NoE38

North American Markball League; A Fictional Sport & A Fictional History: 1965 NAML Offseason

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1963 Urquhart Cup

Date: September 21, 1963

Location: Stade Centre-Ville, Montréal, PQ

Weather: 72°F (22°C), Passing Clouds, Strong Breeze

Attendance: 46,941

 

There was much anticipation heading into the NAML's 17th Championship game in Montreal, as two of the teams with the longest Cup droughts were preparing to take each other on and hopefully bring the cup back to their city. The strong winds weren't expected to cause much of a advantage for either team, since it was gusting perpendicular to the field. The Washington Warriors were looking to win for the first time since 1949, while the Michigan Bandits were looking for their first since 1952.

 

After the opening bounce, the Warriors wasted no time trying to get a good start, with a Jim Gardenar shot deflecting for a point only 25 seconds in. The Warriors would spend the next few minutes in control, but they couldn't get anything past the Bandits defense and goalie Rudy Nicholas. The Bandits would get a few chances as well, but there was still no scoring. Finally, 9 minutes after the early point, the 18-year old Gardenar continued to impress under the Urquhart Cup spotlight, this time slotting a perfect shot past Nicholas to make it 5-0 Warriors. Around 3 minutes later, Michigan would finally get on the board, getting two quick point from centre Amos Hunter and Hugh Westbrook. Over the next four minutes Each team had a great chance to score, but both goalies stood tall. With around 4 minutes left, the Warriors would get their lead back to a goal with another point. Soon after, a series of rushes by the Bandits would result in a penalty awarded to Louis Smythe. He buried the shot, tying the game. In the last two minutes of the quarter, the bandits would take the lead with a point, making it a 7-6 game after 21 minutes.

 

After 1: Michigan 7, Washington 6

 

In the second, the Warriors once again had the hot start, controlling the ball and getting chances for the first few minutes. Their work would eventually pay off when Cliff Jegou buried his first of the postseason past Nicholas, giving the Warriors the lead back. After holding off the ensuing rush, the Bandits would counter attack effectively, and got a point from Westbrook. Two minutes later, Westbrook would have the game's first offensive outbreak, first deflecting a corner for a goal to retake the lead, then only 16 seconds later, He unleashed a curling shot that Washington keeper Gerard Watro could do nothing about, giving the Bandits their first two-score lead of the game. A few minutes later, the two teams traded points, and a sure Westbrook goal was denied at the last second by Watro, and the Bandits settled for another point. This play appeared to shift the momentum in Washington's favour. On the ensuing rush, the ball would end up in the hands of David Cavanagh, who unleashed a bullet to bring Washington within 3. Washington won the ensuing jump-ball, but a bad pass by Gardenar and intercepted in a heads-up play by Dominic Abrams. Abrams would weave through the defense and beat Watro with a chip shot, making the score 22-15. There would be no more scoring in the quarter until the final minutes when Arnold Taylor kicked a point, and Lawrence Sanderson scored on a scramble inside the goal square, cutting the Michigan's lead to 2. The score would remain 22-20 until the end of the half.

 

At the Half: Michigan 22, Washington 20

 

Similar to the first two quarters, the Warriors once again controlled the ball to start the half. Despite having many chances to take the lead. Unfortunately for them, Nicholas was like a brick wall, and they couldn't get anything going. 4 minutes in, Abrams, who was having a great game on both ends of the field, scored his second of the game by redirecting a free kick. There would be a period of slow play, then the Bandits would get yet another point to make it 27-20. With 7 minutes to go in the game, the Warriors appeared to get a huge break when Gardenar was tackled high in the arc and awarded a penalty on what was nothing play. Unfortunately, his shot missed wide left, only getting a point when he could have got Washington within a goal. To put salt in the wound, Michigan would make the Warriors pay, getting another point from Hunter and a goal from wing Georges Gagnon, a Montreal native. In the last two minutes, Michigan continued ramping up the intensity, and once Hugh Westbrook scored his third of the afternoon, it was starting to become a blowout. If the Warriors wanted the Cup, they would have to outscore the Bandits by 16 points in the final quarter.

