April 12th brought another beautiful day to Coney Island’s MCU Park and another victory for the Empire over the visiting Montreal Royal. The Empire’s 22-20 victory gives the Empire a lifetime 4-0 record over their rivals from the North, and a 1-0 start to the 2015 season.
It was a close game with all 48 minutes packed with excitement, tempered only by opening day jitters and the confusingly brisk wind MCU Park is known for.
Sunday’s opening pull to the Empire ended in Montreal’s favor, as the Royals quickly capitalized on the Empire’s mistakes, putting up two breaks. The defensive line‚Äôs fresh legs allowed New York to shrink the field enough for Mike Drost to earn the Empire‚Äôs and his first D of the season, quickly followed by the bookend score.
New York‚Äôs offense slowly started to find their flow as the game progressed, fighting through moments of stagnation and miscommunication. While the D-line‚Äôs core has played together the last two seasons, many of this year‚Äôs new recruits are playing on the O-line. The lack of time together though, did not keep them from going on a few hot streaks. The offense looked unstoppable going into halftime.
The start of the second half, however, began much like the first: stagnant and choppy. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not something to worry about–we were missing key role players in the offense, and it‚Äôs the first game…there are bound to be some kinks to work out,‚Äù said player-coach Lionel Wininger.
While the Royal worked the disc up the break side for easy score opportunities through much of the half, the Empire‚Äôs D consistently put a stop to their scoring attempts.
With the Empire down one to the Royal at 4-5, New York finally found comfort on their home field. At 5-5, newcomer to the Empire roster Timmer Farrell earned a layout D to stop the Montreal score, affording New York the opportunity to smoothly finish the point and grabbing the lead for the first time.
Ross Ward and Ryan Drost earned two Ds a piece, Mike Drost leading with three. Top scorers for the night were Taylor Brooks and Ignacio ‚ÄúIggy‚Äù Yz tied with 3, and Matt ‚ÄúPippin‚Äù Auletta, Timmer Farrell, Ben Ivers, Sam Taylor, and Lionel Wininger all tied with 2.
The Empire offense worked to fight through Montreal‚Äôs loose zone throughout the second half, ironing out some issues from the first. The Royals offense as a whole remained smooth, heavily focused on the handlers creating scoring opportunities from the red zone or with a huck downfield. Both teams went on positive runs, trading scores and breaks, keeping the score close and the game competitive.
To start the fourth quarter New York created a point difference of three, although Montreal took a few well placed deep shots in attempt to close the gap with simple offense. While well played, the Empire remained in the lead despite a few questionable decisions late in the game, and a lack of scoring by either team for the last few minutes.
With their first game and win under their belts, the Empire is ready to take on the rest of the season‚Äôs challengers.
Photo Credit: David Sieling; https://www.facebook.com/phultimatephotography; @ph_ultimate
Enjoy the full game video courtesy of Ultiworld