Here are the latest new sports franchises which will begin play soon:
Amarillo (To-Be-Named) will be a new farm team for the San Diego Padres in the Texas League (TL) to begin play in 2019. The San Antonio Missions franchise relocated to Amarillo as the Colorado Springs Sky Sox have relocated to San Antonio in the Pacific Coast League (PCL). The five finalists in a name-the-team contest are: Boot Scooters, Bronc Busters, Jerky, Long Haulers and Sod Poodles. The “winning” name will be chosen in the next few weeks. Amarillo previously had an independent league team called the Dillas from 1994-2010.
Colorado Springs will have a team in the Pioneer League (PL) next spring after the Sky Sox moved to San Antonio in the Pacific Coast League (PCL). The five finalists in the name-the-team contest are Happy Campers, Lamb Chops, Punchy Pikas, Throttle Jockeys and Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Traverse City (Michigan), which is located in Northern Michigan, will have a team in the Northwoods League. The league just completed its 25th season as a summer collegiate baseball league.
Lansing (Michigan) Ignite will begin play in the United Soccer League One (USL 1) next season. The USL 1 is a new league under the United Soccer League (USL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) umbrella.
Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Rougarou will begin play in the Texas Collegiate League next season. A “rougarou” is often described as a creature with a human body and the head of a wolf or dog, similar to a werewolf.
Vancouver Warriors will play in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) this season. The Warriors moved from Everett, Washington when they were known as the Washington Stealth.
Boston (Massachusetts), Atlanta (Georgia), Los Angeles (California) and Washington(DC) will be expansion teams in Major League Rugby (MLR) for the 2020 season. The MLR played its first season this past summer with eight teams.
Halifax will join the National Lacrosse League (NLL) in the 2019 season when the Rochester Knighthawks move to Halifax.
Tucson (Arizona) Sugar Skulls will be an expansion team in the Indoor Football League (IFL) in 2019. The franchise was awarded in August. The team name originated from the local tradition of creating sugar skulls for Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead).
After writing this blog the question that screams at me is: WHO IS COMING UP WITH THESE TEAM NAMES? Maybe we shouldn’t have fans name the teams and have professional people who can come up with some team names instead of trying to come up with the most ridiculous names possible.
I should know. I once attended Macon Whoopee hockey games.
The Saskatchewan Rush won their third National Lacrosse League (NLL) title in Game 3 of the championship series against the Rochester Knighthawks. Jeff Shattler scored four goals in the series-deciding game in the 15-10 win. For the Rush, the win was particularly sweet redemption after having their two-year reign atop the NLL come to a gut-wrenching conclusion last year as they lost the final to the Georgia Swarm especially losing the deciding Game 2 at home in overtime. But the Rush were determined to get back to the top and they rumbled through the regular season with a 14-4 record which earned them home-floor advantage throughout the playoffs. They wound up needing it and using it to their full advantage with a raucous crowd of 13,645 at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon watching the Rush hoist the newly minted NLL Cup.
The American Arena League (AAL) wrapped up their regular season but the playoff schedule is a little blurry. The Georgia Doom defeated the Atlanta Havoc on Saturday, 48-42, to clinch a playoff berth but the Doom owners decided not to participate in the playoffs. Don’t expect the league’s website to be much help either. According to the standings, the top teams are: Richmond Roughriders (10-1), Atlanta Havoc (9-2), Georgia Doom (6-2) and Carolina Energy (6-3).
Washington Valor defensive back Fred Obi has been named the Arena Football League (AFL) Week 9’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Philadelphia Soul. In his first game with the Valor, Obi recorded three solo tackles, one pass break-up and a pair of interceptions, the second of which occurred with just 18 seconds left in the game and sealed the Washington win.
The Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league begins their playoffs this weekend with eight teams entering the postseason.
Duke City Gladiators vs. Wichita Force
Amarillo Venom vs. Texas Revolution
Salina Liberty vs. Bismarck Bucks
Sioux City Bandits vs. Quad Cities Steamwheelers
Champions Bowl IV will be played the weekend of June 30th, with the location of the game to be determined during the playoffs.
The Sioux Falls Storm stunned the Iowa Barnstormers in a week 16 Indoor Football League (IFL) showdown. The Storm would begin the third quarter with a 25-yard field goal by Miles Bergner, cutting the Barnstormers lead to 35-31. The Barnstormers would extend their lead to 49-31 after scoring on back to back drives. The first score was a 21-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Skyler Scott and then a 29-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Brady Roland. The Storm would end the third quarter with a team safety, trailing 49-33. The Sioux Falls Storm would be the only team to score in the fourth quarter to earn their tenth win of the season with a 51-49 victory. The first score was a one-yard rushing touchdown by Lorenzo Brown along with a successful two-point conversion where Lorenzo Brown found Damond Powell, next Lorenzo Brown would get a two-yard rushing touchdown with a successful two-point conversion after Lorenzo Brown hit Damian Ford and then the Thunder Defense would block the game winning field and earn a safety from it.
