Wind Chill Beat Wildfire In Close Game
By: Tanner Jurek
With Playoff Implications The Minnesota Wind Chill took down the Chicago Wildfire is a massively entertaining game with big playoff implications this past Saturday. The Wildfire’s stars came to play but the Wild Chill’s depth, poise, and efficiency won the game for the Wind Chill. This may have been the Wind Chill’s best defensive performance of the season.
Chicago desperately needed this game, this loss puts them on the outside looking in on playoff contention. They played strong, they played desperately, they took chances, but they weren’t able to come out with a victory at the end. Credit to the Wind Chill for getting the win they absolutely needed to get.
Despite the loss of star handler Josh Klane, the Wind Chill gained some reinforcements on the offensive and defensive side of the disc. We saw the reemergence of Jason Tschida, Bryan Vohnoutka, and Wyatt Mekler and saw the debut of Codi Wood. Klane will be back, but the Wind Chill are adding pieces at the right time to make themselves very competitive for the playoffs.
The Wind Chill came out strong in the first quarter, we saw an early break from the Wind Chill on the first point and we saw much stronger defense than we had seen last week against Pittsburgh. The Wind Chill were making Chicago work for everything they were getting. The Wind Chill added new defensive looks and they worked well for most of the game.
The first quarter ended with the Wind Chill up 9-6. They had some breathing room but with Chicago’s star power, the Wind Chill knew they’d need to keep fighting to maintain this lead for the rest of the game.
Chicago got an easy score to start the second quarter to make the score 9-7. Both teams proceeded to trade points for the rest of the second quarter, but highlights included a hammer from Jason Tschida to Bryan Vohnoutka to make the score 13-11, the Wind Chill ended the half with a score of 18-16. The Wind Chill played strong end of half defense to prevent the Wildfire from getting a buzzer beater to end the half.
It’s hammer time! Tschida to B-Von to make the score 13-11 with just over a minute left in the half! pic.twitter.com/dBDN1UGk8z— Minnesota Wind Chill (@mn_windchill) July 1, 2018
The Third quarter was when things started to get dicey for the Wind Chill, the Wildfire were desperate and started playing like it. They needed to get back in the game and that’s exactly what they did. Powered by Kurt Gibson, the Wildfire went on a tear in the second half of the third quarter.
The score was 18-15 after one of many Ryan Osgar to Charles Weinberg connections. Things went downhill from there. The Wind Chill’s offense stalled and suddenly the score was 18-18 before the Wind Chill could stop the bleeding. The teams traded points and the score was 20-20.
The Wind Chill turned the disc over with just a few seconds left in the half. Chicago called a timeout and set up an offense. A quick strike cut from Kurt Gibson got him the disc with some space. Nothing was open downfield so he unleashed an accurate hammer to the back of the end zone on the other side of the field. The score was 21-20 Chicago going into the fourth quarter.
Anderson makes a nice snag over the defender to regain the lead. 19-18 Wind Chill! 3 minutes left in the third quarter! pic.twitter.com/JXm5mHU9Js— Minnesota Wind Chill (@mn_windchill) July 1, 2018
The Wind Chill needed a strong fourth quarter. Fans at the National Sports Center could feel the tension in the air. As the crowd got louder, the Wind Chill started to perform better. A Sam Bumstead score from Tony Poletto made the score 21-21. The Wind Chill would need to stop Chicago’s potent offense sooner rather than later, they did just that on the next point. The defense forced Chicago to turn the disc over. Minnesota called a timeout and subbed in the offensive line, another Tony Poletto to Sam Bumstead connection made the score 22-21 and the Wind Chill were back in front.
Minnesota retakes the lead courtesy of Sam Bumsted! 22-21 Wind Chill with 8 and a half minutes left in the game! pic.twitter.com/PU0KtNOsgp— Minnesota Wind Chill (@mn_windchill) July 1, 2018
Chicago got an easy score to make the score 22-22 and the Wind Chill were back on offense. Chicago implemented a zone defense designed to force the Wind Chill to make an extremely large number of short passes. The Wind Chill did just that. It was the longest point of the night as the Wind Chill slowly but surely worked the disc up the field. 96 passes and several minutes later, the Wind Chill punched it in to make the score 23-22.
Chicago couldn’t come back from that long point. The offense couldn’t get anything going. They put up a score to tie the game at 23, but the Wind Chill’s offense easily made it 24-23 with a big hammer from Bryan Vohnoutka to Jason Tschida. The Wind Chill’s defense stayed strong and got another turnover to make the score 25-23. The Wind Chill defense then got one final turnover and ran out the clock to win the game.
Game on the line? Hammer of course! Ryan Osgar catches it with 1:45 left to make the score 24-23!! pic.twitter.com/5ZtjV0kmFS— Minnesota Wind Chill (@mn_windchill) July 1, 2018
The Wildfire are a strong opponent and have some fantastic, athletic players. They are quite a bit taller than the Wind Chill as well, but the Wind Chill’s depth, skill, and poise led them to victory Saturday Night. The Wind Chill will see them again in Chicago to end the season.
Saturday we saw the much-anticipated debut of Codi Wood. Codi Comes from Minnesota Grey Duck but previously played at Penn State University. He was one of the top players on Team USA’s U-24 team that took home gold this past year at the World Championships. He is still getting acquainted with the team but his presence was already felt on defense. Wood provided stability at the handler position and smart defense overall. Look for big contributions from him going forward.
The Wind Chill take on The Madison Radicals in Madison on Tuesday night. The Wind Chill have played the Radicals extremely tightly every time they’ve played this year. A win for the Wind Chill would clinch a playoff spot, and allow them to control their own destiny to secure the #2 seed in the division heading into their final two games (by beating both Indianapolis and Chicago on the road July 14th/15th). If the Wind Chill can't pull off the victory Tuesday night, an Indianapolis victory over the Chicago Wildfire this Saturday would also allow the Wind Chill to clinch a playoff spot (and eliminate Chicago from contention).