 

After 3: Michigan 36, Washington 21

 

Everyone expected the Warriors to come out flying and with a do or die attitude in the fourth, but ironically, they had a conservative approach to the final 21 minutes. Eventually they would get some chances, but they either missed the net completely or were easy saves for Nicholas. Eventually, halfway through the quarter, the Warriors would get a score from David Cavanagh, but it was only a point, and Washington needed at least 15 more to win. Washington won the bounce, but another bad turnover was the nail in the coffin, as Daniel Thorn, who was having a quiet game, got the ball and kicked a goal from outside the arc, making the score 40-22. Over the next few minutes, the Bandits increased their lead to a game-high 20 with two more points. As the clock winded down, the Bandits played keepaway. This annoyed the Warriors players, and Cavanagh wound up kicking Thorn in the leg and continued hitting him, drawing a furious response by several Michigan players. Soon enough, every player on the field was involved, and it was chaos. The two team's benches almost started fighting. but the umpires managed to get things under control. Since there wasn't much time left, the umpires made the incredibly controversial decision to not eject any players. Eventually, the clock ran out, and the Bandits ran onto the field to celebrate their 5th Urquhart Cup and first since 1952, when they coincidentally beat the Warriors.

 

Final Score: Michigan 42, Washington 22

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Final Bracket:

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The Urquhart Cup MVP Award was given to Dominic Abrams, who silenced several critics during the season and especially the Urquhart Cup game, by scoring twice and being dependent in the midfield. "It's tough being an athlete. If you have one bad year the press says you're worthless. So hopefully I've quieted everybody that has doubted me.

 

In the annual commisioner's post-game conference, Thomas Urquhart had several pieces of big news. First off, he had news about the growth of Markball worldwide. "I am very excited to announce that the NAML will be launching an semi-pro markball league in the great country of Australia. As a bonus, we will be hosting a Canada-USA exhibition series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to kick off the league's inaugural season." Urquhart told reporters that more information of the league would come during the offseason. Urquhart also announced that the league was once again looking at potential expansion, but that there were no guarantees of it happening.

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Sorry for the time between posting, I haven't had power for the past 3 days, and I've had to limit my time to other things. Hopefully I'll have the offseason post up quicker than this last one. As for the game, I wanted to see the Warriors win, but oh well. I'm confident that Washington can win at least one before the decade is over.

 

Any feedback on this series is appreciated!

 

 

 

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Texas & Florida for any late 60s expansion. Also, this blowout loss really shows how mediocre Washington would be if they hadn't conviently tanked in 1960 to get Gardenar ;)

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Washington didn't tank for Gardenar, Gardenar signed with the Warriors. There hasn't been any sort of Markball Draft yet, it's been mostly scouting and signing players more akin to Football

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1963 NAML Offseason

 

NAML launches semi-pro league in Australia

Two weeks after the Urquhart Cup, the NAML officially announced the launch of the Australian Markball League, the sport's first league outside of North America. The league would kick off it's inaugural season in 1965 with 8 teams, 3 of which were sponsored by VFL clubs. The Geelong Cats created a team of the same name, Carlton FC and the Washington Warriors came together to form the Carlton Warriors, and Melbourne sponsored the Blazers. The Chicago Crusaders also sponsored a team to play in Gold Coast, opting to name them the Crusaders. The AML's other 4 teams were chosen to play in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, and Ballarat. The AML unveiled their logo as well, which features the letters AML in a shield, with 8 stars forming a crown pattern on top, representing the 8 teams in the league.

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Urquhart reveals more information about expansion

Thomas Urquhart announced late in the offseason that despite saying there was no guarantee of expansion later in the decade, he was starting to get more on board with the idea. "A few months ago I wasn't to keen on expansion teams, but now after thinking about it, I am starting to be more on board with bringing new teams into this league. If it does happen, it will be near the end of this decade or the beginning of the next one."

