Game 1 - Clark Physical Therapy 8, Mi Casa Rustic Furniture 7
Wow, what a difference a week and a couple of players can make. Both teams received a long pole player from the dominant Lightning Wear team starting this week. In the case of Mi Casa , new addition Nick Blay provided a commanding voice and presence on the back line. For the first time all season, the team had a definite leader in the back and it showed with more commanding slides and communication. Goalie Burk saw significantly less shots throughout the game as the defense maintained its composure with Aukes and Cafferata supplementing Blay.
Clark experimented with Boyd last week and eagerly welcomed him after his official move, announced last Thursday. The arrival of Ripchinski also benefited their offense and gave them the boost they needed in the midfield. Ripchinski brought a wealth of experience from Philadelphia, including a stint with Penn State's NCLL team. The modified Clark team was definitely ready to play last night.
After predicting a three goal win by Clark, I was as surprised as anyone when Mi Casa took the lead on multiple occasions. But we played better than we have all season, starting with me winning the opening face off and our monstrous possession in the box to start the game. Our overall ability around the field amplified despite another failed attempt at scheduling practice. Everybody's game was up and our ball movement looked about a bajillion times better than ever. Although I am sure there were addition goal scorers, Miska, Johnston, and Kaufmann led the team to the back of the net multiple times.
Clark scored the first goal of the game. their game was physical, but subdued compared to Lightning. They were fairly evenly matched against us and definitely showed the hunger for the win. Their ability to effectively screen Burk proved to be the key to their success as at least half of their goals utilized this tactic. But it was their higher fitness and ability to run fast breaks that ultimately led them to victory.
With less than two minutes to go in the run clock game and a single goal lead, our plan was to win the draw, set up our offense and eat clock while looking for a good opportunity. Avoiding forced shots and passes was key. Unfortunately we lost control right after possession was called due to a great check by Clark. After a quick scoop, their middie ran straight to the cage and scored in stunning fashion to tie the game. Lining up for the next face off, I got beat on the clamp and their guy's (sorry, did not catch the name) superior athleticism beat me pure and simple. Another drive to the cage gave them the one goal edge. Winning the final face off proved futile as time expired before we could get a shot off.
Regardless, the effort and heart shown by all players on both teams was remarkable. This was the type of game that every laxer dreams of. Truly spectacular.
Game 2 - Lightning Wear 13, Wellspring Parable 5Just as I was getting ready to write the recap of this game, the following response was left to yesterday's post:
After 2 quick goals the 'Bolts made defensive & offensive adjustments that
rattled the Young Guns to the point that they could not establish control of the
game. On offense the 'bolts kept the shots coming and improved on their league
dominating time of possession. Patience and cobra-like aggression from the
Lightning made each Young Gun attack a pressure packed kamikaze mission. To
their misfortune, like Jaws (the Great White Shark), there was a 250lb d-pole
lurking in the zone waiting to devour the Young Guns' primary offensive threats.
Unlike the first two scores no shot went uncontested...Physically. A strong
presence in the net by Hunter clamped down most of the Young Guns' assaults.
This is a fairly accurate description of how the game went down. I will add that this game saw more flags than the other five games combined. Both teams were swing happy and offsides was a huge issue. The back and forth play was strong, and the possession was balanced.
The Tornberg brothers and Dirk Arends made noble efforts on defense for Wellspring, but ultimately could not contain the overloaded Lightning attack. Goalie Taylor held the net all night and made numerous unbelievable saves - effectively removing Ben Couch from the game in the process. Taylor's ability in net continues to improve and he is quickly emerging as an extremely strong keeper despite the scoreline. A rough guesstimate on last night's performance actually puts him in the 60% range; he was bombarded by quality shots all night.
Hunter Couch was solid as always, despite the early gaffes. Helped by the massive back line, he faced significantly fewer shots. With another 13 goal game, the Bolts have established themselves as the team to beat.
Lightning Wear 3-0-0
Wellspring Parable 2-1-0
Clark Physical Therapy 1-2-0
Mi Casa Rustic Furniture 0-3-0