Photo by Scott Houghtaling – Ultiphotos.com
The Vancouver Nighthawks (0-3) have shifted their roster a bit in anticipation of their Week 4 doubleheader against Portland (4-0) and Seattle (1-2).
As the Nighthawks prepare for their Week 4 doubleheader, Head Coach Patrick Gatien has made a few changes to the roster.
The most notable move, however, is Gatien putting on a red jersey and picking up the plastic himself. Transitioning to the role of player-coach, Gatien could bring some much needed depth to the Nighthawks as a primary disc handler.
The Nighthawks, with some new additions to their roster, will also be missing a few significant players. David Whitney-Brown, Victor Cheng, and Jordan Zhao are all inactive for this weekend for Vancouver.
Without Sascha Lo, who was inactive for Week 3, the Nighthawks really struggled to move the disc on offense. Lo, who is set to return for this weekend’s doubleheader, will look to build upon his strong Week 2 performance and continue building a rapport on offense with veterans like Erik Hunter, Taylor Nadon, as well as promising rookie Ty Barbieri.
Lo has three goals and an assist this season, has completed 95.5 percent of his passes, and is averaging 1.367 TPOP. His return to action this week is key for a team that is converting on just 37.0 percent of offensive points.
Vancouver Nighthawks vs. Portland Stags, Saturday, 6PM ET
A Saturday matchup against the 4-0 Portland Stags brings another challenge for the Nighthawks to convert on their offensive points. The Stags lead the league with 62 breaks this season and take care of business on offense, scoring nearly 70 percent of the time they receive the disc.
For the Stags, Aaron Adamson, who threw a greatest for a score in Week 2, is inactive which could throw a bit of a wrinkle into what Portland will do on offense.
Playing at home, the Nighthawks will turn to a crowd at Thunderbird for some energy and inspiration against the Stags.
Vancouver Nighthawks at Seattle Rainmakers, Sunday, 4:00PM PT
With a full slate of ultimate this weekend, Vancouver will hit the road and travel to Seattle for Sunday’s matchup against Seattle. After playing the Rainmakers in Week 3, the Nighthawks will look to correct some of their mistakes from last week’s loss and use the return of a handful of players who were inactive last week to give the Rainmakers some new looks on both sides of the disc.
The Nighthawks do catch a break once again with Khalif El-Salaam being inactive for the game. One of the league’s true superstars, El-Salaam’s absence gives the Nighthawks one less player to have to gameplan for. Cam Bailey has stepped up in the absence of El-Salaam and has been a stat sheet stuffer for the Rainmakers the last two weeks after missing Week 1.
Unlike Saturday’s game against the Stags, Seattle has not been a team getting breaks in 2016. With just 28 breaks this season, compared to the Nighthawks 32, the challenge against Seattle is stopping their offense.
The Rainmakers have a +/- of zero this season, 57 points for and 57 points against. If the Nighthawks can concentrate on playing a strong defensive game, they have a real chance to be playing in a close game in the fourth quarter.
The combination of having a full roster with players to handle the disc and the Rainmakers inability to cause breaks, the Nighthawks have their most favorable matchup since Week 1 against San Francisco.
Opening pull against the Rainmakers is set for 4:00 p.m. PT. The game will be streamed on MLU Live.