Power Rankings: Week 8


By Adam Ruffner 

Rank Team Record Trend Comment



7-1 - The most impressive part about Raleigh's early season string of quality wins is their ability to adjust their strategy to their opponent. The Flyers aren't blowing teams out in their wins—they have a goal margin of just +4.4 during their current five-game winning streak—but they continue to limit their opposition's strengths while continually adapting their own play throughout the game. Justin Allen, Jonathan Helton, and Jon Nethercutt have combined for 85 assists on the team's entire 196 scores.



7-2 - Dallas failed to take a lead into halftime for the third straight game, but their defense got back on track in the second half against Atlanta, allowing just seven goals in the final two quarters as the Roughnecks ended their two game skid. Jay Froude is leading the league in both goals (33) and blocks (20) through eight weeks of play.



6-0 +1 Minnesota continues to take care of business, and now they add former Austin speedster Caleb Denecour, who is currently tied for the league lead in goals with 33. Paired with Ryan Osgar (24 goals) and Greg Cousins (25 goals) on the offensive unit will give the Wind Chill another dangerous target for a team that is already averaging nearly 24 goals per game in 2017.



6-1 +1 Now officially having reached the halfway point of the season, it's time to consider what a historic pace Justin Norden has been on, both in volume and efficiency. His league-leading 43 assists put him on track to become the third player in AUDL history to post an 80-assist season, but maybe more impressive are his precision numbers. Norden's 401 completions (95%) put him on track for the second most in a single season in AUDL history; the league highs for the last three seasons were 584, 742, 618.



4-2 +1 DC continues to be the most consistent team in the East despite having a lot of lineup changes. Just three Breeze players—Chuck Cantone, David Bloodgood, and Lloyd Blake—have played in each game this season, yet DC now has wins over every team in the East outside of Philadelphia who they have yet to play. Four different players have led the Breeze in assists through just six games, while five different receivers have led the team in goals. The inclusiveness of DC's play will only pay greater dividends as the season grows longer.



5-2 -3 For the second time at home, the Cannons watched a lead against the Flyers slip through their fingers. Saturday's loss was particularly detrimental for this team's playoff ambitions, as they have five remaining road games, including three against Raleigh (2) and Dallas (1).



4-1 - The Cascades still don't play again for another week when they face the Growlers at home. Long stretches off can often be a hinderance to a team's rhythm, but Seattle cam back from a three week break earlier this season to knock off the Riptide in Vancouver.



5-2 - Even though he's only played in two games, Grant Lindsley has been one of the most productive members of the FlameThrowers, putting up six assists and six goals with just one turnover. And not coincidentally, in the two games he has played in San Francisco has scored 34 and 33 goals.



4-2 - The Rush play five of their next seven games at home, where they have lost just two regular season games at in five seasons of play. And other than the 32 points they surrendered Breeze in DC, Toronto is giving up just 19.4 goals in their other five games in 2017.



4-1 - Madison showed a verve and tenacity in their 31-25 win over the Thunderbirds that had been lacking until that point in the season. And despite giving up a season high 25 goals, the Radicals also generated a season high 21 blocks en route to their third consecutive win. The defense is converting a lot of break opportunities, with Andrew Meshnick averaging three goals and three blocks per game.



3-2 +1 The Aviators still control a lot of their own destiny, and given their hot streak through June and July last season, they maintain a good position for clinching their second straight postseason appearance. What's a bit disconcerting is their drop in offensive production. After scoring 31 goals in their season opening win against the Growlers, the most Los Angeles has scored in their other four games is 23 while converting just 63 percent of their offensive points into scores.



3-4 +2 Atlanta played as well as possible given the grueling test that is the Texas road trip, gutting out another hard fought victory in Austin before having their legs tire in the second half of their game in Dallas. Matt Smith, Josh Bush, and Nathan Vickroy are all averaging over three goals per game for the Hustle.



2-2 - The Thunderbirds didn't play a bad game in Madison, but they also didn't tighten the gap to anything closer than a three goal margin after the first quarter. Pittsburgh has three remaining games against Minnesota (2) and Madison (1), with two of those at home. As long as they take care of business on the road in the next two weeks, they'll still be in the thick of it for the Midwest Division title.



2-2 - In the midst of their second three-week bye of the season, and with the fewest games played of any team in the league, the Outlaws will have to find a way to stay warm despite the early season freeze. After leading the team in blocks a season ago, Alex Arsenault has been a revelation on offense, scoring 26 goals in just four games, and throwing another seven assists.



2-3 -4 Following Sunday's tough loss at home to Montreal, the Empire will be heading into tomorrow's game with a new head coach in CJ Ouellette. A former defensive specialist for the Empire, it will be interesting to see what changes will be made to this New York team's offense after they averaged just 19.6 goals in their first five games, with four of those contests taking place at home.



3-4 +1 Montreal has become the ultimate chaos agent for the 2017 season, with all three of their wins coming in unexpected road environments, while going 0-2 at home. Quentin Bonnaud, of SportsCenter fame from a week ago, has slowly emerged as a go-to offensive contributor downfield, averaging over three scores per game.



1-6 -1 Austin continues to play well, but not enough to close out games with a win. And now losing their top offensive contributor in Caleb Denecour, it remains to be seen what kind of approach the Sol will take heading into the latter half of their season.



1-5 - Not all is lost for the AlleyCats, as they still have four games at home on their schedule. If Indy can claim a victory against Pittsburgh at home next weekend, the 'Cats will suddenly have a path back into playoff contention in the Midwest.



1-5 - Much like the team above them in the rankings, the Growlers still have a shot at the postseason despite their lackluster start. With four remaining games at home—and none against a San Francisco team that has given them fits over the years—San Diego can make a lot of progress tomorrow if they can get a win on the road against their rivals in Los Angeles.



1-4 +1 Redemption is the story of the latter half of these rankings, as the season is still very young and a team like Philly has a lot of opportunities and confidence following their groundbreaking win in Montreal. Sean Mott (18 assists, 20 goals) and William Hoehne (10 assists, 14 goals) continue to do a lot of the work on offense, but they along with Scott Xu might be one of the best lineups at winning the disc back after turnovers.



1-8 -1 Averaging nearly 30 turnovers per game, the Riptide shoulder a lot of the blame for their struggles in 2017. As exciting as this team can be to watch, three of their top four throwers are averaging less than a 90 percent completion rate on the season, which isn't so much an indictment on the handlers as it is on the entire offensive system that produces such a low efficiency.



1-4 +1 I mentioned earlier that Justin Norden had a chance to break into the truly elite for completions in a season, but even he pales in comparison to the usage numbers Pawel Janas has put up through five games in 2017. He has 361 completions on the year, putting him on pace for over 1000 (!!) in a full season, which would surpass the current record held by Daniel Selwyn (937) that was achieved during a 16 game season in 2013.



1-4 -1 The Mechanix continue to play with more energy than in past seasons, and Alex Davis (28 goals) has emerged as a primary threat on offense. Still, despite Detroit's defensive efforts, the team has scored more than 20 goals just once this season.



0-7 - The NightWatch have given up more than 30 goals five times in seven games this season, putting them on track for the most 30+ goal games given up in a season. But with four games remaining at home, they might be able to shore up some of their defensive weaknesses.

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