On Saturday, the San Francisco Dogfish play the Vancouver Nighthawks for the third and final time this season. The teams are currently 1-1 in matchups this year and both are looking to add a final regular season win to their record.
The Dogfish are 2-7 going into this game, and eager to defend their home turf with another win over the Nighthawks (5-4). The Nighthawks have secured their spot in the Western Conference playoff game, and beat the conference-leading Portland Stags in their matchup last week, but undoubtedly still feel the sting of their one-point loss in overtime to the Dogfish on May 17.
The Nighthawks are five men down this weekend but still have John Norris and Brendan Wong, who tied for overall points (7) in their recent game against Portland. Norris won the Hucket Offensive Play of the Week last week, and Wong leads the MLU in points (57). Kevin Underhill, Aaron Loach and Kevin Greer have been strong on assists and handling the disc (Underhill leads his team this season with 21 assists), while Morgan Hibbert is an all-around danger with 18 assists and a league-leading 20 defensive plays).
The Dogfish are missing key personnel this week: Sam Adamson, Evan Boucher, Drew Kim and Ian Ranahan are all inactive, taking a bite out of the team’s usual stat leaders. However, San Francisco still has the talent to take down the Nighthawks. Veterans Mac Taylor (11 assists, 4 goals), James Pollard (8 assists, 5 goals) and Tyler Grant (7 assists, 5 goals) can do serious and silent damage, while James Yeager (13 assists, 1 goal), Matt Kissman (5 assists, 11 goals) and Aaron Caulfield (1 assist, 11 goals) are sure to ruffle some Nighthawks feathers.
“It’s been great to see our team come together over the course of the season,” said Dogfish general manager Chris Sherwood. “Rebuilding is always tough, and I don’t think our record is a reflection of who we really are. We have a talented squad that we believe in, and our fans have shown they support great ultimate, regardless of the outcome.”
Vancouver beat the Stags by going up four points in the first quarter and maintaining a one-point lead until the fourth quarter, when they broke a tie and scored two points within the last three minutes of the game. The Dogfish are no stranger to nail-biter final quarters, and have played three games to overtime this season. Trying to ride out a one- or two-point lead will probably not work for either team, since both have shown they’re willing and able to scrabble out points in the final seconds.
The last game between these teams was a gusty free-for-all that was less about finesse and more about basic skills and tenacity. Weather forecasts mean little when it comes to Boxer Stadium, so this may be another exciting game of off-the-cuff ultimate or an impressive display of more controlled and strategic play.
Either way, Fish Faithful and friends, don’t miss this final game! Come see every heart-pounding play on Saturday starting at 2 p.m. PT. Buy your tickets here.
Can’t make it to the game? Watch it online in real time at MLU Live.