The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds are used to playing these kinds of games in the playoffs. In 2015, they edged Chicago 24-23 in overtime and last season they beat Minnesota 20-18 in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) playoffs.
On Saturday, they overcame a five goal deficit on the road to once again hand the Minnesota Wind Chill an early exit in the playoffs.
The Thunderbirds won 26-25 to advance to the Midwest Division final this weekend at Madison.
Minnesota had the crowd and the lead on their side for much of the game in what was the first playoff home game in the franchise’s five-year history. The Wind Chill took a decisive 4-0 lead from the get go thanks to their tenacious defensive play, and steady offensive execution. The highlight of the first half came with with seven seconds remaining in the second quarter. Minnesota defender Dylan DeClerck burst on a Pittsburgh pass for a layout block, and then continued his energy into the momentum for the bookends score and the 15-11 Wind Chill lead.
But Pittsburgh continued to hang tough throughout the contest. Despite trailing 18-13 midway through the third quarter, the Thunderbirds offense continued to find their rhythm while the defense dug deep to produce opportunities late in the game.
Following a Minnesota goal that put the score at 23-19, the Thunderbirds went on a 6-0 run during the fourth quarter to take the decisive lead. Max Thorne contributed on three scores during the rally, and finished the game with a team-high four assists and seven goals.
There will be a full slate of playoff action this weekend:
Friday, August 11
- Montreal at DC
Saturday, August 12
- Dallas at Raleigh
- Pittsburgh at Madison
- Los Angeles at San Jose
Sunday, August 13
- Montreal/DC winner at Toronto
- Los Angeles/San Jose winner at San Francisco
(Pittsburgh-Minnesota game story from AUDL website)