The Columbus Lions defeated the Maine Mammoths 55-34 on Saturday night in the National Arena League (NAL). The Lions held off a late charge from the Mammoths to improve their record to 5-2 on the season. This loss drops the Mammoths to 1-7 on the year. Quayvon Hicks led the offense on Saturday. Hicks rushed for three touchdowns, with his final touchdown sealing the game for the Lions. Quarterback Mason Espinosa had another efficient day throwing for over 250 yards and five touchdowns. Triston Purifoy had a monster game for the Lions. Purify hauled in 11 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns. Durron Neal contributed with 84 yards on four catches and two touchdowns. The Lions offense totaled 281 yards on the day and averaged 5.9 yards per play.
In the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL), the DC Breeze had a thrilling 25-24 overtime win over the Toronto Rush to hand the Rush their first loss of the season. Toronto had the disc with 38 seconds remaining in overtime with a chance to send the contest to the sudden death 2nd OT; however, the DC defense held on and frustrated Toronto’s offensive push.
The revival of the XFL, which plans to start in 2020 with eight teams is considering St. Louis, Houston, San Antonio and Los Angeles.
The BIG3 Basketball League is coming back again this summer and the 3-on-3 league starts on June 22nd with live streaming the league’s game for a nine-week period with one game being shown each Friday.
Major League Quidditch (MLQ) has begun its fourth season with 16 teams. The Austin Outlaws are the defending champions.
Alliance of American Football (AAF): The proposed new springtime AAF officially announced San Diego and Birmingham will be its sixth and seventh team locations. The AAF plans to start play with eight teams in February 2019 and previously announced teams for the markets of Atlanta, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.
American Arena League (AAL): The Richmond Roughriders defeated the Jersey Flight 74-65 on Saturday night at the Richmond Coliseum, advancing their record to 9-1. By defeating Jersey, Richmond ensured itself the Northern Division title in the AAL with one game remaining in the season, a home game next Saturday against the High Country Grizzlies. The game marked the indoor football debut for new receiver Robert Meachem, who was a Super Bowl champion in the NFL. Meachem was eased into the action, though, with Rashaad Carter continuing to take the bulk of the catches for the Roughriders.
Arena Football League (AFL): The Albany Empire (5-2) won their fifth consecutive game on Saturday night in a back and forth battle against the Baltimore Brigade (5-2) at the Times Union Center by a score of 61-53 in front of a crowd of 8,057. The game was even throughout, but thanks to a late defensive touchdown by the Empire, Albany took the lead and momentum and never looked back. Albany maintained its third quarter dominance by allowing just 7 points. So far on the season, the Empire has outscored opponents by 61 total points in the third quarter.
Current League Standings:
Baltimore Brigade (5-2)
Albany Empire (5-2)
Philadelphia Soul (4-3)
Washington Valor (0-7)
American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL): The Minnesota Wind Chill secured a 22-18 victory over the Indianapolis Alleycats at home on Saturday. The Alleycats, now 7-2 had their six-game win streak snapped by the Wind Chill. The first place Alleycats fell to second place in the division while the Wind Chill remain in third.
South: Dallas Roughnecks (7-1)
West: Los Angeles Aviators (7-2)
East: Toronto Rush (8-0)
Midwest: Madison Radicals (6-1)
Champions Indoor Football (CIF): Mario Esparza kicked a 19-yard field goal in overtime as Bismarck Bucks erased a 25-point deficit to beat the Omaha Beef 41-38 and eliminate the Beef from playoff contention. The Beef (4-8) led 38-13 in the second quarter after a 1-yard touchdown run by John Gibbs. But Tray Boone answered with a 50-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and the Bucks (5-6) slowly chipped away at the lead. Esparza kicked a 29-yard field goal to tie the game as time expired in regulation.
Indoor Football League (IFL): The Iowa Barnstormers (10-2) beat the Arizona Rattlers (10-3) 41-38 Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, sweeping the 3-1 series. At the start of the third quarter Drew Powell marched the ball in for an Iowa touchdown, 34-28. Iowa’s wide receiver Skyler Scott ran the ball 7-yards for the touchdown, 41-31. Jeff Ziemba completed a pass to Jamal Miles for the Arizona touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead and the Barnstormers won 41-38. With the win, the Iowa Barnstormers have swept their three game regular season series against the Arizona Rattlers, being the only team in the IFL to give Arizona a loss so far this season.
