Rocky Mountains Division

Monday, March 18, 2013

What’s in a Name? Blizzard Claim National Runners-Up

 Despite the irony in the name, which grounded the Colorado Blizzard at the Denver International Airport for over 9 hours before getting cleared on a flight that put them in San Diego around 10:45PM local time, it was just the first hurdle the team would pass on their way to the Premier Arena League’s National Finals Championship Match.


Day 1 - As the team prepared for their first game of the 2012-2013 National Finals there was certain intensity yet calm amongst the players while they were putting on their uniforms and getting ready to take the field at a run at the National Championship. Many players were anxiously watching the game that was going on before in anticipation of taking the field for the first time at Nationals.  For others, after taking an early exit last year, it was looking forward to making a statement that they were back and ready to take care of business.


After a brisk warm up, team prayer, and the determination to prove to everyone that they belong here; the Blizzard began their onslaught of the goals by defeating OTW Santa Clara 7-3. After a comfortable win in the first game the focus was turned toward the Premier’s number one team (undefeated at 8-0) the San Diego Sockers Premier. Last year the Blizzard had the #1 seed at 8-0 going into Nationals with a target on their back.  But, this year they were focus was on San Diego.  After a hard fought battle the Blizzard came up big with 2-1 result securing them a #1 or #2 seed going into the championship rounds.


Coach Wells " wow what a day, the players are playing well right now and are extremely focused on what we are here to do, they are working well as a collective and working hard for each other and it is showing in our play, 9 goals in 2 games at Nationals is a great way to start the tournament. Beating San Diego was a huge boost in our confidence going into the championship rounds tomorrow, we are definitely focused and ready to make a run at the title. "
 
Day 2 - The Blizzard, having clinched the #2 seed for the quarter finals, faced the same Santa Clara team they played in the first round with the same 7-3 result.   


In semi final match against the Blizzard would face another unbeaten squad in the form of the Northwestern Division’s South Sound FC. But Colorado was in rare form this game and were connecting on all cylinders commanding the game from the start by putting in 6 goals to complement goal keeper Justin Dzuba’s shutout.


Having first beaten a Blizzard from Colorado, taking down two undefeated teams in San Diego and South Sound, the Colorado Blizzard in deed looked unbeatable heading into the 2 hour break before the National Championship title game.  But Bladium Rosal, had other plans, and kept the Blizzard down leading 2-1 going into the final two and a half minutes of play before cashing in two quick goals on Colorado’s sixth attacker to drive the with out of their storm.


Coach Wells - "Congratulations to the Bladium Rosal, what an interesting match. We have never faced an opponent that packed it in defensively nor a team that plays a 3-2 zone defense in Indoor soccer before, it took us almost the entire 1st quarter to figure out how to attack this type of defense and by the time we sorted things out they had gotten two counter attacks and scored 2 goals before we knew it, at halftime we made some adjustments which led to Yves pulling one back to make the score 2-1 and we kept our intensity up and managed to hit the post 5 times but could not find the net. I'm a bit shocked at the amount of slide tackling the refs were allowing since the PASL has a rule against sliding especially since the result of several illegal slide tackles directly resulted in balls not going in the back of the net, after scoring 22 goals in 4 games you would have thought we would have found the net more in this game. Bad Luck, strong defensive play by Rosal and us having to go to a 6th attacker in the last 2:35 of the game saw the outcome of 4-1. I really proud of the players for setting a goal of getting back to Nationals and getting it done, and also for their strong showing this year and their strong play as a team, they are a very tight group of players and they played extremely well. Winning the title would have been nice, but being a National Finalist is a good accomplishment as well. Great job and congratulations to my players and to the PASL for putting on a great National Finals weekend. Looking forward to returning next season and making another run at the title."


Friday, February 15, 2013

Rocky Mountain Roundup 2012-13, Volume VIII

For a second consecutive year, the RMD Championship would be decided on the final match of the season as the Colorado Blizzard traveled to face the Denver Dynamite.  Only this year the Dynamite were reduced to potential spoilers, as the Colorado Blizzard needed a win or tie to vault past FC Denver for another RMD title.

