Week 4 Matchups Preview

May 18, 2023
By Sam Weiger

Los Angeles Aviators at Salt Lake Shred
Friday, May 19 - 9:00 PM/ET - Watch link

Los Angeles faces two elite teams on back-to-back days this weekend, starting with Salt Lake. The Shred lead the league in goals per game, while the Aviators are still trying to find their groove offensively. 

The Aviators have some good news on the offensive end, as new additions Pawel Janas, Sean McDougall, and Daniel Brunker are starting to jell as a unit. However, Salt Lake has one of the deepest offenses in the AUDL, led by Jordan Kerr, Sean Connole, Jacob Miller, and Jace Duennebeil. Miller is off to a hot start in his third AUDL season, and he racked up four assists, two goals, and 753 yards last week against the Spiders.

LA’s defense is currently ranked in the top five in the AUDL in goals against per game, but they have only faced the winless Nitro and a tired Colorado team on the second night of a back-to-back. This game will be the Aviators defense’s toughest test of the season thus far.

One Big Number: 
25.5 - The Shred are averaging 25.5 goals per game this season, first in the league. 
15.5 - Los Angeles has allowed an average of only 15.5 goals per game this season, the fifth lowest mark in the league.

Pittsburgh Thunderbirds at Minnesota Wind Chill
Saturday, May 20 - 7:00 PM/ET - Watch link

The two teams currently atop the Central division will meet for the first and final time of the season. Three weeks ago, most people would have considered Minnesota the clear favorite to win this game. That is no longer the case.

Pittsburgh was ranked 18th in the AUDL preseason power rankings, but they have since risen to 12th. Noah Celuch, who is racking up blocks and limiting turnovers, is the embodiment of the T-birds’ identity in 2023. Josh Klane, who has a high completion percentage and minimizes turnovers, is a perfect example of Minnesota’s style of play this season.

Both teams have strong defenses, but Minnesota’s offense is more talented. Klane, Quinn Snider, Bryan Vohnoutka, Abe Coffin, and the home crowd give the Wind Chill a slight edge in this intriguing matchup.

One Big Number:
- Minnesota had only 10 turnovers in their Week 1 win against Indianapolis.
2.5 - Pittsburgh has allowed an average of only 2.5 breaks per game to opponents, the fewest in the league this season.

Los Angeles Aviators at Colorado Summit
Saturday, May 20 - 8:00 PM/ET - Watch link


The Aviators will attempt to get revenge after blowing a lead in their Week 2 loss to Colorado. However, they’ll have to overcome fatigue from a grueling game against Salt Lake the night before. Colorado is coming off a dominant performance against Seattle, in which they scored a season-high 26 goals.

Jonathan Nethercutt, who leads the league in assists and hucks this season, continues to confound defenses with his unpredictable throws. 2022 DPOTY Cody Spicer has played the most defensive points and has the highest plus/minus of any Colorado defender this season. With Quinn Finer finally looking like himself in Week 3, the Summit are now firing on all cylinders.

Despite losing by only three goals against Colorado in Week 2, Los Angeles will be heavy underdogs in their rematch with the Summit. Only the top teams in the AUDL could defeat Colorado after playing the Shred the night before. 

One Big Number:
- Nethercutt has set a new career high for assists in the first three games of a season with 21. This is the eighth season of his illustrious career.
0 - After playing 2022 with the Growlers, Sean McDougall has zero turnovers in his first two starts in his return to LA.

Austin Sol at San Diego Growlers | Game of the Week
Saturday, May 20 - 8:00 PM/ET - Watch link

The Sol have had a mixed start to the season, beating two subordinate opponents and then losing to two playoff contenders. Austin’s position in the AUDL power rankings is a head-scratcher. This game against a middle-of-the-pack San Diego team should provide some clarity.

Austin’s passing game has been struggling this season, and it is largely due to the decreased completion percentages of Kyle Henke and Mark Evans. San Diego will be without Travis Dunn, who is coming off one of the best games of his career. Paul Lally, who led the Growlers in yardage last year, could return and play his first full game of the season. 

The Growlers defeated the lower-ranking Nitro by only three goals last week, even with Dunn’s remarkable performance. Henke, Evans, Evan Swiatek, and Duncan Fitzgerald are playing well enough together offensively to overpower San Diego.

One Big Number:
- Lally totaled 6,558 yards in 2022.
51 - The Sol have completed 51 fewer passes per game in 2023 than they did in 2022. This is a significant drop-off, and it is worth keeping an eye on the pass-making ability of Henke and Evans in this game.

Atlanta Hustle at Carolina Flyers
Sunday, May 21 - 1:00 PM/ET - Watch link


Both Atlanta and Carolina both picked up wins over the Austin Sol last weekend. The Hustle have defeated three playoff contenders to start the season, but they have yet to play a game on the road. Their road record last year was 0-3 against playoff contenders. 

Nonetheless, the Hustle have turned their offense into a loaded wrecking crew. Brett Hulsmeyer and newcomer Liam Haberfield continue to exceed expectations, while Matt Smith and Bobby Ley are on track to have more scores than they did last season. Dean Ramsey, who primarily played defensive points in his first two seasons, has become a hybrid dual-line player this season and led the Hustle in goals last week.

Last week also saw Liam Searles-Bohs and Matt Gouchoe-Hanas make their season debuts, revitalizing a Carolina offense that has been hampered by injuries. In this thrilling matchup, Searles-Bohs, Gouchoe-Hanas, Jacob Fairfax, and the Carolina crowd will pose a significant challenge to Atlanta.

One Big Number: 
- Smith and Ley have already combined for 28 scores in three games this season. They combined for 70 scores all of last season. 
48.92 - Gouchoe-Hanas completed an average of 48.92 passes per game in 2022, which was tied for the most on the Flyers.