Week 2 Matchups Preview

May 4, 2023
By Sam Weiger

Toronto Rush at New York Empire
Friday, May 5 - 7:00 PM/ET - Watch link

Toronto’s newly-improved team will face the defending champions in their season opener. New York is the top-ranked team in the 2023 power rankings and only allowed eight scores in Week 1. 

Toronto added Ty Barbieri, Mike Mackenzie, Jeremy Hill and Geoff Bevan to their roster. These four players all scored at least 20 goals in their previous season, which could help to revitalize a Rush team that scored less than 20 goals in half of their games last year.

Toronto’s offense was shut down in both games against the Empire last season, and the Rush averaged only 15 goals per game in their four losses on back-to-back days in 2022. While Toronto is expected to have a turnaround season, the numbers suggest that New York is the favorite in this matchup.

One Big Number: 
61.11 - New York had a break percentage of 61.11 percent in their Week 1 opener against Philadelphia, the highest single-game break percentage of the week.
12.5 - Toronto averaged only 12.5 goals per game in their two losses against the Empire last season.

Carolina Flyers at Atlanta Hustle
Friday, May 5 - 8:00 PM/ET - Watch link

The first matchup of the season between two of the AUDL’s biggest rivals is a must-watch. The Hustle will be looking to end a four-game losing streak to the Flyers, while Carolina will attempt to bounce back from a tough loss to DC in Week 1.

If Brett Hulsmeyer can continue to block at a high rate, which is possible against the huck-happy Flyers, Atlanta’s defense should be able to hold their own. However, their offense will need to step up if they want to win. The Hustle have failed to score 20 or more goals in each of their last four meetings against Carolina. 

Eric Taylor, the Flyers’ best all-around player, remains out of the lineup. With Taylor out, the electric Atlanta crowd becomes a potential game-changer if they can ignite the Hustle offense.

One Big Number:
- The Hustle committed just seven turnovers in their season opener, the only team with single-digit turnovers in one game last week.
100  - The Flyers were the only team in Week 1 with a 100 percent huck percentage, completing all nine of their hucks.

Colorado Summit at San Diego Growlers
Friday, May 5 - 10:00 PM/ET - Watch link

Colorado and San Diego kick off their 2023 campaigns in Week 2. In their inaugural season, the Summit made a stunning run to the 2022 Championship Weekend. The Summit are undoubtedly a team on the rise, but the Growlers may have reached their peak.

Colorado returned most of their 2022 roster, and added two talented players in Kai Marshall and Connor Olson from Dallas. Colorado’s aggressive playing style includes a penchant for hucks, especially from standouts Jonathan Nethercutt and Quinn Finer.  The Growlers will also have to deal with DPOY Cody Spicer, who played more defensive points than any other player in 2022.

While the Growlers were the only team to defeat Colorado in the 2022 regular season, they are now depleted, banged up and aging. Expect the Summit to have the edge this time.

One Big Number:
139 - Colorado threw more hucks than any other team in 2022, with a total of 139.
5 - San Diego won five out of six home games last season, but their only loss came in the season opener.

Minnesota Wind Chill at Indianapolis AlleyCats
Saturday, May 6 - 7:00 PM/ET - Watch link

Minnesota looks to extend its six-game winning streak against Indianapolis. The ‘Cats, who were defeated soundly in Week 1 by Atlanta, will look to rebound in their home opener. However, Indy is once again the underdog this week.

The Wind Chill lost several starters this offseason, but their defense is finally healthy. Minnesota will be motivated to perform well in 2023, as they will be hosting Championship Weekend. Abe Coffin, Bryan Vohnoutka, Josh Klane and Quinn Snider should lead the charge against a porous Indianapolis defense.

The ‘Cats were held to just 14 goals in their Week 1 loss. AUDL all-time leading scorer Cameron Brock and home advantage give Indy a fighting chance, but it’s unlikely to be enough to win.

One Big Number:
- The Wind Chill converted 36.09 percent of their break opportunities last season, the highest percentage in the league.
6 - Indy had the fewest blocks in a single game last week, with only six.

Colorado Summit at LA Aviators | Game of the Week
Saturday, May 6 - 9:00 PM/ET - Watch link

Colorado’s challenging weekend also includes a game against the Aviators, who could be the most improved team in the AUDL this year. LA made a number of key offseason moves.

The Aviators made a major splash in the offseason by signing AUDL all-time assist leader Pawel Janas. They also added Jason Vallee from Chicago, Sean McDougall from San Diego and Daniel Brunker from Colorado. LA’s leader in total yards last season, Brandon Van Deusen, is out this week.

LA will be playing their first game with their new lineup, and Colorado will be coming off a Friday night game. Colorado started the 2022 season with a pair of away games, and they eked out a narrow victory over the lowly-ranked Nitro in the second game. This game could also come down to the wire, so Colorado will look to take advantage of the absence of Van Deusen.

One Big Number:
- Pawel Janas has 396 career assists in just 69 games, ranking him second all-time in per game assists (5.74).
76.60% - The Summit had the second lowest red zone conversion rate of anyone playoff team last season at 76.60 percent.

Philadelphia Phoenix at DC Breeze
Sunday, May 7 - 5:00 PM/ET - Watch link

The new-look Breeze are coming off a big win over Carolina, but the Phoenix are out for revenge after a disappointing playoff exit last season. Philadelphia’s offense struggled last week, so they will need to find their scoring touch if they want to win this game.

In their first outing for DC, Thomas Edmonds and Cole Jurek combined for an impressive nine scores. The Phoenix, who scored only eight goals in their season opener, will need to reduce turnovers in the handler space and avoid falling behind right out of the gate. They were already down 8-1 after one quarter last week. 

That early deficit did come against the defending champion Empire, but DC is also a powerhouse in the AUDL. The Breeze should have no problem winning their home opener.

One Big Number:
- Philadelphia, who led the AUDL with 10 hucks per game last year, attempted just four in their season opener last week.
6 - Thomas Edmonds had six scores (three goals and three assists) in his first game with DC.