By Larry Snyder
Blaine, MN – Twice it came down to less than 30 seconds for the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (2-10-0) to push back against the Wind Chill (6-4-0) in Minnesota and claim victory at National Sports Center Stadium.
First was moving the AUDL meeting into overtime. After Minnesota tossed an incomplete pass at their end of the field, the T-birds put three flawless passes together to score as time expired and a 25-25 draw. Pittsburgh had been down 21-17 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Second, with 21 seconds left in overtime, the Black and Gold hauled in an interception. After a timeout, called by T-birds head coach Pat Hammonds, his squad worked the disc downfield on four throws to score with four seconds remaining to collect a hard-fought 29-28 triumph.
Here are four players who helped the Thunderbirds curtail their 10-game losing streak and achieve their second win of the 2018 campaign.
1) Max Sheppard tallied seven assists and six goals in the North Star State. The 5-foot-8, 145-pound cutter added one block to the box score and finished the matchup with a plus/minus rating of +13. He earned the Stifel Star Player of the Game award.
2) Noah Robinson assembled a respectable plus/minus ranking of +9. He provided two assists, six goals, and one block to the scoresheet.
3) When it came to stopping Minnesota’s attack, Jonathan Mast contributed a Callahan, a foot-block, and a hand-block, which allowed him to share the team lead in blocks with Sam VanDusen as they had three apiece. A Callahan occurs when the defensive player intercepts the disc in the opponent’s end zone for a point.
4) VanDusen also chipped in five goals and four assists. The 6-foot, 170-pound handler went 43-for-46 on throws.
The team stats were as close as the scoreboard as Pittsburgh had 12 total blocks to Minnesota’s 11. The Thunderbirds held the edge in total turnovers 21-20.