By Larry Snyder
St. Paul, MN – The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (0-2) tied the game 21-21 against the Minnesota Wind Chill (1-1) with 41 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of their exciting American Ultimate Disc League matchup Saturday, April 27 at Sea Foam Stadium on the campus of Concordia University.
After Minnesota cutter Micheal Jordan gave the disc back on a throwaway, the T-birds brought the game even when Alex Thomas crossed the goal line off of a pass from Max Sheppard. The Wind Chill’s Josh Klane could not connect on a deep throw to Isaac Leonard and the contest headed to the five minute overtime.
The back-and-forth exchange continued into the overtime as Minnesota needed just three throws to move the disc down the field and on the fourth toss Bryan Vohnoutka found Mathew Ladyman for the goal. Pittsburgh answered back when Jonathan Mast from the Black and Gold’s 45-yard line hit Sam VanDusen along the sideline closest to the benches at the Wind Chills’ 32. Sam went across the width of the field with his throw to hit Max Sheppard on the run in the end zone to keep the contest knotted at 22 apiece.
Klane became the difference for Minnesota as he assisted on scoring strikes to Jesse Greenberg and Bryan Vohnoutka as part of a three-goal run for Metalic Blue, Black, and White. The third score came when Kristian Johnson hooked up with Ethan Rasmussen, and he got the disc to Leonard to push the box score to read 25-22.
These two combatants kept the numbers close on more than just the scoreboard. The throw completion percentage was the same for both squads at 91 percent, and the offensive productivity at 69 percent. The total blocks were one apart with Pittsburgh at 14 and Minnesota at 15.
VanDusen, who was second on the team in 2018 with 51 assists, led the T-birds with six helpers, 26 completions, and 43 minutes played. Sheppard put up six goals for head coach Pat Hammonds while Anson Reppermund contributed three blocks on defense.
My Play of the Game came on the 19th point for Pittsburgh. VanDusen launched the disc from the Thunderbirds 41-yard line to a leaping Reppermund at the goal line, and it bounced off his fingertips to the waiting hands of Chris Garber as he dove past to finish the play.
Vohnoutka kept the Minnesota faithful happy with six goals on 25 catches and 42 minutes played. Klane delivered seven assists, 37 receptions, and 43 completions. Jimmy Kittlesen tallied three blocks on the evening.
Evan Lepler spoke with Klane about the match on the AUDL website, “The main story of the game was grit and perseverance amid a really sloppy performance. We just weren’t as sharp as we knew we can be offensively and defensively, and I’m sure Pittsburgh feels similarly about their performance. It was a grind it out win that took an entire team effort. I’m happy about how we played in OT, especially considering we’ve lost multiple games the last two seasons to this Pittsburgh team in similar come-from-behind fashion.”
NEXT UP: The T-birds return for their home opener Saturday, May 4 when they confront the Indianapolis AlleyCats (2-1) at J.C Stone Field in Allison Park, PA. The first pull of the evening occurs at 6:00 p.m. You can find the best seats online here.
Rick Gross leads the A-cats with 13 goals, followed by Levi Jacobs and his 10 goals. Keegan North owns the most assists with 15 while Spencer Loscar brings four blocks to the score sheet. The watchers at Massey Ratings has Indianapolis at No. 13 this week in their survey.
AUDL 2019 On YouTube: Pittsburgh Thunderbirds At Minnesota Wind Chill — Game Highlights…
Top Of The Article Photo By Larry N. Snyder – All Rights Reserved