Initially it looked as if the Dynamite would be a huge roadblock to the Blizzard's repeat championship aspirations, despite their disappointing elimination from the championship race at the hands of FC Denver.  The Dynamite had played their best matches of the season against the Blizzard, earning a hard fought tie and a win.  The Dynamite were also courting the services of former star Chris Handsor for the end of the season.   These plans would not pan out as Handsor could not make the trip due to flight issues.  Add Injuries to Chad Pearson and Josh Elbaum in the last two games, plus the loss of Sean Stedeford, Roby Monroe, and Mark Cromie for the final match; and the once hopeful Dynamite were facing a monumental task.  Meanwhile, the defending champs lay in wait knowing this match was a must win, even if they didn't know exactly who from the Dynamite they would be facing until kickoff.  

The Blizzard wasted little time in the first quarter, scoring 3 goals and never looking back.  Eric Goldberg factored in each, with 1 goal and 2 assists.  Yves Chinje and Jesse Black were the other goal scorers.  As with their previous match, the Dynamite had the better of the play in the second quarter, out-shooting the Blizzard.  Unfortunately for the Dynamite they could not get anything past Blizzard Goalkeeper Justin Dzuba, who showed yet again why he is one of the top keepers in the PASL-Premier. 

You can't keep the Blizzard offense at bay for long, and in the third quarter the depleted Dynamite defense fell victim.   Obodong Obettete, Kelly Robinson, Ryan Creager, Brian Contreras, and Jesse Black would all find the goal in a dominating quarter for the Blizzard, who led 8-0 with 15 minutes remaining in the match.   Early in the fourth the Blizzard picked up where they left off in the third, as Kelly Robinson and Brian Contreras would each score for the second time.   With 4:26 remaining Contreras would find Jesse Black to round out the Blizzard scoring at 11, earning Black the Hat Trick.  With 3:13 remaining, Tony Avery would score for the Dynamite to deny Justin Dzuba the shutout.  In undisputed fashion the Blizzard won the match 11-1, as well as the 2012-13 Rocky Mountain Division Title. 

Coach John Wells had this to say after the Blizzard earned yet another Championship:  "Wow, what an up and down season this year was. The players were a little frustrated with a few of our games this season but they all came focused and with one thing in mind on Saturday night. We had to come to the Apex last year as well the last game of the season to clinch the Rocky Mountain Division in a two game in one night scenario, so this was not a new thing for us. Same arena, Same team, and needed the same result to get back to Nationals for another shot at the PASL-Premier Title. The Dynamite are always a very strong opponent and I in no way thought we would come out of it with the result we did, the ball just happen to be bouncing our way on Saturday night and our back line was solid not to mention Dzuba playing possibly his best game of the season. We always enjoy our matches against the Dynamite, not only are all the players and coaches fierce competitors but also friends off the field, which makes this rivalry even more exciting to watch and be a part of. I am proud of the team for finishing the season on a strong performance and I hope we can carry this momentum into Nationals in March and represent the RMD as the Champions."

The Blizzard finish the regular season with 5 wins, 1 loss and 2 ties (17 points).  FC Denver closes out an impressive inaugural season as runners-up, with a record of 5-3 (15 points).  The Denver Dynamite finished a competitive third, although they struggled down the stretch for a final mark of 3 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie (10 points).  The CSC Cavalry struggled most of the season to finish with 1 win, 6 losses and 1 tie (4 points).  However the scrappy Cavalry showed signs of life late in the season in what proved to be a very tough Division. 

