It has now become an expectation for every DC Breeze and New York Empire game to be a close contest. On Saturday, the Breeze were swaying momentum their way until once again the Empire reeled the visitors back in just as they were beginning to pull away. In the final minutes, D.C. was able to put away their rivals for an important 28-25 victory. The win was the Breeze’s first road victory of the season and the second overall over New York.
The offensive unit was only broken five times despite missing key offensive handlers Alan Kolick and Lloyd Blake. Stepping into their roles were Zach Norrbom (2 goals, 2 assists, 32/32 throws, 0 drops) and Rowan McDonnell (3 goals, 6 assists, 38/39 throws, 1 drop), with McDonnell still spending a third of his points on the D-line. Together the duo was 70/71 on their throws, with the other primary handler, Jonathan Neeley, going 41/44.
The final nail in the coffin came with the Breeze (5-2) leading 27-25. Needing to score quickly, the Empire tried to barrel through the defense. New York (2-4) had held possession on six of their seven offensive points so far in the quarter, but this time David Bloodgood got a crucial block. Twelve throws later the Breeze had run nearly ninety seconds of the two minutes remaining off the clock and scored to push the lead to three.
Sometimes finding the end zone and sometimes coming up just short on the doorstep, Tyler Monroe had four goals and threw five assists. Playing significant time on the O-line for the first time this season, Nathan Prior (1 goal, 32 touches, 0 turnovers) had a strong contest. In addition to Prior, Norrbom (32/32), Bloodgood (19/19) and Austin Bartenstein (11/11) all were perfect in completions among those who attempted 10+ passes.
On defense, though, it was one of the team’s lowest statistical outputs on the season. There were only six individual blocks and only seven breaks by the D-line.
Breeze Top 5 Performers of The Game:
Rowan McDonnell: 3 goals, 6 assists, 38/39 throws (+7)
-Leads the team in blocks (11), leads the team in +/- (35), second in assists (19), second in completion percentage with 100+ throws (94%)
Tyler Monroe: 4 goals, 5 assists, 26/27 throws (+8)
-Leads in assists (22), Second in goals (19), tied for second in +/- (27)
Markham Shofner: 4 goals, 3 assists, 1 block, 17/18 throws (+7)
Zach Norrbom: 2 goals, 2 assists, 32/32 throws (+4)
Chuck Cantone: 4 goals, 1 assists, 1 block, 9/9 throws (+5)
-Tied for second in +/- (27)
With the Toronto Rush winning their game over the Philadelphia Phoenix 31-18, the Breeze hold on to slight division lead. This weekend, the Breeze will play a doubleheader weekend, first against the Phoenix in Philadelphia on Saturday, and then at home hosting New York on Sunday. Looking for the series sweep over the Empire, the Breeze are one win away from sweeping in back-to-back seasons. First pull in Philadelphia will be at 6:30, on Sunday the opening pull will be at 5:30 at Hotchkiss Field.