Thundersbirds Shock Minnesota in Overtime
By: Tanner Jurek
The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds came to Minnesota looking to play spoilers on the Saturday and did exactly that. The Thunderbirds, previously 1-9 came in with nothing to lose and gave the Wind Chill everything they could handle and more, pulling out a one point victory late in overtime with a catch in the corner of the end zone. Pittsburgh certainly didn’t play like a 1-9 team Saturday night.
Despite the loss, Minnesota’s offense was it’s strong suit for the majority of the game. The offensive line consisted of 6 former Minnesota Grey Duck players and Michael Jordan, so the chemistry was great. The defense will need to step up the intensity and create more scores if the Wind Chill want to succeed going forward.
The first quarter was a display of offensive efficiency from the Wind Chill. The offensive line scored every time they were on the field, but unfortunately Pittsburgh did nearly the same thing. Minnesota’s defense only scored once on Pittsburgh during the first quarter with an assist from Dylan Declerk to Jimmy Kittleson. Since the Wind Chill pulled the disc to start the game and both teams traded scored for the majority of the quarter, the Wind Chill ended the first quarter up 7-6.
The Wind Chill received the disc to start the second quarter and took advantage with an assist from Ryan Osgar to Michael Jordan. This gave the Wind Chill the breathing room they had been looking for in the first quarter. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do anything with that breathing room and couldn’t pull away. Both teams continued to trade points for the remainder of the quarter before Pittsburgh got the final score to end the half 14-13.
With the Wind Chill pulling the disc to the Thunderbirds, the Thunderbirds had the opportunity to tie the game up out of halftime and that’s exactly what they did. The score was 14-14, but the Wind Chill came back out and created some more breathing room, scoring twice to make the score 17-15 before creating another turnover and calling a timeout before scoring 2 more times to make the score 19-15 before Pittsburgh could stop the bleeding to make the score 19-16. The score was 21-17, with the Wind Chill leading at the end of the third quarter. Wind Chill fans at the National Sports Center were feeling confident going into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was when things started to unravel for the Wind Chill. A 22-17 lead quickly turned into a 22-21 lead for the Wind Chill. At that point, it was anyone’s game. Minnesota’s offense had started so strong at the beginning of the game was now starting to make mistakes. Minnesota was able to trade points with Pittsburgh, but they couldn’t get a defensive stop, which meant they were in trouble.
The score was 25-23 before a Pittsburgh score made it 25-24. Minnesota would be receiving with the clock winding down. If the Wind Chill could run out the clock, they would win. Unfortunately, a low throw gave Pittsburgh the disc back with seconds left on the clock. A Pittsburgh timeout let them get set up and quick offense tied the game for them. The Wind Chill didn’t have enough time to launch a hail mary before overtime.
The Wind Chill started overtime on defense. They would need a defensive stop to give themselves a chance here. It wasn’t in the cards. The Thunderbirds had the momentum and played clinical offense, never giving the Wind Chill a chance to take the lead. The Thunderbirds received the disc with the game tied at 28 and the Wind Chill’s defensive line played solid defense, but the Thunderbirds made a difficult throw and the Thunderbird’s Max Sheppard was able to toe the line with just a few seconds left. The Wind Chill didn’t have enough time to put up a hail mary and fell to the Thunderbirds 29-28.
Trey Taylor, younger brother to Wind Chill stud Jordan Taylor and former U-19 Team USA National Team member Trey Taylor made his Wind Chill debut on Saturday. Trey plays ultimate at the University of Utah. Bright Spots Despite the heartbreaker in overtime, the Wind Chill still had some bright spots. Charles Weinberg led the team with 7 goals and 4 assists. Josh Klane and Ryan Osgar each had 6 assists and Charlie McCutcheon led the team with 4 defensive blocks.
The Minnesota Wind Chill face off against Chicago at home this upcoming weekend at the National Sports Center in Blaine. This will be there final regular season home game. A win won't clinch a playoff spot for the Wind Chill, but it would require the Wind Chill to lose their remaining 3 games (@MAD, @INDY, @CHI) and Chicago to win all 3 remaining games (vs. INDY, @MAD, vs.MIN) for the Wildfire to punch a playoff berth in their place. Madison and Indianapolis have already clinched playoff berths. The Wind Chill can still finish #2 in the division and host a playoff game by winning their remaining 4 games (vs. CHI, @MAD, @INDY, @CHI) and having Indianapolis lose one of their two remaining games on the road to Madison or Chicago.