The RMD players of the week both went to repeat performers for the Blizzard.  The Offensive player of the week goes to Jesse Black, who led the Blizzard attack with 3 goals.  The Defensive player of the week goes to Goalkeeper Justin Dzuba, who earned 29 saves and had only one goal against, as well as a 97% save percentage.   The RMD Office wishes the Blizzard the best of luck as they take another crack at Nationals - we are all pulling for you!  There is one last match to be settled in the RMD before the Blizzard travel to San Diego March 9-10.  For the first time, a PASL-Premier Division is holding it's own All-Star Game.  This historic event will take place on Sunday March 3rd at 6pm, at the APEX Field House in Arvada.  Chosen by the fans, a Northern All-Star team consisting of players from the two Denver clubs will host a Southern All-Star team consisting of players from the two Colorado Springs clubs.  FC Denver coach Jason La Mere will lead the North, and Blizzard coach John Wells will head up the South squad.  The full All-Star rosters are listed on this site.  Tickets are $5.  




Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rocky Mountains Division 2012-13 All Star Selection

The RMD All-Star Game is an exhibition arena soccer game that will be played at 6:00pm on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at the Apex Field House in Arvada, CO, which is also the home of the Denver Dynamite. This game will be the 1st edition of the Premier Arena Soccer League’s Rocky Mountain Division (PASL-Premier RMD) All-Star Game.
The Denver Dynamite was awarded the All-Star Game in an announcement by the Rocky Mountain Division Manager Mac Howell on January 10, 2013.
Not since the Premier Arena Soccer League’s 2007-08 Season, when it was the official development league for the MISL (Major Indoor Soccer League), has there been an All-Star Game. In that edition, the PASL ALL-STARS played against the California Cougars on February 10th, where the Rocky Mountain Division was represented by Pete Randall and Tony Thomas with honorable mention going to Jake Harris and Justin Dzuba.But starting this year, RMD All-Star Game will become a contest between the Northern and Southern teams top players as follows:
Players were selected by the fans (who could vote on the 14 player nominated by their own coaches in their respective regions) in addition to each clubs pick for 1st and 2nd team honors.
Each All-Star Coach will get an additional 3 player pick’s (1 must not be from their team) of their own to fill out the roster and will be announced prior to the RMD All-Star Game.
1st Team
North

South
Player
Position
Team

Player
Position
Team
Jay Hamilton
FW
Denver Dynamite
 
Justin Dzuba
GK
Colorado Blizzard
Tony Avery
FW
Denver Dynamite
 
Brian Contreras
MF
Colorado Blizzard
Tony Thomas
MF
Denver Dynamite
 
Jimmy Wade
DF
Colorado Blizzard
Mike Ogletree
DF
Denver Dynamite
 
Ryan Creager
DF
Colorado Blizzard
Grant Lundberg
FW
FC Denver
 
Mitch Lobdell
MF
Colorado Blizzard
Garrision Goodner
GK
Denver Dynamite
 
Beto Hernandez
FW
CSC Cavalry
2nd Team
North

South
Player
Position
Team

Player
Position
Team
Josh Elbaum
DF
Denver Dynamite
 
Odobong Obottete
FW
Colorado Blizzard
Shane Wheeler
FW
FC Denver
 
Francisco Evora
DF
CSC Cavalry
Travis Carey
MF
Denver Dynamite
 
Pancho Puente
MF
CSC Cavalry
Raul Elias
MF
FC Denver
 
Orlando Rojas
GK
CSC Cavalry
AJ Fleisher
GK
FC Denver
 
Eric Goldberg
MF
Colorado Blizzard
Joel Miller
DF
FC Denver
 
Eduar Rodriguez
MF
CSC Cavalry
Honorable Mention
Player
Position
Team

Player
Position
Team
Dave Kroening
DF
FC Denver
 
Pete Randall
DF
CSC Cavaly
Jesse Woodworth
DF
FC Denver
 
Matt Johnson
DF
CSC Cavalry
All-Star Coaches
Coach
Team

Coach
Team
Jason LaMere
FC Denver
 
John Wells
Colorado Blizzard

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Rocky Mountain Roundup 2012-13, Volume VII

The race for the PASL-Premier Nationals heated up in RMD Week 8, beginning with an elimination match between FC Denver and the Denver Dynamite on Friday night.

The first half would be a tale of two quarters.  FC Denver scored 3 straight goals to dominate the first quarter.  The Dynamite stormed back in the second quarter with two goals, to cut the lead to 3-2 at the half.

