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.