The 2017 AUDL schedule was released last week, and the Empire faces their toughest slate of opponents yet with improved rosters across the eastern division.
The Empire start off with all 7 home games in their first 8 games, and then finish with 6 straight on the road, so it will be important for the squad to get off to a fast start before facing the challenging end of year road trip.
Dates to know:
April 8th vs Toronto Rush
The Empire open the season at home on Randall’s Island against the 4-time defending division champion, a team they have never beaten despite 5 of the last 7 regular season games being decided by 3 or fewer goals. The last 2016 matchup went into overtime in Toronto, with the home Rush prevailing by 2.
April 29th vs Philadelphia Phoenix
This mid-season matchup against the Phoenix might’ve been overlooked on the schedule in the past, but with new ownership and some talented roster additions, the Phoenix appear to be a team in the rise. The Empire will look to extend their 12 game winning streak against the Phoenix.
May 6th at D.C. Breeze
New York heads on their first road trip of the season to D.C. to face the Breeze. This budding rivalry heated up last year with the Empire falling by exactly one goal in all three regular season matchups. Both games in D.C. were double overtime classics, including the AUDL Game of the Week on June 11th, 2016.
June 24th vs Ottawa Outlaws
The Empire end their home slate against the fiery Outlaws, who beat New York for the first time ever in their final matchup last season. This will be an important test before New York takes to the road for their final six games of the regular season.
July 1st at Montreal
To kick off the end-of-season road trip, the Empire head to Canada for a two game road trip. The first game is at Montreal, which annually boasts the toughest conditions of any road foe. With its unpredictable winds and loud, passionate crowd, the Empire will need to be on top of their game to start off the trip with a ‘W’. The last three contests in Montreal have been decided by a total of 9 goals.
July 23rd at Toronto
The Empire end the season with another back-to-back set in Canada, with Ottawa on the 22nd and the perennial east division favorite Toronto on the 23rd. The Empire faced the same trip to end last season, when a short-handed roster brought the Rush to overtime before ultimately falling short. Of course, nothing was on the line that day as both the Empire and the Rush had clinched their playoff positions; in a reloaded eastern division, this game could be make-or-break for either team.