But FC Denver has had the Dynamite's number all season, and this trend would continue in the second half.  The pendulum would swing back in FC Denver's favor big time, resulting in 6 straight goals to put the match away.  The Dynamite scored an academic goal at the end to make the final score 9-3 in favor of FC Denver.  With the victory FC Denver finished off a 3 game sweep of their cross town rivals. 

Ben Donovan was the offensive leader of the match with 7 shots, 2 goals, and 2 assists for FC Denver.  AJ Fleisher had 37 saves, a .925 save percentage, and only 3 goals allowed in goal for FCD.

On Saturday night in front of 275 fans the Colorado Sports Center Cavalry played spoiler in a 4-4 tie in their final match of the season against their cross town rivals, the Colorado Blizzard.  The Blizzard could have clinched the Division title with a victory.  Cole Ouren was without a doubt the star for the Cavalry, making the difference in the match.  Player/Coach Pete Randall had this to say about Ouren's performance - "He scored the best goal I have seen all year on a full volley (off an average, at best, service) and single handedly brought us back into the game with 2 goals he created out of nothing." 

Cole Ouren led the Cavalry with 2 goals, and Eduar Rodriguez had 1 goal and 1 assist.  Matt Johnson scored 1 goal, and Ian Richards had 1 assist for the Cavalry.  Odobong Obotette led the Blizzard with 2 assists.  Four players scored one goal each for the Blizzard - John Molet, Mitch Lobdell, Eric Goldberg, and Jonathan Dzuba.  Despite being out shot 42-19, Orlando Rojas pulled in 38 saves (.900 Save Pct.) to help preserve the tie for the Cavalry.  

Accordingly, the offensive player of the week goes CSC Cavalry's Cole Ouren for his work ethic and the timeliness of his creativity in a time when a team and it's players see no future in their season, his pride and honor saw true to finish it out and that's what winners are made of.  On the same note, narrowly missing out on the defensive player honors a week ago didn't stop FC Denver's AJ Fleisher from cashing in this week with his performance to bring his total up to 3 times.

The Cavalry finish the season in 4th place albeit on a high note, with a record of 1 win, 6 losses, and 1 tie (4 points).  The Dynamite will finish in 3rd place with the loss, and have a record of 3 wins, 3 losses, and 1 tie (10 points).  Due to the draw with the Cavalry, the Colorado Blizzard sit in second with 4 wins, 1 loss, and 2 ties (14 points).  FC Denver sit in first for the moment with a record of 5-3 (15 points).  Now they must play the waiting game, and pull for the Dynamite in the sole Week 9 encounter.

The season comes down to one match:  The Dynamite host the Colorado Blizzard at Arvada's APEX Fieldhouse, 8:30pm Saturday night.  A win or tie for the Blizzard, and they are Division Champions.  A win by the Dynamite, and FC Denver will earn the title in their inaugural season.  To add to the intrigue of this final match, former Dynamite PASL-Pro star Chris Handsor will be returning for one match.  Tickets are $5.  


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rocky Mountain Roundup 2012-13, Volume VI


Three games marked a busy RMD schedule in Week 7, starting on Saturday with the two inner city rivalries. 

The Denver rivalry was up first, as the second and third place clubs battled it out.  The first half was an evenly matched defensive battle, with only one goal by FC Denver.  In the second half FCD would resume their winning ways against the Dynamite, scoring 3 straight goals (including one off a two man advantage) to take a commanding 4-0 lead midway through the third.  After the Dynamite scored their first goal, FC Denver scored two straight to take a 6-1 lead early in the fourth.  The clubs would trade goals the rest of the way, resulting in an 8-3 victory for FC Denver.

FC Denver continued their dominance over the Dynamite, despite the fact that FC Denver has been dominated by the Colorado Blizzard, who in turn have a loss and tie to the Dynamite.   Shane Wheeler led FC Denver with 2 goals, and Ian Marcheschi led with 2 assists.  Alex Aguirre and Raul Elias had 1 goal and 1 assist each for FC Denver.  Tony Thomas led the Dynamite with 2 goals.  

