Rocky Mountains Division

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rocky Mountain Roundup 2012-13: Volume II

Week two of the PASL Rocky Mountain Division season opened with the top two teams in the standings battling it out in a late Friday night tilt in Colorado Springs.  Over 200 fans witnessed an impressive victory by the home club Colorado Blizzard, in their first match-up against FC Denver.  After impressive wins by both clubs in week one, the Blizzard would show the new guys on the block why they are still the team to beat in the division.  The Blizzard jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, and would never trail, leading 3-1 after one quarter.  However, FC Denver would settle down and keep things even in the second quarter, going into the half down 5-3.  A physical third quarter would see two power play goals and two penalty kills by the Blizzard, which would ensure their victory.  The Blizzard led 8-3 after the third, and cruised to a 10-4 win. 

The match was a very physical one with 7 total penalties, 5 of them for 6 team fouls.   Eric Goldberg and Odobong Obettete led the Blizzard attack with 2 goals and 2 assists apiece.  Jesse Black also had 2 goals and 1 assist.  Justin Dzuba had 42 saves, while FC Denver starting goaltender Wally Fink left with an injury in the final 10 minutes.  Raul Elias led FC Denver with 3 goals.  

On Saturday night, the Blizzard would play their second match in less than 24 hours, as they traveled north to play the Denver Dynamite in front of 350 fans at the APEX Field House in Arvada.  The Dynamite came out determined to show that they are still a contender in this Division, and they did just that.  The Dynamite played hard out of the gates, leading the 2 and 0 Blizzard by a score of 1-0 after the first.  The Blizzard would fire back and dominate the second quarter to take a 4-1 lead at the half.   In a defensive, hard fought third quarter, Tony Avery would score a breakaway goal right after a Dynamite penalty kill to cut the lead to 4-2.  Early in the fourth the Dynamite, refusing to give up, scored a shorthanded goal to pull within one.  With 4 minutes remaining Michael Archuleta was given a red card, and the Dynamite were awarded a 5 minute penalty.  After peppering the net for 3 minutes and eventually bringing in the 6th attacker, Travis Carey scored with 58 seconds remaining for the Dynamite to cap a very entertaining 4-4 draw. 

Tony Avery led the Dynamite with 7 shots and 2 goals, while Mike Ogletree picked up a shorthanded goal and one assist.  Jesus Ramirez led the Blizzard with 4 shots and 2 goals.   Justin Dzuba had 23 saves to help preserve at least a tie for the Blizzard.   Garrison Goodner also turned in a clutch performance in goal for the Dynamite with 25 saves. 

Justin Dzuba earned Defensive Player of the Week, as he continues to be the rock in goal for the Blizzard, with 65 saves over two games, and a consistent 4.0 Goals Against Average.  In a close call for Offensive Player of the Week, the nod goes to Dynamite Forward Tony Avery who played a key role in earning the upset tie for the Dynamite against the Blizzard, with 2 goals.    The Division Office has also announced that Michael Archuleta will receive a one game suspension, to be served during the Blizzard’s next match, Saturday January 12th when they host the Dynamite.   

After 2 weeks, the Colorado Blizzard sit atop the Division with 7 points (2-0-1), and will remain that way going into the holiday break.  FC Denver is in second with 3 points (1-1). Like the Blizzard, they will not play again until 2013.  In what is turning out to be a very important game next Saturday at 8pm in Monument, the third place Denver Dynamite (0-1-1, 1 point) will travel south to face the CSC Cavalry (0-1, 0 points) in a rematch of the US Arena Open Cup Qualifying match, three weeks previous.  In an 8 game season with no playoffs, the loser of this match will have the tough task of playing catch up if they want to make Nationals.  The Cavalry will have no holiday break, as they are also getting ready for a trip to Las Vegas on Friday the 28th, when they will play the professional Las Vegas Legends in the US Arena Open Cup Round of 16. 

Rocky Mountain Roundup 2012-13: Volume I

              The 2012-13 Rocky Mountain Division season is underway with 4 teams strong, albeit half of them new.  The former Pikes Peak Cavalry have returned as the CSC (Colorado Sports Center) Cavalry; and the brand new FC Denver, who have fielded competitive amateur outdoor teams, make their indoor debut.   The Cavalry and FC Denver replace the Edwards Freedom and longtime Division member, the Fort Collins Fury.  The top two clubs from last season return with the bulk of their rosters intact, including the defending champion Colorado Blizzard, and runners-up/former PASL-Pro club Denver Dynamite.  

               A week before the regular season started, the Denver Dynamite traveled to Monument for a US Arena Open Cup Regional Qualifier.  The opponent would be the CSC Cavalry, who were playing their first match since the 2010 Summer season.  The players on the field were no strangers, especially considering the many former Dynamite players on the Cavalry roster, including player/coach Pete Randall, Poncho Puente, and Beto Hernandez.   The Cavalry would be quick out of the gates with a 5-2 halftime lead and a 9-3 lead after the 3rd quarter.  The Dynamite would get their offense going in the 4th, but the Cavalry still prevailed in impressive fashion, 12-7.  Thanks to superb Goaltending by Miguel Reyes, the Cavalry won by a margin of 5 goals, despite being out shot 54-29.   The Cavalry will represent the Rocky Mountain Division in the US Arena Open Cup round of 16, getting a shot at the pro level.  The Cavalry will travel to Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday December 28th at 7pm (Pacific Time).  They will take on the PASL Southwest Division leading Las Vegas Legends, who currently have a record of 5-1.   

                Two inner city rivalries kicked off regular season Week 1, one new and one renewed.   On Friday night the Dynamite took on FC Denver.  After an even first quarter, FC Denver broke through in the 2nd Quarter,  taking a 5-2 halftime lead.   The Green machine would never look back on the way to their first PASL win, 9-4.   The scoring was spread around in this match, as FC Denver’s Joel Miller was the only multiple goal scorer with 2.  FC Denver had a vocal cheering squad, and looks to be a good addition to the league, on and off the field.   

                The Colorado Springs rivalry was resurrected Saturday night, as the Colorado Blizzard began the defense of their Divisional Title against the region’s Arena Open Cup representative, the CSC Cavalry.   A standing room only crowd at the Colorado Springs Sports Center witnessed an offensive flurry of goals as the Blizzard won 14-4.  In typical Blizzard fashion, the scoring was shared by 9 players.   Jesse Black led with 3 goals and 3 assists, Eric Goldberg had 2 goals and 2 assists, and Kelly Robinson had 2 goals and 1 assist.  Justin Dzuba turned in another solid performance in goal with 26 saves.  

                Starting this season, the Rocky Mountain Division Office will be announcing Defensive and Offensive players of the week.   When determining players of the week,  game MVP's, statistics, and intangibles like game changing plays will be taken into account.  In Week 1, Colorado Blizzard Forward Jesse Black earned offensive player of the week, hitting for the cycle with 3 goals and 3 assists.  In a tight race for defensive player of the week, the nod goes to FC Denver Goaltender Wally Fink, who tallied 26 saves, a 90% save percentage, and only 3 goals against.    

                After one week of play the Colorado Blizzard and FC Denver are tied for first at 1-0, while the Denver Dynamite and CSC Cavalry are 0-1.  Week 2 will see FC Denver take on the Colorado Blizzard in a clash of league leaders, in a late night affair at the Colorado Springs Sports Center, Friday at 10:00pm.   On Saturday, the Blizzard will play their second game of the weekend, traveling north to face the Dynamite in their home opener at the APEX Field House, at 8:30pm.    The CSC Cavalry have the weekend off.