 

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There were no trades or signings of note to happen this offseason, so that's why this post is a little shorter. I'm undecided about whether I should post the identities of the Australian teams next season, any input on that is appreciated! Also, if you have a suggestion for one of the Aussie teams' name's, I'm open to any ideas.

 

I'll most likely have the season post up this weekend, I'm sure it will be a great one again.

 

Any C&C is appreciated!

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Are you going to do a season review of the AML like the NAML? I like to see what cool team logos that the league uses too. 

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I'm a little surprised Brisbane and/or Adelaide were not selected, especially the fact Australian rules football is very popular in Adelaide. Perth is Australian rules football mad too, though distance to the other teams would be worrisome. It's interesting to have a Gold Coast team before a Brisbane team.

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I think the Ballarat team should go with Rebels, in reference to the Eureka Stockade (the Melbourne Rebels don't exist until 2011 in real life so that will be fine). The Sydney team should go with the Orcas, since lots of Sydney-based teams in real life use nicknames related to animals from the sea and water (e.g. Swans*, Sea Eagles, Sharks*, Eels). Newcastle should go with Miners due to its coal industry. The Wollongong team should go with Ironmen due to its steel and ironworks industry.

 

* - The Swans did not move to Sydney until 1982 and Cronulla was not formed until 1967.

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Ballarat Rebels
Wollongong Mariners (Reference to the heavy port activity and the numerous beaches)
Sydney Dingoes (Maybe via a group effort from the 'Hounds?)
Newcastle Miners

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Ballarat Rebals (fits perfectly) 

Wollongong Steelers (something to match the iron industry)

Sydney Sharks (animal based. Fits well with the city)

Newcastle Miners

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And if Adelaide and Perth got markball teams, SANFL and WAFL teams could sponsor them (since these two leagues were roughly on par with the VFL in the Australian rules football pyramid in 1965).

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13 hours ago, Matthew24 said:

Are you going to do a season review of the AML like the NAML? I like to see what cool team logos that the league uses too. 

I'll probably give a small review in the season notes, like saying who finished first and who won the championship over who.

 

9 hours ago, Goran The Man said:

I'm a little surprised Brisbane and/or Adelaide were not selected, especially the fact Australian rules football is very popular in Adelaide. Perth is Australian rules football mad too, though distance to the other teams would be worrisome. It's interesting to have a Gold Coast team before a Brisbane team.

The reason I didn't give Perth a team yet was exactly that reason. Maybe a while later the league can expand there. As for Adelaide, I'll probably give them a team one or two seasons in, because I honestly forgot how crazy about footy they are.

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I think it's gonna be really tough if we're monitoring all the markball leagues worldwide, especially since you've talked about the idea of there being a world cup, which I assume means a really popular game in many countries. It creates a lot more work for you, especially since you sim every game. I think it would be interesting to get periodic updates on events in the global game but really following it all is a lot to chew, so I'd be careful of biting it off.

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1 hour ago, Jack3Nimble said:

I think it's gonna be really tough if we're monitoring all the markball leagues worldwide, especially since you've talked about the idea of there being a world cup, which I assume means a really popular game in many countries. It creates a lot more work for you, especially since you sim every game. I think it would be interesting to get periodic updates on events in the global game but really following it all is a lot to chew, so I'd be careful of biting it off.

I'm definitely not doing a full update on every year of the AML, but since it's the first worldwide league, I'll post the inaugural logos and whatnot. I do admit that I was overthinking by doing this at the start, but don't want to fully write off the league for now. So I'll probably do as you suggested and do the occasional update. On another note, Thanks for writing this, I can get real invested in some things, and if I had done that here, I might have gone off track here and potentially ruin this whole thing.