The Colorado Springs rivalry was up next, late Saturday night.  The Colorado Blizzard had a chance to increase their lead in the division if they could get by the resurgent CSC Cavalry.  The Blizzard would strike first as both teams were feeling each other out in the first quarter.  The Cavalry evened the match early in the second off a corner kick.  The Blizzard would dominate offensively for the rest of the half, scoring 3 straight goals to take a 4-1 lead.  The Cavalry would then score 2 goals to open the second half, but that is the closest they would get as the Blizzard defense shut them down the rest of the way, earning a 10-3 victory.

Justin Dzuba had a season high 48 saves for the Blizzard, along with a 94% save percentage.  Jesse Black led the Blizzard attack with 3 goals and 1 assist.  Ryan Creager and John Molet had 2 goals apiece.   Clayton Zelin had 4 assists for the Blizzard.   Mitch Lobdell, Kelly Robinson, and Jonathan Dzuba were single goal scorers for the Blizzard.  Pete Randall, Eduar Rodriguez, and Osbaldo Valencia scored for the Cavalry. 

The Cavalry would have to travel north to Westminster on Sunday afternoon in the second match of the weekend for both clubs.  The Green Machine was still on fire from the night before, scoring three goals in the first quarter and never looking back.  Ryan Tuomi, Jesse Woodworth, and Matt Haager did the honors in the first.  Tyler Imbrogno opened the scoring in the second for FCD, increasing the lead to 4-0.  Pete Randall opened the scoring for the Cavalry midway through the second, followed by two more FC Denver goals (Ryan Tuomi, Brady Yarletts) to close the half at 6-1.  The third quarter slowed down as Pete Randall scored the only goal, closing the gap for the Cavalry to 6-2.  A seven goal shootout ensued in the fourth quarter as FC Denver scored four (Edgar Olivas twice, Ryan McAleer, Shane Wheeler), and the Cavalry scored three (Jesus Chavez, Pete Randall, James Jones).  

The match ended in a 10-5 victory for FC Denver, however it was never really in doubt.  Edgar Olivas led the FC Denver attack with 2 goals and 2 assists.  Raul Elias led in assists with 3.  Ryan Tuomi had 2 goals, and Jesse Woodworth had 1 goal and 1 assist.  Tyler Imbrogno was named MVP for FC Denver.  Pete Randall led the Cavalry with 3 goals, and Jeremiah Kirschmann had 2 assists.  

Earning defensive player of the week was a close race between FC Denver's AJ Fleisher and the Colorado Blizzard's Justin Dzuba (two keepers who are in a constant battle for the limelight), however Dzuba's season high of 48 saves and a 94% save percentage could not be ignored; earning him the coveted position this week. 

The offensive player of the week title was no different as the Colorado Blizzard's Clayton Zelin checked in with 4 assists while teammate Jesse Black went for the hat trick that was braced with an Assist. But it is Raul Elias who walks away with the prize this week having been a consistent factor in the FC Denver offense notching a total of 1 goal and 4 assists laced with some fancy footwork and a multitude of chances to add to his prowess.

After week 7, the Blizzard regain sole possession of first place with 4 wins, 1 loss, and 1 tie (13 points).  After a weekend sweep, FC Denver jump into second with a record of 4-3 (12 points). The Denver Dynamite drop to third, but not far behind with 3 wins, 2 losses, and 1 tie (10 points).  The only club to be eliminated from the division title and PASL Nationals berth chase are the CSC Cavalry, with a record of 1-6 (3 points).  The premier week 8 match is between the Dynamite and FC Denver at Westminster Sports Center on Friday night at 8:30pm.  The loser will most likely be eliminated from championship contention, barring a Cavalry upset of the Blizzard on Saturday in Monument at 8pm.  If the FCD-Dynamite match ends in a draw or a FC Denver victory, the Blizzard can still clinch the title with a victory over the Cavalry.