Rocky Mountains Division

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.  

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