Franchise Power Rankings: Orange

This looks like the beginning of an episode of Ozark

The orange franchise is perhaps the most enigmatic in the league, with only five seasons under their belt as they weren’t around for the inaugural Summer 2018 season and were cut from the Spring 2021 covid shortened return to play. Those five seasons have been led by three different captains in Jeff, Lee and Russo; two mild-mannered dudes who love craft beer plus one who doesn’t drink but loves to scream (usually after goals, sometimes after missing the net). It’s been a long and winding road but with Russo entering year two with a full season under his belt and a newly minted co-captain and rebrand, he’ll look to build on an encouraging first year and hope to lead the orange franchise to their first playoff victory in three and a half years.

5) Chosen 1s (Spring 2019)
Regular Season Record: 1-1-0-7 record (8th of 8)
Goal Differential: -18 (8th of 8)
Playoff Finish: Eliminated immediately

Notes: This team was an insult to Jewish people everywhere, not in their name but certainly in their overall performance. Say what you will about the team moniker but the Chosen 1s were anything but stingy when it came to giving up goals, allowing a league high against while also scoring a league low. Jeff put up 7 goals in 8 regular season games plus a hat trick in their lone playoff match but it wasn’t enough to save this moribund squad and unfortunately the playoff buzzer beater loss to Cup Size ended up being his D5 swan song. He deserved better but in the words of Clint Eastwood, deserves got nothing to do with it.

4) Stud Puffins (Summer 2019)
Regular Season Record: 3-1-0-5 record (5th of 8)
Goal Differential: -7 (5th of 8)
Playoff Finish: Eliminated immediately

Notes: A decent collection of talent in Lee’s first season as captain, with SBJ, Fleming and Marcella leading the scoring while the Tim Tandem held it down in net. After early season wins against the Monsters and the Tigers (the latter of which featured terrible camerawork by Becca which included a 30 second shot of Jenn’s breast), they floundered around the middle of the standings for much of the season before finally landing in 5th place and facing those same last place Tigers in the playoffs, losing a tight 3-2 game that McQuade missed due to either work or sex commitments. Not their best season but a decent debut by Lee and not nearly as painful as the playoff collapse that clocked in at #2 (spoiler alert).

He’s so ripped

3) Orange Royals (Summer/Fall 2021)
Regular Season Record: 5-1-1-8 record (7th of 8)
Goal Differential: -13 (6th of 8)
Playoff Finish: Eliminated immediately

Notes: The Royals may have finished 7th but for most games they played much better than their record would indicate, with victories over every team except the two that would make it to the championship, including major upset regulation victories over the Hooligans and Barrel. Did Zisser’s goaltending play a massive role in those wins? Absolutely, but that’s also what you expect when you use a 1st rounder on a goalie. The team gelled nicely post-trade, 4th & 5th round picks Gavin and Otis had strong rookie seasons and Wagner had a career year in scoring 8 goals in 11 games. While they may have finished lower than the Summer ’19 Puffins in standings position, they actually had a very similar points per game (1.2 vs 1.22) and the goal differential was skewed by a few blowout losses in the season with the least parity we’ve ever had. Head-to-head, I think the Royals would’ve taken them down which lands them at the 3 spot on this list.

2) Stud Puffins (Fall 2019)
Regular Season Record: 4-0-1-4 record (5th of 8)
Goal Differential: 4 (4th of 8)
Playoff Finish: Eliminated immediately

Notes: This team was one of the preseason favorites to win it all with a seemingly stacked roster that included Derek, Meg, Sena, Creed, Neil and the Tim Tandem coming back for their second go-around in orange (plus Russo playing for the team he would later captain). Sadly, the demands of Derek’s work schedule kind of sunk this team as they weren’t able to secure a top four seed and thus had no choice but to face last place purple in the opening round…more info on how that went tomorrow. In the meantime though, they treated us to some sweet goals by Meg that still make Andrea angry to this day and a 9 goal outburst for the ages, the first 3 of which were against possibly the worst goalie in D5 history, Austin King. That game also featured Jack playing a very unique brand of defense but once again, purple’s many struggles are a story for another day (that day probably being tomorrow).

It will not surprise you to learn that Luke scored pretty much immediately

1) Ball That (Fall 2018)
Regular Season Record: 3-0-1-5 record (5th of 8)
Goal Differential: -2 (4th of 8)
Playoff Finish: Eliminated in final four

Notes: The first orange team was also easily the franchise’s most successful. Led by the trio of Jeff, Miles and Will Green up front and with rookie Cutler on defense, this team was pretty much unanimously proclaimed to be the favorites by league members, pundits and the sportsbook. Once the season started, however, it became clear that the season would be a battle as a few questionable draft picks and a gruesome midseason injury to Pete D’Angelo left them with a middling 5th place finish. Jeff won the scoring title in his rookie season with 12 goals and 5 assists in just 7 games, narrowly edging Luke who had 9 goals and 7 assists in 6 games. But he was out for the first round of the playoffs and orange was a decided underdog against both green (somehow in last place despite featuring both Derek and Probert) and especially against a Cheetahs team featuring Gabe, Olivier and Sena. And yet, they dispatched the Warriors and then picked up what is easily the biggest victory in franchise history, a 5-4 OT win against the Cheetahs that featured a highlight reel stick save by the goalie they should have drafted, Zisser, followed by an immediate goal on the other end by rookie Brett Cantor. Yes, the goal was soft and yes, the follow through was way over Brett’s head but it was an incredible win by a shorthanded team in their biggest game of the season. They would be taken out the following week by the eventual champion Cleveland Browns but the memory of this moment lives on in the league’s hearts and in Russo’s wet dreams. This team was a legit championship contender, the only orange team to win a playoff game (let alone two), and the model of almost-excellence that Russo and Jess will look to emulate as they lead orange into 2022.

Leave a Reply