Power Rankings: Week 3

By Adam Ruffner 

Rank Team Record Trend Comment



2-0 - Nobody has ever had a 50-assist, 20-goal, 20-block season, 300-completion season in AUDL history, but Dylan Freechild could be the first to pull it off. He's only played 12 games as a pro, but his split numbers are 44/19/14 pro-rated for a full season, to go along with almost 300 completions at a 95 percent clip. He's had a viper's sense of timing through two games so far this season, especially when the disc is in his hands, attacking quickly and ferociously when the defense is most vulnerable.



1-1 - Despite the team's defensive struggles, the FlameThrowers possess the frontrunner for the MVP through three weeks of play in Cassidy Rasmussen. He leads the team in assists (13), goals (9), completions (87), and points played (65), somehow functioning as the team's quarterback and its most dangerous downfield threat. With the exceptions of maybe Jimmy Mickle, Tyler Degirolamo, Dylan Freechild, and a healthy Kurt Gibson, it's hard to imagine a player with as much individual impact on each point he plays than Rasmussen.



3-1 +1 Without a handful of top-line players on both sides of the disc missing, Saturday's 25-18 win in Jacksonville has to rank among the most impressive in this team's history, especially on defense. Raleigh smothered Cole Sullivan and Mischa Freystaetter—last year's two most prolific scorers—in coverage, allowing the duo to combine for just eight scores total, their fewest ever as a tandem. Not only were the Flyers super effective in one-on-one coverage—shoutout to Mike Pannone's speed limiting Freystaetter's ability to roam—the Flyers' strategy of double-teaming Jacksonville throwers on the first few throws of every point threw a massive wrench into the Cannons offensive system. Raleigh stunted almost every clean look Jacksonville had with the disc, and that frustration seeped into the Cannons' performance.



1-0 -1 In three of their last four games (3-1) dating back to 2016, the Radicals have completed greater than 95 percent of their passes, with the lone exception coming in a downpour in the divisional playoff final against the Thunderbirds last July. Madison's offense is incredibly efficient, but one thing that isn't talked about as much is their ability to eat up the clock with their long drives and dominate the time of possession in games. Sometimes their offense can be as effective at stymying the opposition's rhythm as the vaunted Radicals defense.



1-0 +1 The 32 goals the Breeze scored in their 2017 opener was the second most in franchise history, and just the second time since 2014 that the team scored 30+ in a game. The offense deserves plenty of kudos, but the defense converted 11 break scores on the day as the team generated 16 blocks. The Breeze led the league with 255 blocks in 2016, and it looks like they might repeat as the most disruptive defense in the AUDL.



1-1 - It's another week before the Rush get back into action against the Royal in Toronto, and the first matchup against Montreal has been a trap game for the Rush (0-2) in each of the past two seasons. The Toronto defense allowed 58 goals in those two games against Montreal, which doesn't bode well for the Rush coming off surrendering 32 goals in their last game. Toronto has never dropped back-to-back games as a franchise, and has lost just one game at home in five years during the regular season to...the Royal.



0-1 +1 How about this for defensive consistency: In 47 games since the start of the 2014 season, a Drost brother has recorded a block in all but two Empire games; both Ryan and Mike were absent from one of those games, so they're actually 45/46 in games in which they have appeared. Entering 2017, they were first (Mike, 121 in 1120 career points played) and seventh (Ryan, 85 in 988 career points played) on the AUDL all-time blocks leaderboard.



0-0 +1 Minnesota begins its season against Indy tomorrow night at home. The Wind Chill are 4-0 against their Hoosier state rivals the past two seasons—with three one-goal victories in those matchups—effectively becoming the playoff spoiler for the AlleyCats in each year. Minnesota matches up very favorably with Indy in one-on-one situations, and they are likely to be even more formidable with the return of Jay Drescher to the team and a healthy Jimmy Kittlesen, the latter of whom tied for the league lead in blocks in 2015 with 32.



2-0 +1 With their next two games at home—where LA has somewhat quietly won five straight regular season games—the Aviators could stay undefeated well into May, which would be very important for the playoff race in the West. Mark Elbogen has been stellar at home, but Bryan Nguyen has been their key to the win streak. Over that five-game stretch, Nguyen has scored 27 goals without a single drop.



1-1 -3 As mentioned previously, the Jacksonville offense struggled mightily to establish themselves against Raleigh; Saturday's 18 goals tied for the second fewest in a game in Cannons history. The offense going dim is one concern, but the biggest problem for the Cannons remains their defense and its ability to generate turnovers. The Flyers converted on 70 percent of their drives last game, and Jacksonville has allowed 20+ goals in five straight games, and in 10 of their last 11. If the Cannons truly want to enter elite territory, they have to figure out a way to slow down the opposition.



0-0 - As Evan Lepler mentioned in his Thursday Thoughts piece, tomorrow will mark the first time in 637 days that MVP hopeful Tyler Degirolamo will take the field for the Thunderbirds. The last time he played a full game, Degirolamo tossed a ho-hum seven assists on 22 throws in a win against the AlleyCats at home. David Vatz and Ethan Beardsley—Degirolamo's two favorite targets—are still here, and the team has developed Mark Fedorenko (39 goals in '16) and Max Sheppard (30) into productive downfield receivers, so Degirolamo will have an abundance of opportunities for a big return to the field.