Major League Lacrosse (MLL): The Denver Outlaws handed the Charlotte Hounds their first home loss of the season, and completed a season sweep against them, in a 16-13 win on Saturday night. Denver scored five of the first six goals of the game and Wes Berg had two goals in a 30-second span in the first quarter. Ryan Brown scored with just under six minutes left in regulation to cut Charlotte’s deficit to 14-13. The Outlaws would answer with goals from Eric Law and Chris Cloutier to close out the game. The Hounds started the season 4-0, but have now lost two of their last three, with both losses coming at the hands of the Outlaws.
Major League Rugby (MLR): The Glendale Raptors remained as the only undefeated team in the league with a 47-10 win over NOLA Gold in a steamy game played in New Orleans. Temps were over 90 degrees but the Raptors jumped out to a 19-0 lead and never were threatened. With seven tries on the day, Glendale trails Seattle by just one point in the league standings while remaining the only unbeaten side in MLR. The Raptors have two remaining home games, hosting the Houston Sabercats on June 8 after a quick turnaround from this weekend’s play, then the Seattle Seawolves on June 16. Glendale’s final regular season match is on the road, the team traveling to California to tackle San Diego Legion. Glendale will play host to the league semifinals on June 30, with matches at Infinity Park deciding which of America’s professional rugby teams will compete for their first championship title. The top four teams in the league will gather in Glendale, competing in a double header that kicks off at 5pm Mountain Time. Winners of each match will then travel to San Diego on July 7 for the first ever, American professional rugby championship.
National Arena League (NAL): The Jacksonville Sharks (6-3) took down the Columbus Lions (4-2) in a back and forth second-half battle with a score of 67-65. This is the second time Jacksonville has faced the Lions this season. Sharks Quarterback Adrian McPherson had his best game as a Shark tonight, and is rapidly improving. His 26-of-37 for 327 yards, eight touchdowns, and one interception performance helped the Sharks take the lead multiple times this game. Leading receiver, Antonio Vaughan had a 100-yard performance with eight receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns. McPherson used his targets wisely, as Chris Gilchrist finished the night with 90 yards and three touchdowns, Cody Saul had 55 receiving yards with one touchdown, and Tom Gilson had a game that helped the team out tremendously by having four receptions for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
The league has also registered the “Nashville Kats” as the potential name of a future team to be announced. A Nashville-based team was reported to be close to playing in the 2018 season of the NAL but decided to wait another season. The original Arena Football League had two versions (1997-2001 and 2005-07) of teams called the Nashville Kats. More recently, a team called the Nashville Venom played two seasons (2014-15) in the former Professional Indoor Football League.
National Lacrosse League (NLL): Goalie Matt Vinc of the Rochester Knighthawks forced a third and deciding game in the NLL Cup Final. Vinc finished with 47 saves and the Knighthawks used a four-goal run in the second quarter to catapult them to a 13-8 victory over the Saskatchewan Rush in Game 2 of the best-of-three final on Saturday night. Game 3 will go down on June 9th back at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon where the Rush earned a 16-9 win in the series opener.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF):Shellie Robinson and Alexa Peterson both hit home runs but it wasn’t enough for the Cleveland Comets to avoid a sweep at Chicago as the Bandits collected six extra base hits on the way to a 12-5 win on Sunday at the Ballpark at Rosemont. The Bandits used a pair of walks and two singles to score two runs off Cleveland rookie Devin Brown in the top of the first. Jiang Xinyue drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third and scored on Robinson’s opposite field homer, the first four-bag hit in Cleveland Comets history.
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL): The North Carolina Courage fought to draw the Houston Dash in their fourth consecutive road game. After finding themselves trailing by one early in the second half, the Courage turned to a new face to provide the late-game heroics as rookie Frannie Crouse netted the equalizer to earn the point.
Current League Standings:
North Carolina Courage (30 pts)
Seattle Reign FC (18)
Orlando Pride (16)
Portland Thorns FC (15)
Chicago Red Stars (15)
Utah Royals FC (14)
Houston Dash (14)
Washington Spirit (8)
Sky Blue FC (1)
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA): The Las Vegas Aces got a 26-point, 12-rebound double-double from rookie of the year candidate A’ja Wilson, and season-scoring-highs off the bench from Dearica Hamby (14 points) and Kelsey Bone (10) en route to an 85-73 victory over the Washington Mystics (5-2). It was the Aces’ (1-4) first win since relocating from San Antonio last fall.
