Photo by Rich Moll
By: Jeph Novak
On Sunday night, seven turnovers occurred in the first nearly six minutes before a point was scored; the stands rumbled in an uproar as the flag guy ran laps around the field; and an utterly ridiculous, absurdly chaotic, erratically exciting buzzer beater put the exclamation point on the end of the sentence that was the Minnesota Wind Chill’s 2022 regular season.
As the Detroit Mechanix looked for one final chance to prevent their fourth consecutive winless season, the Minnesota Wind Chill came with a less-experienced — though still impressive — lineup. Beating Detroit 28 - 9, Minnesota had much to celebrate in their last regular season game.
After the opening point, which took a whopping 5 minutes and 56 seconds to achieve due to multiple turnovers caused by the windy conditions, the Wind Chill showed off in front of the home crowd. Sophomore Paul Krenik came out in full force with four goals and three blocks. His rookie teammate Marty Adams paired nicely with 1 assist, 3 goals and nearly 300 total yards. In a lineup that was missing some key components, including Rocco Linehan, Abe Coffin and Sam Ward, these two took on a bigger role in the game against Detroit. Ahead of the postseason, seeing these two find their groove on the team in both offensive and defensive roles is a hopeful sign.
Throughout the game, the windy conditions made it difficult to throw a disc more than 15 yards, let alone catch anything. This worked against Detroit’s strategy of trying to nail down the long game. In fact, among both teams, there was a total of 63 turnovers, with 40 of those coming from the Mechanix. In the opening quarter of the game, the Mechanix kept up with Minnesota, putting pressure on early. In both the first and third quarters, a single point was played for more than 5 and half minutes. Detroit appeared to be their own worst enemy, not quite capitalizing on the many break point opportunities awarded to them with the high volume of turnovers. On the other hand, Minnesota played the game they have been playing this entire season:taking advantage of errors, drops and turnovers, and securing break points when given the chance.
Photo by Rich Moll
One of the most notable players who caused some waves in Sunday’s game was none other than Brandon Matis, who was playing in his 100th career game with the Wind Chill.
Matis had his best game of the year, adding two assists, two goals and three blocks to his stat sheet. Of his performance, Matis eloquently chalked it up to the chemistry of the team and the work the club has done together this year:
“Man, I think that's just the beauty of the makeup of our team this year. We genuinely have 20 players in any given game that can make an impact in this way—it just happened to be my turn.”
Matis is the longest-tenured player on the Wind Chill, now with 100 games under his belt. He recalls trying out for the team a decade ago, hoping to get some experience and not expecting to make the team. Now, he’s a regular in the lineup.
“To have now been a staple on the team for a decade feels almost surreal,” Matis said. “It’s certainly a testament to the dedication, work, and passion I’ve put into this team too, so it's a validating milestone for sure. To see all the love from everyone at Sea Foam was humbling and touching. I can't adequately put in words how grateful I am to all of the past and present owners, coaches, teammates, family, friends, and fans that have supported me and the team throughout my tenure.”
And, with arguably one of the best seasons of his career in 2022, Matis says he hopes to continue that tenure for years to come. The defensive pillar of the Wind Chill is always in the weight room or training in some type of way. In his words, Matis looks for ways to adapt and “evolve his game,” this year focusing on playing help defense, spying set plays and route recognition. He says this has helped his on-field IQ and awareness overall, whether he is going for a defensive sky or is looking for an endzone layout.
“I truly feel like I'm playing the best frisbee of my career right now, and won't even give thought to slowing down any time soon,” Matis said. “I can't wait to carry that into the playoffs and beyond.”
The Minnesota Wind Chill celebrated huge goals, huge milestones and the fans in their season finale, and are now looking forward to the much-anticipated home playoff game against the Indianapolis AlleyCats.
"A lot of hard work has gone into the season up and till this point, and we are excited to have earned this opportunity to play one more home game in front of our incredible fans," said Head Coach Ben Feldman.
Sunday’s show was a fitting end to an exciting regular season that saw many huge plays, exciting combinations of players clicking, and a defense that consistently exploded week after week.
The upcoming August 13 matchup will be the first playoff game the Wind Chill have hosted since 2017. The game begins at 6 p.m. and will include live music, balloon animals and a lot of excitement.
Grab your tickets now and get ready to cheer on the home squad one last time this season!