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1964 NAML Season

The NAML announced prior to the season that from this season onward, the season would always start with two consecutive days of tripleheaders to get fans excited about the new year. The first day included Philly dominate the Crusaders 58-33, A 37-27 Toronto victory over Boston, and the Knights win 42-33 over the Dragons. The second day saw Montreal comfortably defeat Washington 36-22, Los Angeles light up St. Louis 48-31, and to cap it all off, a close 32-30 win for the Bandits against Minnesota.

 

The consensus on who would win the west was mixed during the pre-season, as most people thought any of Michigan, Milwaukee, Chicago, or Minnesota could challenge for the top spot. In the end, it would be the reigning champion Bandits who ended up on top, finishing at 14-7-1, 3 points clear of second place. Hugh Westbrook and Daniel Thorn were their usual selves up front, making their off-year defensively go almost unnoticed. Urquhart cup MVP Dominic Abrams also had his best year yet, and was given the reigns at midfield during the year. In second were the Chicago Crusaders, who were looking to get right back to the playoffs and challenge for the cup again. Despite below average seasons by the offensive core, the midfield and defense, particularly fullback Andrew Scott, were top-notch, helping Chicago win several close games. The Crusaders made a push for first near the end, but finished 3 points short of Michigan, ending the year with a 13-8-1 record. In third place for the second consecutive year were the Minnesota Walleye. While their season wasn't as great as in 1963, their team play, impressive possession statistics, and a phenomenal year by forward Clyde Stephens, who finished 5 goals off the league lead, helped them clinch the final spot with one week to go. Minnesota finished at .500, with an 11-11 record. Finishing fourth were the Milwaukee Dragons, who still couldn't manage to have to good seasons in a row. With Hugh Pettas injured at the start of the year, Milwaukee struggled, losing their opening 5 games. Despite playing above .500 for the rest of the year, the Dragons just couldn't get past Minnesota for that last playoff spot, and ended up finished 4 points out of a spot, with a 9-12-1 record. In fifth, but starting to improve, were the Los Angeles Guardians. LA's midfield was strong all year, but the lack of talent in the front and back hurt them, as there were some games where they just couldn't score or allowed too many points. One bright spot for the Guardians was Harry Antonu, whose speed was too much for opponents to handle. the Guardians finished with a 9-13-0 record. In last place for the second straight year were the St. Louis Gatekeepers, who were still looking for a new heart and soul player to lead the team out of the basement. Unfortunately, there didn't look to be any player ready to take that role. The lack of team spirit really showed during the year, as the 'Keepers only won 3 games all year, all of them at home. The final record for St. Louis was 3-18-1.

 

In the east, the Warriors were once again expected to take the first-round bye, but surprisingly, it was the Paulies who took home the extra break. Another super season up front by Nicolas Bartosh, paired with a near-flawless season in the midfield by Denis De Félix were huge for Montreal, especially during their 9-game winning streak near the end of the year. One overlooked aspect of the Paulies' success was their accuracy, a crazy 68% of their shots were goals, a league record.  Montreal finished at 17-5. In second were the Paulies' rivals, the Toronto Nationals. Despite predictions of them falling further and further down the standings every year, the Stallions stayed near the top for most of the year. James Jogi was starting to form great chemistry with Ciril Vlasic, leading to a lethal front line. A strong year in net by Andy Kappert also helped the Nats finish with a 13-7-2 record. Finishing with the final playoff spot was a bit of a surprise, the Philadelphia Falcons. With their big three of Jeremy Markson, Patrick Mackenzie, and Charles Jamison, the Falcons ended their 2-year playoff drought early in the year, and for a bit, they looked like they could catch the Paulies. Unfortunately, a late losing streak dropped them to third, finishing at 14-8-0. In fourth were the Washington Warriors, who had a disappointing year after high expectations. It seemed to be one of those years where luck was against them, as twice they missed kicks after time expired to win the games. Despite the bad luck, Jim Gardenar had his best year yet, scoring 32 goals and assisting many more. He won the Chester Harland award for the second straight year, becoming the youngest player to ever accomplish the feat at 20 years of age. The Warriors finished at 9-11-2, 11 points out of a playoff spot. In fifth were the Boston Wolfhounds, who also had another unfortunate season plagued with injuries. In week 4, leading goalscorer Howard Tremble injured his knee and was out for the rest of the year. six weeks later, Ridley Robinson also got injured for the rest of the year. Without their two best forwards, their offense couldn't play like they usually did, and they fell hard fast. Fortunately, the Hounds got things together and managed a 3-game winning streak near the end of the season, but it wasn't enough to leapfrog the Warriors as they finished 9-12-1. In last once again were the New York Knights. Sloppy play early on cost them and lost any sense of hope they had, with a 1-8-1 record through 10 games. The Knights were able to get some mojo back after, but it was yet another forgettable season for New York, as they finished at 6-15-1.