Current League Standings:
Connecticut Sun (5-0)
Washington Mystics (5-3)
Chicago Sky (3-3)
New York Liberty (2-2)
Atlanta Dream (2-3)
Indiana Fever (0-6)
Los Angeles Sparks (4-1)
Seattle Storm (5-2)
Phoenix Mercury (4-3)
Dallas Wings (3-3)
Minnesota Lynx (2-5)
Las Vegas Aces (1-5)
Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL): The new WPLL started its inaugural 2018 season this weekend with five teams called Baltimore Brave, New England Command, New York Fight, Philadelphia Fire and Upstate Pride (Albany, NY). The league will play a total of nine regular-season games with playoffs starting in mid-July. The former commissioner of the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX), which started play in 2016, is the organizer of the WPLL.
Alliance of American Football (AAF) – Announced that they will place a team in Salt Lake City, Utah when they begin play next spring. Salt Lake City joins Orlando, Atlanta and Memphis and will play at Rice Eccles Stadium, which is the home field for the University of Utah. The Memphis team has announced that former Chicago Bears’ great Mike Singletary will be their head coach.
AmericanArena League (AAL) – The Georgia Doom upset the Richmond Roughriders 56-44 in Macon, Georgia after the Doom replaced head coach Derek Stingley with Defensive Coordinator Gerald Dockery.
American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The Toronto Rush (4-0) held on to defeat the Montreal Royal 21-18 to stay undefeated and atop the East Division standings. Montreal drops to 2-3. In other divisions, the surprising Atlanta Hustle are tied with the Dallas Roughnecks at 4-1 in the South. Madison is 5-0 in the Midwest but Indianapolis (6-1) is right on their heels. The West seems to be wide open as 2.5 games separate the first and last place teams. The Los Angeles Aviators and San Diego Growlers are tied for first with 4-2 records.
Arena Football League (AFL) – The Albany Empire (2-2) defeated the Washington Valor (0-4) 53-42 on Friday night at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in front of a crowd of 9,036. Empire quarterback Tommy Grady threw for 257 yards and seven touchdowns earning himself the game MVP award. Empire receiver Malachi Jones had six receptions for 120 yards and three receiving touchdowns, while chipping one rushing touchdown and earning himself Offensive Player of the Game. Terence Moore was named Defensive Player of the Game with six total tackles and a fumble recovery.
Champions Indoor Football (CIF) -The Omaha Beef made just enough plays to edge out the Bismarck Bucks in an offensive explosion 79-78. After a tough game last week against Sioux City, John Gibbs showed what he can potentially be for Omaha. A week ago, Gibbs had one touchdown in the air and two on the ground, but it was the three interceptions that hurt the Beef the most. Saturday night, Gibbs had eight total touchdowns (7-passing/1-rushing) and most importantly, no interceptions. Gibbs found receivers Daniel Mckinney, Brandlynn Clark and Jerimiah Eaton open all game. Mckinney lead the receivers in receptions (6) and total touchdowns (5), Clark added two touchdowns, and so did Eaton, with one of his touchdown catches coming with under 10-seconds left in the game.
Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) – The online, fan-involved indoor football league has delayed their start date to the summer of 2019.
Indoor Football League (IFL) – The six-time world champion league leading Arizona Rattlers (9-1) defeated the Green Bay Blizzard (1-8) by a score of 62-26 at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Rattlers have extended their current win streak to eight.
Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – The Denver Outlaws fell 24-22 in a back-and-forth, high-scoring game to the Chesapeake Bayhawks on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Despite scoring a season-high 22 goals and rallying from a five-score fourth-quarter deficit, Denver was never able to overcome a Chesapeake 13-point third quarter and four two-goal tallies. Midfielder Drew Snider led all scorers with a career-high six goals-representing only the 20th six-goal game in Outlaws history.
Major League Rugby (MLR) – The Glendale Raptors were named the Major League Rugby Team of the Week the league announced today. The Raptors have jumped out to a perfect 4-0 start after a 31-27 win against the San Diego Legion. Facing a 21-10 deficit in the second half, Glendale used strong defensive pressure paired with timely stops to swing the momentum of the match. Down three with under 10 minutes to play, Raptors’ flanker Zach Fenoglio finished off a sequence of phase play with a try and the ensuing conversion proved to be enough for Glendale.
National Arena League (NAL) – The Columbus Lions stunned the Carolina Cobras 55-54 when Columbus quarterback Mason Espinosa found Durron Neal for a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired then kicker Lindsey Wolfe made the extra point for the win.