1-0 - The Cascades head to Vancouver tomorrow night, where they went 0-2 last season against the Riptide, giving up a combined 61 goals. Both Mark Burton and Donnie Clark were their usual productive selves, averaging over six scores in those two road games in 2016, but Seattle as a team generated just 11 blocks total in their road trips to Canada. The Cascades have been a deep huck machine over these past five games, with Burton playing at an MVP level, but it remains to be seen how much damage will be done when they face their regional rivals the Riptide.



1-1 - Much of the credit for the Spiders scoring successes through two games can be attributed to their handlers. But for as good as their disc skills have been, Jackson Stearns (11 goals in '17) has been equally good as a big receiving threat. With Kelly Van Arsdale switching into a defensive role this season after registering 43 assists and 37 goals in 2016, Stearns has taken on an increased role and flourished. With his combination of speed, size, and field IQ, Stearns at times looks a lot like Matt Rehder.



0-2 - Last season, the Sol also failed to score 20 goals in their first two games, and still went on to average 25.5 goals per game for the season; there should be no alarm as of yet with the team's mediocre scoring output of just 36 goals in their first two contests. But starting 0-3 in back-to-back seasons is a rough go for a team as talented as Austin. This team is still perhaps the most sneaky dangerous team in the league if they get into a rhythm.



1-1 - What effect does the 2016 MVP have on this team? With Dylan Tunnell last weekend, Atlanta scored 37 goals; without him in Week 1, the Hustle scored just 19. This team's offense takes on a completely different level of confidence with their big handler on the field, as evidenced by four different Hustle players (including Tunnell) collecting four or more goals.



0-1 - Tonight and tomorrow in the Bay Area are big nights for a Growlers team with so many expectations heading into the season. The difference between an 0-3 and 1-2 start in the West are huge, so at least splitting their road trip this weekend is crucial for San Diego to keep their playoff hopes alive in the West. Will Griffin averaged 42 completions and nearly five assists a game last season against both San Jose and San Francisco, and the Growlers will again need his playmaking in one of the toughest back-to-back matchups the league offers.



1-1 - Ever the ones for tradition, the AlleyCats have started three of their last four seasons by splitting the first two games. But against non-Madison opponents, Indy has scored 25+ goals in five straight games, the longest current streak of any AUDL team. Keenan Plew—second all-time AUDL in scoring—is throwing one assist for every two completions so far this season. If the 'Cats can keep up their blistering scoring pace, it will be because of their undersized superstar.



0-0 - Still another week out from their stateside road trip against DC and the Philadelphia, Ottawa will be the last team to start its season in 2017. The Outlaws went just 1-6 on the road last season, while being outscored 180-146. Their lone win came in Philadelphia, but this year's Phoenix feature a completely different lineup. If Ottawa could up their road win total to even just two in 2017, they could easily find themselves in the playoff picture later in the season.



0-2 - The difference between win and loss for this Riptide team usually comes down to how well their handler lines perform. Last year in two games at home against the Cascades, Malcolm Bryson (7 assists in one appearance), Kevin Underhill (7 assists and 63 completions in two appearances), and Myles Sinclair (7 assists in two appearances) were instrumental with their throws and pace in leading to team to its two victories. Vancouver will need them to repeat their performances if they want to crack 20 goals for the first time in 2017.



0-0 - Most times road trips are an incredible burden for teams, but with the Royal adding Americans like Christian Foster, David Ferraro, Maxwell Rick, and Ben Katz for their season opening showings, Montreal has to have a lot of confidence coming across the border this weekend. And though they may be on foreign soil, the Genest brothers showed a lot of pop coming down to the U.S. last year, combining for 21 scores in the team's four stateside games in 2016.



0-0 - Philadelphia is starting off the season with their best lineup, featuring Nicky Spiva, Marques Brownlee, and the immortal Trey Katzenbach among others. The Philadelphia franchise hasn't won a season opener since the inaugural AUDL season in 2012, so a win tomorrow against Montreal would be a huge vindication of all of their offseason signings and systemic overhaul.



0-0 - Chicago was just 2-6 a season ago in games decided by four goals or fewer. Without a discernible, go-to target to begin the season, the Wildfire may be in for similar close game results in 2017. Two seasons ago Eric Johnson caught 30 goals for the AlleyCats, but then caught just five goals last year with the Wildfire. Johnson has the athleticism to become the kind of scorer that can lead a team, but Chicago needs to show more aggressiveness in getting its playmakers the disc downfield.



0-1 - The Mechanix are still a week away from their home opener against the Wildfire. Detroit split the season series 1-1 in 2016, but has yet to win a game against Chicago at home in five years of play. But after allowing just 33 goals to the Wildfire in those two games last year, the Mechanix have to feel confident heading into their April 29 showdown.



0-2 - Pay no mind to the NightWatch defense for a second, which has surrendered 77 goals in two games, but instead look at the strides the offense has made. The 60 goals they've scored is the most the franchise has scored over a two-game period in franchise history, with goal scoring maestro Jake Wright (12 goals in '17; 53 in '16) picking right back up where he left off last season.

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