaam's presence on the defensive line will keep opposing handlers in check.
- Tim Okita (SD) — Most of the teams in the AUDL have a heavy volume handler who is a reliable reset target and keeps the disc moving but doesn't get the shine of their downfield teammates because they spend their time letting everyone else get downfield for big plays. For the West Division leading Growlers that player has been Tim Okita this season. Third in assists with 31, Okita's 317 completions lead the Growlers even though he's missed two games. His 7 throwing turnovers are also lower than any of his fellow handlers for San Diego and when he's active you can expect around 4 assists and a goal from Okita in 2019.
Sunday, June 30
Detroit Mechanix at Chicago Wildfire - 2:00 PM/ET
- Jordan Kinde (DET) — In the tough Midwest Division, the Mechanix have dealt with roster consistency issues all season. Kinde is one of a few players on the Detroit roster that have a chance at a Steel Spirit Award (for playing in every game of the regular season) along with Joe Cubitt and Jeff Schubert. Based on his statistics he's played primarily as a secondary handler option for the Mechanix offense. With fellow standouts Whitton, Innis and Coulter unavailable this weekend Kinde will have to step up for Detroit and put the disc into the end zone.
- Matt Rehder (CHI) — After a couple of games without Rehder, the Wildfire's best cutter is back for the critical week 13 road trip. Leading the Wildfire in goals scored with 26, Matt has averaged an impressive 5.5 plus/minus per game for Chicago this season. Rehder and the Wildfire will visit Madison and Detroit to ensure their spot in the Midwest division playoffs. When Rehder was a Player-To-Watch in week 9, he went off in Minnesota with an 11 goal game!
Atlanta Hustle at Austin Sol - 2:00 PM/ET
- Eli Jaime (ATL) — While team captain Matt Smith has the team lead in plus/minus, Jaime leads the Hustle in plus/minus per game (5.57) as he's played 2 games less than Smith but only trails Smith's overall plus/minus by 1. Both are active this weekend for the Hustle's big road trip to Texas, watch for a number of Smith and Jaime connections. Jaime leads the Hustle in goals with 35 in his first season with the team. Last year he played in Nashville where he made a big impact but nothing like his productive time spent in the end zone this summer. Since he was a Player-to-Watch in week 6, he's improved his average from 4 to 5 goals per game.
- Andrew Walch (ATX) — In week 12 the struggling Sol welcomed the Cannons to town as 2.5 point favorites on audlpicks.com and blew that forecast out of the water winning the game by 9 points. Sol veteran Andrew Walch was critical to that victory, marked by his team leading plus/minus of 6 thanks to 3 assists, 2 goals and a block in 17 points played. The last time Walch faced the Hustle he scored 2 assists, 3 goals and a block, he's a consistent enough player that you can count on a similar line this Sunday afternoon.
New York Empire at Ottawa Outlaws - 2:00 PM/ET
- Harper Garvey (NY) — Lead handler on the league's best team, Harper Garvey's outrageous throwing ability opens up the whole field for his teammates to find or create open space for Harper to throw into. Harper regularly puts the disc in the end zone, he's tied for sixth in the league (with Ben Jagt) with 4.44 assists per game. Garvey's big throws and sure handling also put his teammates in position to score assists; he has 31 hockey assists (~3.5 per game, normal for him) so far this season, 8 of which led to Jagt assists.
- Nick Boucher (OTT) — The transition to the offense is still going well for Boucher; he finds himself leading the Outlaws in assists and completions as he moves the Ottawa offense with sure hands. His 93.3% completion rating is the best of his five year AUDL career, it seems he's found the appropriate role for the Outlaws. He's averaged roughly 3.5 assists, 1 goal and 2 hockey assists per game this season, we'll see if he can guide Ottawa through choppy waters as they welcome the Empire to town this Sunday.
Seattle Cascades at Los Angeles Aviators - 4:30 PM/ET
- Jay Boychuk (SEA) — Boychuk leads the Cascades in plus/minus (45) and goals (33) and trails only Mark Burton in assists (23). When opposing defenses gameplan for the Cascades late in the season, Boychuk should be garnering much of the attention. In the past two weeks he's played especially well even based on his high standard. Against San Jose and San Diego, Boychuk earned plus/minus of 8 and 9 respectively, keeping turnovers low while finding the end zone.
- Calvin Brown (LA) — A mid-season addition from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Brown touched the disc more than any of his Aviators teammates last Saturday night in San Jose. Without a single turnover, Brown worked the Aviators offense for 7 assists, 6 hockey assists and a goal as the Aviators defeated the Spiders 31-27. Keep an eye on Brown as we head into the playoffs, with his heavy use in recent games, I'd expect he'll find himself on the Aviators playoff roster.