National Lacrosse League (NLL) – The Rochester Knighthawks edged the Georgia Swarm 9-8 in the Eastern Division final while the Saskatchewan Rush knocked off the Calgary Roughnecks in the West final. Rochester and Saskatchewan will faceoff for the NLL title with Game 1 at Saskatchewan on May 26th.
National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) – Added the Minnesota Whitecaps to the league as their fifth team joining Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut and Metropolitan in 2018-2019. The Whitecaps were already an independent team which started in 2004 and played in the short-lived Western Women’s Hockey League in 2010-2011.
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The Orlando Pride (3-2-3, 12 points) earned a 2-1 win over Portland Thorns FC on Saturday afternoon, defeating the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) champions in front of over 17,000 fans at Providence Park. The match not only marked the Pride’s first win over Portland in Club history, but extended the team’s unbeaten streak to five straight games. Forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Christine Nairn got on the score sheet for the Pride, both putting in their first goals of the 2018 season.
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Los Angeles Sparks and defending champion Minnesota Lynx will tip-off the league’s 21st season on May 20th. The league will again have 12 teams with the only relocation being the Las Vegas Aces which moved from San Antonio.
They finally did it. The Nashville Nightwatch of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) shocked the Austin Sol 22-20 on Sunday to win their first game since 2016. The Sol rallied from a 13-11 halftime deficit to lead 16-15 through three quarters, but the NightWatch were better down the stretch. Nashville opened the final quarter on a 4-1 run and never trailed again in their 22-20 triumph. The last win for the Nightwatch was a 30-26 win against Jacksonville on July 9, 2016. I was at the game and it was the highest offensive output for the team in its history and looked promising for 2017. The Nightwatch went winless the next season.
ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AFL)
Albany Empire’s quarterback Tommy Grady and defensive back Marrio Norman have been named as the offensive and defensive players of the week for Week 4, respectively. Grady (6’7, 245, Utah) led the Empire to their first win in team history on 20-of-29 passes for 221 yards and 5 touchdowns. The former Ute currently is second in the League in pass completion percentage (67.0%) and third in passing yards (733) and passing touchdowns (16). Norman (6’1, 205, Coastal Carolina) had a dominant defensive game in the Empire’s 47-23 win over the Washington Valor. The six-year veteran recorded 10.0 total tackles, two interceptions for 32 yards, while returning one of those interceptions for a 12-yard touchdown. Norman ranks second in total tackles with 20.5.
Last week’s scores:
Albany Empire 47, Washington Valor 23
Baltimore Brigade 31, Philadelphia Soul 21
ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL (AAF)
The proposed new springtime AAF has announced Memphis as its third franchise when the league starts play in February 2019. The Atlanta and Orlando markets were previously announced as franchise locations. The AAF is reported to be in discussions with Arizona State University (Tempe) for use of its Sun Devil Stadium as home to a possible Phoenix area AAF franchise.
AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE (AAL)
John Banks caught three touchdown passes, and George Jenkins graduate Reggie Ellis contributed his second spectacular touchdown catch in as many weeks as the Florida Tarpons tamed the Austin Wild, 50-30, for their first win of the 2018 season Sunday afternoon at the RP Funding Center.
Richmond Roughriders 82, Peach State Cats 22
Atlanta Havoc 74, High Country Grizzlies 32
Carolina Energy 98, Savannah Coastal Outlaws 13
Jersey flight 70, Upstate Dragons 6
CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL (CIF)
Shannon Winesberry’s victory-sealing, 33-yard interception return in overtime Saturday night proved to be the difference as the Quad-City Steamwheelers won at Bismarck 45-32. Bismarck got half of their four touchdowns in the final 56 seconds, taking advantage of two Quad-City field-goal misses to rally from a 32-17 deficit to force overtime. The Steamwheelers scored on the first possession of the extra session, with a 22-yard reception from Davenport’s Keyvan Rudd setting up a short Tyler Williams TD run. The game ended on the next step, thanks to Winesberry and a defense that forced four turnovers and kept Bismarck from scoring on eight of 13 possessions.
