MIN @ IND 6/8 Recap

Written By: Ryan Baker, Journalist

Just a few days ago, on June 8, the Minnesota Wind Chill went into Indianapolis to takedown the AlleyCats 24-21 for their tenth win a row against them.

The score doesn’t replicate the smoothness of Minnesota’s play. For a majority of the game, the Wind Chill had a multiple goal lead, but being outscored 4-8 in the fourth quarter is what made the final score closer. For the first three quarters, the Wind Chill played with high offensive and red-zone efficiency with minimal mistakes.

“It’s hard to win all four quarters in this league, and also hard to protect a big lead against any talented opponent. It only took a few miscues offensively for us to open the door for a run in the fourth quarter. It becomes harder and harder to get the disc back after a turn as teams start to fatigue late in the game, especially in an indoor setting like we had in Indy. It brought light to the fact that we still have notable areas we need to improve on as we move forward into the second half of the regular season,” said head coach Ben Feldman.

The game started out a tad shaky as Minnesota’s O-line got broken on the first point. They kept serve for the next seven points, trading points with the AlleyCats. Then, a block by a returning Paul “P.K.” Krenik allowed for their first break of the game. From there, Minnesota never looked back, and never gave up their lead the rest of the game.

Krenik made his 2024 debut after returning from college play, and made an immediate impact. P.K. walked out with two assists, one goal, two blocks, and 256 total yards in his first game of the season.

“It’s always going to be hard to get back to full speed so quickly, especially with such an important game. I think I showed that with an early turnover, but after a quarter, I felt right back at home,” said Krenik. “I think a big reason behind such a quick adjustment period for me was the support from the rest of the D-line, and feeling like even if mistakes were made, we were still in the game. It was super fun to get back out there and play with the guys again!”

After scoring on a last second goal at the end of the first quarter, it was all Minnesota. They outscored the AlleyCats 14-9 in the middle two quarters, including scoring at the end of each of those quarters to give them that extra edge. Not to mention, they had two separate three-point runs in the second and third quarter.

“I think the difference maker was our intensity and our willingness to put in more work to get the job done. Indy is a great team, and they run a very difficult system to guard. Our guys showed up ready to ball out, and we did. Also, Gordon Larson was playing out of his mind in that game and he deserves a big piece of the credit,” said Krenik.

Larson, indeed, played a great game. He managed to grab a plus/minus of seven that included two blocks, two assists and three goals. Larson also snagged the game-icing goal thrown from another college returnee in Will Brandt with two and a half minutes to go in the game. The goal put Minnesota up four, and essentially diminished the hopes of Indy making a comeback with such little time left.

“Will and I have great chemistry, so when he got the disc near the goal line, I knew he would look for me. At this point, we really needed to hold to ice the game, so even though there was a defender closing in fast, I knew I had to reel the disc in even if it meant absorbing some contact,” said Larson.

That was just one of Brandt’s 45 completions on the day. Just like Krenik, Brandt made his presence known, but on the offensive side of things. The stat line for Brandt’s 2024 debut ended with 45 completions of his 46 throwing attempts, four assists, one goal, and 375 throwing yards.

The Wind Chill looked incredibly good and back to form for most of the game. Their D-line had a conversion rate of 73%, along with a red-zone conversion rate of 89%. They created space in the game, allowing for them to go up big (biggest lead was eight), and that allowed for the miscues in the fourth quarter to not come back and bite them.

“Our defensive unit generated consistent pressure, and was able to create hesitation in throwing lanes against the fast moving offense that Indy likes to run. We did have a very solid day converting in the red-zone, and also had the upper hand in all end of quarter scenarios, which adds come up the end of the game. With P.K. and Bryan Vohnoutka being added to the defensive group Saturday, it made that unit even more explosive once they got the disc in their hands on a turnover,” said Feldman.

Minnesota currently stands at 4-1 and leading the Central Division at the midpoint in their regular season, but the struggles they had in the fourth quarter will need to be ironed out for the second half. The remaining schedule doesn’t have too much grace for them, besides the two Detroit Mechanix matchups. Other than those games, they will see the Colorado Summit, Madison Radicals, Chicago Union, and the New York Empire.

The first of that stretch will come this upcoming weekend against the Colorado Summit for their second Super Series game of the year, with a preview on that game to come soon!