Game one saw the Dynamite jump out to an early and impressive 2-0 lead. This served as a wake up call for the Blizzard, who bounced back to tie the match by halftime 2-2, and dominated the second half to win 6-2. Eric Goldberg would lead the Blizzard with two goals.
The now 7-0 Blizzard and 3-3-1 Dynamite would play one more time, and this time it would also count as the Division championship, due to financial and time issues preventing a separate final. The Blizzard would prove yet again why they are the Division's best, picking up where they left off in game one and storming to a 3-0 lead. The clubs would trade goals to go into the final break at 4-1. The Blizzard would continue the onslaught in the second half, extending the lead to 7-1. The Dynamite would have two nice goals to bring the final score to 7-3 Blizzard. It was an impressive performance by Odobong Obetette, who had 3 goals and 2 assists, and a total of 4 goals and 3 assists on the night.
The Blizzard are the first club to go undefeated and win the Rocky Mountain Division Title. (The Colorado Predators went undefeated in the regular season in 2007-08, but were upset by Albuquerque in the Championship Final)
A pleased Coach Wells had this to say, after the season ending performance: "We came up here tonight expecting a battle, and the way the Dynamite came out with 2 quick goals it looked like we were in for a long night. As shifts were coming in and out of the bench, I was making my rounds telling each shift to calm down and play our game, work the patterns, read what they are giving you. It was our 3rd shift that calmed everything down and began to pressure as a group, and the 1st and 2nd shift followed by example. As soon as we started playing collectively as a group you could see the shift in momentum, and the guys started connecting passes that lead to goals. Once we took control of the game you could see the confidence building in the players and it was obvious they were focused from that point on. I'm very proud of the players and the effort they put forth over the course of the season, and we look forward to representing the Rocky Mountain Division in San Diego in March at Nationals. An 8-0 season is really tough with the quality of teams we have in the Rocky Mountain Division, and I hope that we can carry this momentum and good form into Nationals. Thanks to all the Teams in our Division."
The Final Standings look like this......
|Rocky Mountain Division||GP||W||L||T||Pts|
|Colorado Blizzard||8||8||0||0||24||Undefeated and headed to San Diego|
|Ft. Collins Fury||8||3||4||1||10||Add some depth, and the Fury will be back among the Division elite...|
|Edwards Freedom||8||0||6||2||2||Perhaps the best winless team in PASL-Premier? |
The domination by the Blizzard also showed in individual statistics. In goalkeeping, Justin Dzuba led the Division with a 2.25 GAA in 4 starts, while his teammate Michael Archuleta had the second lowest GAA with 3.86 in 3 starts. Eric Goldberg was the Division's goal leader, with 11 on the season. Odobong Obetette tied Zach Speed of Fort Collins for second with 10 goals, but Obetette also led the Division with 12 assists. Duane Pelz of Edwards came in 4th with 7 goals, and Tony Avery of Denver finished 5th with 6. Jay Hamilton of the Dynamite finished 2nd in the Division in assists, with 8.
The Blizzard will take the next 2 weekends off as they prepare for the PASL-Premier Nationals, March 9-10 in San Diego. The Blizzard have depth at all positions, including two solid goalkeepers in Dzuba and Archuleta. The defense (as well as goalkeeping) has always been a strong point for the Blizzard, with players like Jimmy Wade, Kelly Robinson, and John Molet. The five previously mentioned players all have PASL-Pro experience with the Dynamite, or the Colorado Lightning in the case of Archuleta. If Obetette and Goldberg continue to produce on offense, this club will be a contender in San Diego. Of course anything can happen at the PASL Nationals, but the Blizzard's depth should have them well prepared for a tournament where you could play as many as 6 games in 2 days.
There are 5 other divisions in the PASL-Premier, and the Northwest, Southwest, Midwest, and Great Lakes will decide their championships this coming weekend, punching 4 more tickets to the finals. The South Central Division will play through the final weekend before Nationals. The San Diego Sockers Reserves will likely be in as hosts, plus a few at large berths. Stay tuned for a special PASL-Premier finals preview edition of the Roundup, where we will take a look at not only the Blizzard's group opponents, but the tournament in general.