Sioux City Bandits (5-3)
Salina Liberty (6-2)
Quad Cities Steamwheelers (4-3)
Bismarck Bucks (4-4)
Omaha Beef (3-5)
Kansas City Phantoms (2-6)
Duke City Gladiators (7-1)
Amarillo Venom (6-1)
Texas Revolution (2-5)
Wichita Force (3-5)
Dallas Marshals (1-8)
INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE (IFL)
The six-time world champion and first place Arizona Rattlers (8-1) defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans (1-8) by a score of 57-42 at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Rattlers have now won their seventh straight game.The two teams would trade punches early, but a dominant third quarter by the Rattlers would prove to be too much for the Titans. Offensively for Arizona, Quarterback Jeff Ziemba completed 12 of his 20 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Ziemba also had a rushing touchdown. RB Darrell Monroe rushed the ball 20 times for 107 yards and three touchdowns.
Iowa Barnstormers 49, Sioux Falls Storm 42
Green Bay Blizzard 47, Nebraska Danger 25
MAJOR LACROSS LEAGUE (MLL)
The Florida Launch dominated the Denver Outlaws 16-7 at FAU Stadium on May 6 to improve their record to 3-1. With the return of Kieran McArdle, the Launch led an assertive offensive attack against that Outlaws. Dylan Molloy, Mike Tagliaferri, and McArdle led the team in goals, with each player putting up a hat trick. Tagliaferri posted his first MLL goal as well as his first MLL hat trick. On defense, Alec Tulett led the team, causing four turnovers and collecting four ground balls. In the cage, Austin Kaut stopped 21 of the 28 shots he faced for an impressive .750 save-percentage.
MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY (MLR)
In a match that featured a little bit of everything, the Legion (2-1) knocked off the SaberCats (1-2) 35-32 on the back of outside centre Anthony Salaber’s three-try performance. Both teams came out of the gate playing extremely fast, and it paid off for the SaberCats rather quickly. They struck first when scrum half Connor Murphy kicked to some space behind San Diego’s back line. A favorable bounce ended up in the hands of wing Alex Elkins who produced the ball to outside centre Osea Kolinisau. Kolinisau used his one move to ground the ball on the goal line and was awarded the first try of the match. Fly-half Sam Windsor nailed the conversion and the SaberCats were out to an early 7-0 lead.
The SaberCats, with only four minutes to play, had their chances to put the match away. Murphy attempted to pin San Diego deep with a box kick, but he didn’t get all of the ball and Audsley scooped it up off the ground to give San Diego a chance to win it with a try.
Houston forced San Diego’s attack into touch and had one more chance to finish the game with a successful lineout. The ensuing lineout was not thrown straight, and the Legion would have an opportunity at a lineout of their own. The phase play that stemmed from that lineout was extended when an errant pass that went out of bounds in stoppage time was brought back to the spot of a penalty, and Tony Purpura finally put a stamp on the game with a try on the goal line.
Audsley kicked the conversion and the Legion escaped with a 35-32 win.
NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE (NAL)
The Massachusetts Pirates trailed the Columbus Lions by 15 points early in the third quarter of their National Arena League marquee matchup Sunday when quarterback Sean Brackett threw his second interception. The defense took the field and proceeded to make the first of three straight stops, all of which the offense turned into touchdowns as the Pirates outscored the Lions, 29-7, over the final 25 minutes to post a 44-37, last-second victory.
Jacksonville Sharks 48, Maine Mammoths 31
Carolina Cobras 65, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 3
NATIONAL LACROSS LEAGUE (NLL)
The Calgary Roughnecks extend their post-season winning streak against their Colorado to 8-0 with a 15-12 win. With the win, the Roughnecks will advance to face the Saskatchewan Rush in the West Division on Sunday, May 13, at 5:00 p.m. The Mammoths controlled the first half, going on a six goal run en route to a 7-3 advantage heading into the break. Although Colorado outshot the Roughnecks 50-46, Calgary dominated the second half outscoring the home team 12-5 including two empty net goals to conclude the night.
In the East, the Rochester Knighthawks eliminated the New England Black Wolves 15-11 to advance to the East final against the Georgia Swarm on Saturday.
SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (SPHL)
The Huntsville Havoc won the SPHL title by defeating the Peoria Rivermen 4-2 to win the series 2 games to 1. Huntsville knocked off the Mississippi Riverkings 1-4, 4-3 (ot) and 5-2 in the first round and then dethroned the defending champions, Macon Mayhem, 4-6, 8-2, 3-2 (ot) in the semifinals.
The proposed new springtime AAF announced Atlanta will become home to the league’s second franchise. The AAF recently announced Orlando as its first franchise location and plans to announce six additional markets over the coming weeks. A team in Southern California is expected to be one of the next six markets.
AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL)
The Raleigh Flyers (4-2) split their Texas road trip last weekend as they lost to the Austin Sol (2-1) 25-23 in overtime then rebounded in Dallas to defeat the Roughnecks (3-1) 24-20. Check out this highlight of Justin Allen’s 90-yard heave for Raleigh at the end of the third period here.
