After a thrilling victory over Montreal in the pre-quarters of the 2016 season, Empire road into Toronto with high emotions. New York is no stranger to facing Toronto in the playoffs, losing to the Rush in the semifinals in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The Empire were seeking their 3rd consecutive quarterfinal win, besting Philadelphia in 2013 and Chicago in 2014, but the Rush ended their season yet again.
The hometown Rush jumped out to an early lead and refused despite a few runs by New York, they maintained a multiple point lead in route to a 25-19. The typically stingy defense did a great job limited the production of Isaiah Masek-Kelly, but he still managed a to find the endzone 3 times. Geoff Powell had a monster game in front of the Toronto Crowd, finishing with 5 big goals and 2 assists.
Despite the 6 point loss, New York had some outstanding production from defensive captain Isaiah Bryant. Izzy closed the game with 4 assists as the defense made some big stands to get back into the game.
As was a theme during the season, Empire failed to secure the disk as they had 35 throwaways compared to 22 from the Rush. Despite 7 drops from Toronto, New York was unable to convert enough breaks to keep pressure on the Rush Offense.
While, the 2015 season ended in disappointing fashion, New York had a fantastic 3rd year. They join Toronto, Madison, San Jose, San Francisco, and Chicago as the only teams to make the playoffs over the past 3 years. Will 2016 finally be the year that New York claims the Eastern Division championship? Only time will tell, but this recent defeat has the boy in black and green more motivated than ever.
Photo Credit: Toronto Rush; https://www.facebook.com/TorontoRushUltimate
Video Credit: Toronto Rush;