Story Submitted by Jesse Greenberg
Photos Courtesy of "the Google drive"
General Strike came into the Canadian Ultimate Championships off of quality USAU tournament appearances in Iowa and Columbus where the team places first and fourth respectively. Having only faced Canadian powerhouse GOAT in Columbus, the team entered nationals with little idea of what other Canadian competition lay ahead.
As the third seed coming in, General Strike’s pool games included 11th seeded Whiskeyjacks (Calgary), 13th seeded Magma (Montreal), and 5th seeded Quake (Quebec City). First up on opening day was Whiskeyjacks. Under good playing conditions, General Strike flexed its muscles early, breaking six consecutive times to begin the game and took half with an 8-1 lead. The defence kept rolling into the second half, only allowing one more point to the Albertans for a final of 15-2.
The second game of a back-to-back was against Magma, and the break train continued with another hot 6-0 start. As with Whiskeyjacks, the game ended at a score of 15-2, setting up a clash with Quake for the top spot in pool C.
The Frenchmen from Quebec provided General Strike with its first taste of stiff competition. After trading points to start the game, Strike finally found its first break midway through the first half, and took the lead into the break at 8-7. A break coming out of half was enough to turn the tide of the game solidly in Strike’s favour, who finished out with a score of 15-10, earning them first place in the pool standings going into Friday’s power pool games.
First up was 7th seeded Alberta Flatball Club (Edmonton), the home town team and last year’s finalists. After trading points to start the game, Strike put its game plan into full force, breaking early and keeping AFC’s offence on the field for most of the first half. Coming out on offence to begin the second half, General Strike scored early and often, closing out the game with six consecutive breaks to take the game 15-4, and ensuring the team a spot in the championship bracket.
Unbelievably, the weather turned worse in the afternoon, with wind speeds picking up, rain clouds rolling in, and temperatures dropping for Strike’s feature matchup with 1st seeded Furious George (BC). Despite trading points to start the game, it was clear from early on that Furious better adapted to the windy conditions, repeatedly pulling down hucks, which allowed them to pull ahead 8-2 going into halftime. Strike was not able to turn the game around in the second half with a tired offence struggling with the wind, Furious’ poachy defence, and the exit of big man cutter Ethan Duncan with a concussion. A Furious George Callahan late in the game sealed the deal as the boys from BC took the game 14-6 and with it first spot in the power pool.
In Saturday’s quarter final, General Strike came up against another BC opponent in Blackfish. Two early breaks scored by Strike’s Alan Scarth assisted by his Wind Chill teammate Quinn Snider gave Strike’s offence the confidence it needed to find its rhythm once again, and were able to continue to roll, not allowing a break for the remainder of the game, and giving General Strike a 15-10 win and berth in the semifinals.
A long awaited rematch with GOAT (Toronto) did not go as Strike had hoped, as GOAT executed its game plan perfectly, starting the game with five breaks, and leaving Strike’s offence mystified. After taking half 8-2, GOAT refused to take their foot off the gas, winning 15-6 and relegating Winnipeg’s team to the third place game.
Though the crowd heavily favoured home side AFC, the rematch of the earlier power pool play once again went the way of Winnipeg’s General Strike. Strike showed early that it was capable of beating the Edmonton team in calm conditions as well. Winnipeg’s defence once again proved formidable, earning several early breaks including one off of a massive layout D by Caleb Snider. His brother and U-24 Team Canada teammate had himself a monster game, leading the team with four goals as a D-line cutter. Strike maintained control throughout the game and finished on a three point run to take third with a decisive 15-8 win.
Strike picked up its bronze medals following a very entertaining open championship game on Sunday morning. Satisfied with its podium finish at Canadian Nationals, Strike now sets its sights on qualifying for US Nationals through sectional and regional qualifiers in September.