AUDL Division Leaders:
Midwest: Madison (3-0)
South: Atlanta (3-0)
East: Toronto (3-0)
West: San Diego (3-2)
Locally, the Nashville Nightwatch and Tampa Bay Cannons were both winless going into Saturday’s game. The Cannons had five goals by Jordan Huston in a 25-13 win. The Nightwatch return to their home field this Sunday at 2 p.m. against the Austin Sol.
ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AFL)
The Washington Valor were defeated, 67-51, by the defending-champion Philadelphia Soul Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center. Valor wide receiver Josh Reese set a career high with three receiving touchdowns while Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh threw five touchdowns and was named the game’s MVP.
GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENT FOOTBALL LEAGUE (GDFL)
The Huntsville Rockets defeated the Chattanooga Eagles 22-19 in one of the top game last weekend. The Rockets (1-0) take the top spot in the league. Here are the rest of the top 10 teams:
#2 Georgia Crush (1-0)
#3 Mississippi Road Warriors (0-0)
#4 Starkville Steeldogs (0-0)
#5 Missouri Cyclones (1-0)
#6 River City Pythons (1-0)
#7 Oklahoma Outlaws (2-0)
#8 Memphis Blast (1-0)
#9 Chattanooga Eagles (0-1)
#10 Alabama Sabers (0-1)
MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE (MASL)
The Orlando SeaWolves will join the MASL next season. The SeaWolves will play at Kissimmee’s Sliver Spurs Arena. The new team will be part of the MASL’s 2018-19 alignment when the season kicks off in December.
MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY (MLR)
The Glendale Raptors took their 1-0 record to the Pacific Northwest for a rain-soaked slugfest against the Seattle Seawolves on Saturday night. In front of a sold-out crowd at Starfire Sports Complex and under the pouring rain, the Raptors (2-0) made the most of their chances and were able to defeat a strong Seawolves (1-1) side by a score of 19-15.
Glendale Raptors (9)
Seattle Seawolves (6)
Houston SaberCats (6)
NOLA Gold (5)
San Diego Legion (5)
Austin Elite (2)
Utah Warriors (1)
NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE (NLL)
The defending NLL champions, Georgia Swarm (11-7), clinched the Eastern Division title while the Saskatchewan Rush (14-4) took the Western Division title as the regular season ended last weekend. Rochester, New England, Colorado and Calgary also clinched playoff berths. It took a 16-11 win by the Swarm over the New England Black Wolves in the final regular season game to clinch the Eastern Division title.
PRO Chess League:After two draws that kept extending a playoff, Zaven Adriasyan won in game three of his sudden-death blitz match with Wang Yue to give the Armenia Eagles the championship in the PRO Chess League. The Eagles finished the regular season winning the Eastern Division with a record of 6.5-2.5. They were the only #1 seed to advance to California, meaning they were both the Eastern Division champions in the regular season, and won the divisional bracket in the postseason. The opening round of the playoffs saw them cruise over the Estonia Horses 10.5-5.5, while in the quarterfinals they used their top-seeded draw odds to get by the Mumbai Movers after an 8-8 score.
AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL): The Raleigh Flyers (3-1) continued their dominance over the Nashville Nightwatch (0-2) as they took advantage of crucial turnovers by the Nightwatch in the third quarter to get some separation for a 31-26 win in Nashville. Jacob Fairfax went up for an incredible goal in between Nashville defenders as time expired before halftime to give the Flyers some momentum. This was Raleigh’s 10th straight win over Nashville. In the earlier women’s game, the Raleigh Radiance won in sudden death overtime over the Nashville Nightshade 15-14.
PBA BOWLING LEAGUE: The Silver Lake Atom Splitters dominated their semifinal and final matches Sunday to win the Professional Bowlers Association’s Elias Cup for the third time in five years at Bayside Bowl in Portland. The team of Jesper Svensson, Dick Allen, A.J. Johnson, Tom Daugherty and Chris Barnes won all eight games during the two-day tournament, capped by four straight victories in the finals against the Philadelphia Hitmen.
SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (SPHL): Splitting the first two games in the SPHL semifinals, the Huntsville Havoc and Macon Mayhem needed overtime in game three to determine which team’s season would come to an end and which would move on to the championship series. Both clubs were evenly matched, but the Havoc scored late in the third to send it to the extra frame and Peter Sikalis notched his first goal of the playoffs in overtime to send Huntsville on the SPHL finals.
ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AFL): The Philadelphia Soul (2-0) unveiled their ArenaBowl championship banner in their home opener and defeated the Baltimore Brigade (1-1) in their home opener 54-49. With only seconds left in the game, Dan Raudabaugh found Darius Reynolds in the end zone for the win.
AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE (AHL): Matthew Highmore, Chris DiDomenico and Lance Bouma contributed three unanswered tallies to break a 2-2 deadlock in the second period and guide the Rockford IceHogs to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves in front of a crowd of 5,418 at the BMO Harris Bank Center Sunday night. With their win, the IceHogs now hold a 2-0 lead in their first-round Calder Cup playoff series against the Wolves, and are just one win shy of advancing to the second round. In other series, Lehigh Valley 1, Providence 1; Charlotte 2, Wilkes Barre/Scranton 0; Toronto 2, Utica 0; Syracuse 2, Rochester 0; Grand Rapids 1, Manitoba 1; Tucson 1, San Jose 1; Texas 2, Ontario 1.
ECHL: The Ft. Wayne Komets defeated the Cincinnati Cyclones 4-2 at Cincinnati Sunday in game 5 of the Central division semifinals and eliminated Cincinnati 4 games to 1 in the best-of-seven first-round series to advance to round 2 against the Toledo Walleye. The Komets rallied from a 2-1 deficit with three unanswered goals late in the third period from Jason Binkley, Phelix Martineau and Cold Sol in a span of 6:11 to take the win and advance to the second round series for the fifth straight season. Fort Wayne Goaltender Michael Houser earned the win making 16 saves on 18 shots.
FEDERAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (FHL): The battle for the Commissioners Cup got interesting on Saturday night as the Watertown Wolves pulled of a 3-2 win in Port Huron to even the best-of-five series at 1-1. Anton Lennartsson scored at 12:40 of the third period on a Wolves power play to break a 2-2 tie. The goal stood up as the game winner, disappointing 1,279 Prowlers fans in attendance at McMorran Place Arena.
NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE (NAHL): For the sixth time in eight seasons, the Austin Bruins will appear in the Central Division Finals. After defeating the Minnesota Wilderness 5-3 on Saturday night at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet, they took the Semifinal series, three games to one and will play either the Aberdeen Wings or Minot Minotauros next weekend for the right to represent the Central Division at the Robertson Cup Tournament.
UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE (USHL): The Clark Cup is down to the final four teams as they square off in the conference semifinals. In the Eastern Conference Semifinals: Team USA and Chicago Steel are tied at 1-1. Youngstown leads Dubuque 2-0. In the West: Waterloo and Lincoln are tied 1-1. Omaha and Fargo are tied 1-1.
WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE (WHL): A night after a close Game One victory, the Swift Current Broncos and Lethbridge Hurricanes got right back at it for Game Two and it was a close contest. Former Lethbridge Hurricane and now Swift Current Bronco forward Giorgio Estephan had a night to remember as he potted his second career WHL postseason hat trick in the most dramatic of ways, 4-3 in overtime.
AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE (AAL): Jacques Alston scored touchdowns the first four times he touched the ball to stake the Heroes to a four-touchdown lead and set the tone for an 89-20 American Arena League rout of the Upstate Dragons at the Crown Coliseum. Darting and spinning his way through the Upstate defense, Alston had touchdown runs of 13, 28 and 16 yards in the opening quarter along with a 35-yard scoring reception. He added a fifth touchdown run from five yards out in the fourth quarter to cap a six carry, 68-yard rushing effort.
NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE (NAL): The Carolina Cobras (2-1) opened their second home game of the season with a victory over the Massachusetts Pirates (2-1) 55-47. This win leaves the NAL with one undefeated team, which is the Columbus Lions (2-0).
INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE (IFL): The Sioux Falls Storm faced the Cedar Rapids Titans on Saturday, April 21 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center during a week nine contest. The Storm came out on top 65-48 against rival Titans.
CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL (CIF): The Omaha Beef got back to their winning ways with an important win against the Kansas City Phantoms 47-41. Anthony Iannotti led the offense with six total touchdowns (3-running and 3-passing) and Chris Perry added two interceptions returning one for a touchdown for the defense.
NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE (NLL): The Calgary Roughnecks swept the series with the Vancouver Stealth (4-0) with a 26-11 victory over the Stealth and tied a franchise record for most goals for in a single game.
COASTAL PLAIN LEAGUE (CPL): The Lexington County (SC) Blowfish of the summer-collegiate CPL will be renamed the Lexington County Pancakes when the team plays the league’s newest team called the Macon (GA) Bacon during the 2018 season.