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The 1964 NAML Awards were given to:

Chester Harland Award (League MVP): Jim Gardenar, WF, WAS

Len Garey Memorial Trophy (Top Goalkicker)Nicolas Bartosh, FF, MTL (48 Goals)

Benjamin Legrand Award (Best Goalkeeper): Charles Jamison, PHI

 

Rivalry Cup Winners:

Colonial Trophy: Washington (Won both games against Philadelphia)

St. Laurent Cup: Montreal (Won both games against Toronto)

I-94 Series: Chicago (split series with Milwaukee, outscored them 81-78)

 

Notable Events:

  • The Dragons became the first team to have its team headquarters outside of their home stadium, moving their base 20 minutes south to South Milwaukee.
  • After a game between Chicago and Los Angeles, Chicago defender James Jensen struck Guardians coach Russell Arnold, leading to a short brawl. Jensen was suspended for the rest of the season for his actions.

Playoff Preview:

(W2) Chicago Crusaders vs (W3) Minnesota Walleye

Chicago definitely looks like the favourite coming in here, looking to avenge last year's heartbreaking finish against the team that knocked them out. Calvin Black will have to bring his team together if they want a chance to win this one. Expect quick play throughout, and some pushing and shoving when the tension increases.

Prediction: The Crusaders will move on to the semifinals with a tight 32-27 victory.

 

(E2) Toronto Nationals vs (E3) Philadelphia Falcons

With Toronto's time for a cup run coming to a close, the Nats will have to play with a do-or-die attitude if they want to advance. It won't be an easy task, since the Falcons are coming off their longest playoff drought in franchise history and aren't planning on missing the postseason anytime soon. This should be a great game to watch.

Prediction: The Nats will comfortably advance with a 45-19 victory.

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There's the 1964 season. No huge surprises, but I'm hoping the Nats can make it to the semifinals. Montreal and Toronto's rivalry is really starting to heat up, so a playoff game could get out of hand quickly. Washington's fall was unexpected, but I'm sure they'll be right back in the thick of things next year.

 

Any feedback on this series is appreciated!

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Is new york ever going to escape the basement?

Also, im going with Chicago over Minny and Philly over Toronto in round 1; then Michigan over Chicago and Philly over Montreal in round 2. Lastly, I've got Philly preventing Michigan repeat in the 1964 Urquhart Cup. 

Still rooting for the Walleye

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Yeah, is being cemented to a terrible record year after year affecting anything? Any chance of relocation and trying to completely forget the nightmare that are the Knights

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2 hours ago, BellaSpurs said:

Yeah, is being cemented to a terrible record year after year affecting anything? Any chance of relocation and trying to completely forget the nightmare that are the Knights

Even if the Knights went 0-22-0 for the next decade, and even if literally no one showed up for a knights home game (not even road fans); you can't leave New York without a team. Even back in the 1960s, you needed New York purely to convince TV networks to air your games. 

