By: Jeph Novak
They’re called the Wind Chill, and that’s spelled with five Ws.
On a windy Saturday night, the conditions for throwing a frisbee more than 15 yards were tough. But the Minnesota Wind Chill were able to punch their fifth straight victory of the season in a 22 - 11 win over longtime division rivals, the Madison Radicals.
With a total of 73 turnovers between the two teams, it was hard to keep up with whose dedicated O-lines were on the field throughout. The difference in the game, however, was simple: converting. And Minnesota’s defense has been incredibly consistent in this aspect this year. Saturday was no different, as Minnesota opened the game with three consecutive break points, quickly establishing themselves as home field guardians and setting the tone for the game early on.
Fans were treated to a great game, and their energy echoed throughout Sea Foam Stadium. Despite multiple long points where both teams traded possession of the disc, the atmosphere was electric, which seemed to pick the Chill up and helped them maintain their cool and recover from blocks, missed throws and drops.
Dylan DeClerck is having arguably one of the best seasons of his career. In the game against Madison, he played his best game of the season so far, racking up 4 goals and 3 blocks in his 16 defensive points played. DeClerck has already tied his 2021 season goals of 14, and the team still has six games left to play. His presence on the field cannot be understated. DeClerck seems to be having a lot of fun getting to fit into a more offensive-looking role this year, oftentimes cutting deep on a turnover to quickly secure break points. Even if he doesn’t get the look, he’s prepared for the ever-evolving plays happening on the field.
Photo by Rich Moll
Bret Bergmeier also had his best game of the season, finishing with 2 assists, 4 goals and the fan-awarded title of Surly Player of the Game. Bergmeier returned to the Chill’s lineup after missing the last game against Pittsburgh, and he came out swinging. He consistently shows great awareness of not only his teammates but his opponents and — what was so clutch on Saturday’s game — the conditions. The game dripped with dramatic-looking plays caused by unstable wind conditions, and Bergmeier didn’t let any pass go to chance. The defender’s willingness to layout in big spots earns him rewarding plays — and the fans love it, too.
Wind Chill spectators have seen a lot of excitement at Sea Foam Stadium lately, with two consecutive weeks where plays from St. Paul have made it to the AUDL’s Top Ten Plays of the Week. It won’t be surprising if yet another ends up on the weekly countdown, as the Wind Chill faithful were witnesses to a rare callahan. Abe Coffin secured one of the most coveted plays in the sport in front of the home crowd, which seemed to define the story of the game for both teams.
Photo by Rich Moll
After the game, coach Ben Feldman noted how happy he was that the team was able to secure their fifth straight win, and a loud one at that. He also reiterated the underlying theme of the Wind Chill’s 2022 season: the defense.
“It has been tough to get our offensive group in rhythm this season, and part of that is likely attributed to how frequently our defense has gone on runs and kept them off the field for multiple points in a row,” Feldman said. “It’s a good problem to have, and one we continue to work on outside of game day.”
The Chill will look to continue their win streak as they head on the road next week to face the undefeated Chicago Union for what continues to be a tough battle for first place in the division. This matchup is one fans and players alike have been waiting for, and with five wins and huge momentum behind them, the Wind Chill are coming with a bit of revenge in their eyes.
Head down to Chicago for what is sure to be a great matchup, or watch with an AUDL.tv subscription. When the Wind Chill return to Minnesota, they will be taking on Chicago yet again. Be sure to grab your tickets now and prepare to come early, cheer loud and support your Wind Chill.