Outlaws US Weekend Comes Up Empty

Ask any AUDL East Division player what they think of double header road trips to the US and the answer is usually “grueling” …then ask how much they like making that trip without 8 starters and the answer becomes very colourful.

The Outlaws headed South this weekend to face the NY Empire on Saturday followed by a quick turnaround to Philadelphia for a Sunday matinee with the Phoenix. Without 7 starters still in France following WCBU and missing Derek Alexander, Ottawa needed to rely on many of their young players to assume big roles this weekend. In order to get to a 20 man roster, the Outlaws added Kyle Cantal and Khalid Al-Zahrany for the weekend.

Saturday night the Outlaws played the Empire tight and showed they would not be intimidated by a team, that despite its record, is still viewed by many AUDL pundits as legitimate AUDL East contenders to be a Championship Weekend. A solid second quarter had Ottawa up 11-8 at the half but a sloppy third quarter let NY jump ahead which set up what would be a very tense final frame. Ottawa scratched their way back into the game with some great defensive efforts from Carson Turner, Jeremy Hill, Colin Froats and newcomer Khalid Al-Zarhany. The O-line saw some great chemistry between Nick Boucher and Laurent Loiseau combining for 8 assists and 6 goals respectively on the day.

Down by one last late in the 4th and the Ottawa in the red zone threatening, the NY twin towers of Ben Jagt and Jeff Babbitt forced a high risk end zone toss that failed to connect allowing the Empire to all but run the clock out and hold on for a 23-22 win.

Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia featured two teams that came off Saturday night games (Philly was in DC) and what is often the case when two tired teams meet up the Ultimate is usually less than stellar. In a game that was tight in the first quarter, you could sense that Philly just had a little more to give and treated their home fans to a handful of highlight layouts for goals that left the Outlaws with no other option that applaud the effort. Down 3 at the half, it was clear that a massive 3rd quarter was the only way to climb back into the game but late quarter breaks stretched the lead to 5 and put the game all but out of reach. The Fourth quarter was much of the same, mental fatigue lead to another 3 breaks that resulted in a  22-14 humbling.

On Sunday, the O-line continued to run through Nick Boucher and Scott Westwell but a mid game injury to Laurent Loiseau forced Jordan McGregor into an O-line role where we quietly ripped off 3 goals. Defensively, Cooper Brotman has arguably one of his best showings of the season and with 2 great D’s and constant pressure on Philly’s top players. Jeremy Hill turned his O-line role into a solid defensive performance with 3Ds to regain possession for the O-line after earlier turns. Rookie Kyle Cantal also came up with a very timely D that seemed to breath some hope for an Outlaw rally late in the game.

0-2 weekends are nothing to be happy about. But there were some positives that were taken away and can be used to build pon. The Outlaws played a “next man up” weekend and received some solid efforts from players who will be looking for more playing time down the stretch.

Ottawa return to action on Sunday July 2 when they host a return tilt with the NY Empire at 2pm at Millennium Park Stadium.

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