Also, I believe you meant KNIGHTMARE

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On 9/28/2018 at 12:04 PM, TargetToad said:

Is new york ever going to escape the basement?

 

On 9/28/2018 at 11:40 PM, BellaSpurs said:

Yeah, is being cemented to a terrible record year after year affecting anything? Any chance of relocation and trying to completely forget the nightmare that are the Knights

Even though the play on-field has been bad, the huge market and top-quality stadium have kept people going to the games. Attendance is decreasing though, but New York not having a team is blasphemous to any league. The only options I see for them right now are hoping that things get better, or a potential move to another borough to get a fresh start.

 

1964 NAML Playoffs

First Round

 

(W2) Chicago Crusaders vs (W3) Minnesota Walleye

Fans at Columbus Stadium were loud and proud as the Crusaders took the field after a one-year playoff absence. The first quarter started with a fast pace, but poor kicking from both sides saw 3 great scoring chances miss wide for points. Halfway through the frame, Bud Mahoney would score the game's icebreaker for the Crusaders, capitalizing on a shot that Julius Utimma should have stopped. Around two minutes later, Chris Garafalo would chip a shot over Chicago goalie Joe Register to give them the lead. However, Chicago would retake the lead with Mahoney kicking his second to make the score 9-6, and the score would stand for the rest of the quarter. The second quarter would have a flying start, first with Mahoney kicking his hat-trick goal less than a minute in, and Clyde Stephens responding for Minnesota on the ensuing rush. Minnesota continued pressing, and Garafalo was eventually able to punch one in to retake the lead for the Walleye, and they still weren't done. David Dyck, a usually defensive defenseman, would get in on the action and deflect another cross in himself to increase the lead to 5. Two minutes later, Andy Bonsaigh would score off a penalty, getting the score down to 1. Despite the hot start by both teams in the second quarter, there weren't any real scoring chances for the rest of the half, and the 18-17 Minnesota lead would stand at the half. In the third, the Crusaders controlled the ball to start off, and ended up getting a game-tying point out of it. Mahoney had a great chance to take the lead, but a reaction save by Utimma deflected off the crossbar and out of bounds. There would be no more real action until halfway through, when John Hoggard would get in on the scoring, giving Chicago a 22-18 lead. 5 minutes later, a Mahoney corner was deflected in, making the lead two goals. Michael Williams would get Minnesota back within a goal, but on the ensuing rush, the Crusaders kicked a point to make it a two-score game once again. In the final minute, Williams chipped one past Register to get the Walleye within 1 heading into the fourth. In the final period, the two teams would exchange points to start, and the Crusaders would get two great chances to potentially seal the game, but Utimma wasn't allowing anything past the two big posts, allowing points instead. Now in the final minute, the score was 30-27 for the Crusaders, but the Walleye had the ball and were pressuring. Garafalo had the ball and attempted to pass it to Stephens, but he was tied up and missed the ball. However, the pass landed right in the hands of Williams, who managed to beat Register, give the Walleye the lead, and silence Columbus Stadium with 12 seconds to play. Chicago wasn't able to get a final shot away, and the Minnesota Walleye won their first ever playoff game in just their fourth season, and were now heading on to play the first-place Michigan Bandits.

 

