[Watch the Highlights] – [Full Boxscore]
Without the strong defensive play of the Empire in this game, the Montreal Royal may have walked away from a beautiful day at MCU Park in Coney Island with a win. But, thanks to the defense, the Empire improved to 2-0 with a huge 21-19 win.
The first half was a tale of the New York defense. Scoring throughout the entire game was kept low, but in large part because of the effort and simply time on the field by the Empire’s defensive lines. That isn’t to say though that the Empire’s offense didn’t perform well though, they were simply out-shadowed. Players like Sean Keegan and Chris Mazur each finished atop the Empire’s assist leaderboard, and the offense in general seemed to be working out a lot of their kinks from the first game. The 11-8 lead going into halftime was comforting to say the least, given the performance of the offense being buoyed by the defense.
While the second half saw the Royal make a sort of late run – similar to during the first game against the Outlaws – that allowed the game to seem a bit closer than it was. Over the last half, the Royal outscored the Empire 11-10, but it wasn’t enough to make a dent in the lead established during the first half by the New York defense.
For Montreal, Antoine Lepagnol was their standout player by far. He led the offensive charge for the Royal, with 5 goals of his own, and 2 assists on top of that. With strong efforts from Royal new-comers Ferraro and Quinlan as well, it just wasn’t enough for Montreal to top the Empire.
By winning this game, and improving to 2-0 overall on the season, the Empire moved up to the #9 slot in the official AUDL Power Rankings thanks to their stellar defensive play, and the strength shown by the newcomers on the offensive line.
Player of the Game
A veteran of the Empire, Ryan Drost has started this season like a man possessed. He played a team high 28 points this game, with 22 of them coming on the defensive side of the disc. With all that defensive playing time, Drost had five blocks in the game. He also boasted three goals and an assist, showing just how effective he was not only in stifling the Montreal defense, but keeping NY ahead on the scoreboard.
Just like the first game, other players certainly stood out – especially the big name additions that have made a lot of noise in AUDL circles. But even through two games, Drost is proving himself to be one of the most important players on the roster.
Stat of the Game
Less than 20, in case it’s been a while. But only two games into the season, and the Empire haven’t allowed more than 20 goals in a game. That speaks to just how important the strong defensive effort the Empire have shown this season has been. If the Empire can keep that up when they start playing the DC Breeze, Toronto Rush, and even their next opponent the Philadelphia Phoenix, the win streak should stay in-tact.
[Full NY Empire stats]
Shout-out to the AUDL.com team for alerting us to this stat!
The Empire’s next game is April 30th against the Philadelphia Phoenix back at Randall’s Island field 10, aka “The Pit”. Be on the lookout for a game preview, and information on tickets and more via the Empire’s Facebook page.