May 13, 2017 — After their first victory of 2017, the San Diego Growlers were on the hunt for the second win of the season as they traveled north to take on the winless Vancouver Riptide.
The Growlers opened the game by scoring on offense, each team traded, then Travis Dunn connected with Nate Bridges on their first break opportunity to go up, 3-1. Both teams traded twice before San Diego broke two more times to extend the lead to 7-3. The Riptide squeezed in one more score before the quarter ended down 7-4.
Vancouver started the offensive assault in the second quarter, and each team traded 4 times until the Riptide earned their first break to pull within 1 point of the lead, 11-10. This seemed to give Vancouver some confidence and they rode the wave of momentum for 3 more breaks before the Growlers scored a goal before halftime, behind 13-12.
San Diego tied the game to start the third quarter, each team traded twice, then the Growlers took the lead with 3 straight break scores, 18-15. The Riptide scored two in a row before the Growlers’ Kevin Smith threw a deep goal to Hunter Corbett for the 19-17 lead.
Similar to a heavyweight boxing bout, each team traded powerful punches and counter-punches in the 4th quarter. The Riptide struck with a hard left and right to tie it, and the Growlers did the same to preserve their two point margin, 21-19. Once again, Vancouver scored on O and broke to tie the game, SD punched back, then the Riptide took the lead 23-22 after another break score. Dom Leggio hucked to Steven Milardovich who dished to Jesse Cohen to tie the game, but the Growlers could not punch in a golden opportunity for a break with under two minutes remaining. The Riptide called timeout and held on offense to take the lead back, but San Diego tied the game with 4 seconds left with a Corbett blade to a diving Sean Ham, 24-24! Vancouver’s last second prayer was easily defended so the game headed to overtime!
To start the 5 minute overtime, the Growlers scored on offense, then both teams traded, 26-25. San Diego forced a turnover and worked the disc past half field and called a timeout to set up an important break opportunity, but a floaty swing pass was defended and Vancouver tied the game at 26’s with 46 seconds left. The Growlers had another chance to win on offense near the goal line, but a dump pass slipped through the fingers and Vancouver took possession, moved the disc to half field, and called a timeout with 4.8 seconds remaining. The disc was whistled into play, the Riptide somehow squeezed a long throw into a leaping receiver’s hands, then Vancouver threw a cross-field lefty scoober goal for the buzzer beater victory, 27-26. Full game highlights can be seen here.
Hunter Corbett led the Growlers with a stellar +9 performance (7 assists, 3 goals, 1 defensive blocks, 2 turnovers). Jesse Cohen (5 assists, 2 goals, 2 defensive blocks, 4 turnovers), Sean Ham (1 assist, 4 goals, 1 defensive block, 1 turnover) and Nate Page (1 assist, 1 goal, 3 defensive blocks) added solid +5 games as well.
San Diego will use a bye this weekend to heal up from a couple injuries and prepare for another must win game against the Los Angeles Aviators at Occidental College on Saturday, May 27th. After a couple weeks, the Growlers will be back at home for the AUDL Game of the Week on Friday, June 9th versus the Seattle Cascades.