(E2) Toronto Nationals vs (E3) Philadelphia Falcons

At Canada's Field, the Nats faithful were hoping for a win so that Toronto could advance to a rivalry showdown that was sure to entertain, but first, they had to defeat the high-flying Falcons, looking to get right back to the Urquhart Cup. In the opening minutes, the Stallions scored two points, but the home fans wanted a goal. Fortunately for them, they would get it when a James Jogi shot deflected off a defender and in, increasing the lead to 6-0. About three minutes later, Patrick MacKenzie kicked a point for Philly, but that would be all the offense they could generate for the quarter. Late in the quarter, Jogi would score again to increase the lead to 11-1 heading into the first break. In the second, it would be a blistering start for the Nats, with Ciril Vlasic and Steven Wilson both scoring within the first couple of minutes. The Falcons got a great chance from Jeremy Markson to get their first goal, but he shot wide, missing a great opportunity to potentially change the game. Instead, the onslaught continued for Toronto. After two points, rookie rover Georges Covieu would kick a goal and point, then Vlasic kicked another goal. In the end, Toronto outscored the Falcons 21-1 in the quarter, and held an insane 32-2 lead heading into the third quarter. Before stepping onto the field for the third quarter, Captain MacKenzie would calm his team down and tell them to not get their heads down. Despite the Falcons allowing yet another goal, the talk seemed to work as they stormed right back upfield and Markson finished, and Philly had finally scored their first goal of the game. With something to drive them forward now, the Falcons managed to hold back the Nationals offense, and scored two more points over the course of 10 minutes, but they still had to do more if they wanted a chance at winning. Vlasic scored another to increase Toronto's lead to 36, but MacKenzie kicked a late point to make it 44-9 after 3. In the fourth, the Falcons still had that hope inside, and they scored two quick goals to cut the lead to 27, but the Nats took over again from that point on. Covieu scored his second soon after, and in the second part of the quarter, Vlasic got two points and Jogi kicked another goal for good measure. In the end, it was a destruction of the Falcons by Toronto as they soundly advanced to take on their archrival Montreal in the semifinals with a 54-17 dismantling of Philadelphia.

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Semifinals

(W1) Michigan Bandits vs (W3) Minnesota Walleye

Windy Park was buzzing with excitement prior to the semifinal, but nobody in the building was prepared for what they were about to see, one of the craziest games in markball history. Despite a good first rush by the Bandits, they weren't able to capitalize and Minnesota took over for the first 5 minutes, getting a goal from Chris Garafalo and two points for a solid 6-0 start away from home. Towards the halfway point of the quarter, Michigan started getting things together, with Hugh Westbrook scoring a goal and point to get Michigan within 1. After Clyde Stephens made it a two-score game again, The Bandits responded right back, with goals from Dominic Abrams and Daniel Thorn, giving the home team their first lead of the game. Gerry Blake scored to change the lead yet again, then to end the quarter, the two teams exchanged points. It was a crazy first quarter with a combined 29 points between the two teams, and a 15-14 lead for the Walleye. In the second, no scoring would happen until 4 minutes in, when the Bandits scored two points quick in succession, changing the lead once again. a couple minutes later, Thorn kicked his second and added another point soon after, giving the Bandits their largest lead of the game. The two teams exchanged points once again, then the Walleye started playing their best markball of the quarter. They managed to get a goal and point from Stephens, and in the dying minutes, Garafalo kicked a point to tie the game up at halftime. In the third, Michigan got the offense going early, with Hugh Westbrook kicking two goals in two minutes. Stephens would get one back, but Westbrook and Thorn scored two more quick ones, making it 38-26. After the teams exchanged points yet again, it was the Walleye's turn to break out offensively, with Blake and Stephens each scoring to get back to within a goal of Michigan. All of this occured within the first 10 minutes of the quarter, which was a league record, and they weren't even close to done. Abrams and Westbrook each scored via penalties, then the Walleye closed out the quarter with a goal and two points. The score after 3 was 47-41, meaning the two teams had scored a combined 44(!) points in the quarter, smashing the old record for combined points in a quarter. The 10 combined goal was also a record, beating the previous record of 8. In the fourth, the offense amazingly continued, starting on the first rush when Thorn punched in a cross to get the Bandits over 50 points. After a Michigan point, Stephens kicked one bardown to get within 7. Hoping to spark his team to comeback, it actually had the opposite effect, as Michigan scored a goal two minutes later. Minnesota tried to get one back, but Rudy Nicolas was a different player in the fourth, only allowing one more point until the game ended. Michigan finished the game with 3 straight goals from Westbrook, Thorn, and James McNamara. In the end, it was one of the highest-scoring games in league history, a 68-46 victory by the Bandits that gave them a chance to win another Urquhart Cup.

 

(E1) Montreal Évêques vs (E2) Toronto Nationals

After news of the first semifinal came to Montreal, several thousand more people packed into Stade Centre-Ville to see if the other semifinal game could be like it. The game started off quickly, with both teams missing great chances at goal and instead getting points within the first 3 minutes. After another missed chance that should have been a goal, Ciril Vlasic would capitalize, making the score 6-1 for Toronto. The Paulies would roar back, getting a laser goal from Nicolas Bartosh and two points to take the lead back. Unfortunately for the Paulies, Bartosh would go down with a calf injury after an awkward collision, and missed the rest of the game. Toronto dominated the second half of the quarter, getting two goals from Jogi and Covieu to take a commanding 14-7 lead into the second quarter. In the second, the Paulies got an early goal from Denis De Félix and appeared to be gaining momentum, but goalkeeper Marcel Marille accidentally wiped it all away after letting in a fluke goal from Vlasic. there would be no more scoring until the last 5 minutes, when the two teans exchanged points. In the last minute and a half, Jogi would put the Stallions up by 11, but thanks to the rallying of the Paulies supporters, Montreal managed to kick a last-second goal to cut the lead to 7 going into the break. In the third, There would be little scoring and lots of dead play. Toronto would open the scoring with a point three minutes in, and Jogi got another goal 2 minutes later, making the score 28-16. With the crowd trying to cheer on the team again, Jon Carlton would score for Montreal, and with the 50,000+ strong starting to get loud, the Nats knew they needed to do something before Montreal capitalized. Fortunately for them, they did, with Covieu, playing in his hometown for Toronto, got the Stallions back up by 12. The score would hold, and after 3, Toronto led 32-20. On the first rush of the fourth quarter, De Félix scored again, and the crowd was doing everything they could to cheer on their idols. Despite the great atmosphere, the Paulies still couldn't capitalize, and the stadium quieted when Nigel McKenzie kicked his first postseason goal for Toronto 7 minutes in. For the rest of the quarter, the Paulies, like their supporters, tried to do all they could to get a goal or something to motivate them, but Andy Kappert, who was quietly having a great game, wasn't allowing anything. The Nationals kicked 2 late points, and that would be the ball game. As the Montreal faithful gave their troops a standing ovation for their performance, the Nationals were celebrating on the field, as they were heading to their 3rd Urquhart Cup in 5 years, and another chance to win their first since 1950 and break House's curse.

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Urquhart Cup Preview:

This year's contest will be held at Canada's Field in Toronto, meaning for the first time since the inaugural championship in 1947, the host team will be playing in the game. The only other time this has happened, the Warriors ended up defeating the Falcons with the help of their fans. The league announced that next year's game will be held at Milwaukee's Arnold Shannon Stadium, hosting for the first time since 1953.

 

Toronto Michigan, at Toronto, ON

Previous Playoff Game: 1957 First Round

Result: Michigan 42-34 Toronto

Just like every year, we've got a great matchup here. The Bandits look to become the first team to win back-to-back cups on multiple occasions, while on the other end, the Toronto Nationals will once again try to break House's curse and show that it doesn't exist. The Nats will have a huge boost playing playing at home, the Warriors showed in 1947 just how vital they are to a team's performance, and this should be no different. If the fans are loud, expect the curse to be broken.

Prediction: The Bandits will just squeeze by the Nats and their fans to win their 5th cup, winning 33-30.

 

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Well this was a crazy postseason. Hopefully the Urquhart Cup will be just as exciting, and maybe the Nats will be able to score double-digits this time:P

 

I personally think that the Bandits will get it done again, but I won't be counting Toronto out of it just yet.

 

As always, any C&C on this series in appreciated!

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How has Toronto not choked yet? Also, offense central over in the western conference final.  I'm predicting a Michigan repeat.

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