Rocky Mountain Division

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rocky Mountain Roundup Special Edition - Blizzard at the PASL-Premier Nationals, Wrap Up

The Colorado Blizzard went up against the nation's best amateur arena soccer teams and came away with a .500 record, finishing 1-1-1 and in 3rd place in group A.

After holding the Las Vegas Knights to only one goal to win their first game 2-1, the Blizzard took on the San Diego Sockers Reserves, who were fresh off a loss to the NW Division Champion WSA Rapids.  The Blizzard took the early lead in this match, and things were looking good.  An errant pass allowed the Sockers to tie up the match, but the Blizzard would retake the lead 2-1.  The Sockers would re-tie the match on a strange ball that bounced off the back wall and over Goalkeeper Dzuba's head, only to be headed in by a Socker.  The Sockers Reserves had Chris Toth in goal - not only did Chris play for the pro Sockers for a good chunk of this season while number one goaltender Riley Swift was out (winning all the games he started at the pro level), he is the son of legend Zoltan Toth.  The Blizzard pounded Toth in the last 3 minutes, but could not break the tie.  After day 1 the Blizzard led Group A at 1-1-1.

Coach Wells had this to say after day 1:  "Wow what a day for the Blizzard, we came here knowing we had a tough road ahead of us with the group we were put in. We knew we had to come out hard and fast since we were only playing two18 minute halves instead of our normal four 15 minute Quarters. Drawing the Las Vegas Knights first was actually nice, since we wanted a piece of them anyway from last years finals where they beat us in the first round at their home rink. We were knocking the ball around very well and had a good rhythm to the game. Its really hard for the players to adapt to a shorter game and knowing you have to get a result quickly isn't easy, the other teams come out playing aggressive from the start and it was a very physical game from the first whistle. Getting that win was huge for us and set an early tone around the complex. What a day to now have to turn our focus on the Sockers Reserve team, the host team. This game got even more physical and had added pressure with the crowd that had come to watch the home town team. The players settled in quickly and we looked like we were going to get the result we needed to advance to the semi final round until an errand pass out of the arch cost us the one goal, and then the really weird ball that bounced up and over Dzuba onto the head of one of the Sockers Players to tie things up. As a whole the day went well, we are on top of the group of death in 1st place so I'm happy and now we need to prepare for tomorrows game, we need a tie or a win to advance. We are all looking forward to watching the PASL - PRO semi-finals and then head back to the hotel for some rest."

 The Blizzard needed a win or tie against the Northwest Champion WSA Rapids going into day 2.  After dominating the Sockers Reserves 3-0, WSA blew a 3 goal lead against Las Vegas, coming into Saturday's match at 1-1.  The Blizzard came out flat in the first half as the Rapids would jump out to a 4-0 lead.  The Blizzard would regroup in the second half for 3 quick goals, and then the game settled down for the next ten minutes.  After a 6th foul penalty on WSA, Odobong Obetette would score a power play goal to even things up at 4 apiece.  The game pace picked up at this point, going end to end with numerous scoring opportunities for both teams.  With 37 seconds left WSA called a timeout - while the Blizzard only needed a tie to advance, the Rapids had to win.  The Rapids would bring in a 6th attacker, who was able to slip past a Blizzard player and pass the ball deep into the corner where another Rapids player was able to send the ball across the goal mouth, and the ball hit someone and ended up in the back of the net, giving the Rapids a 5-4 lead. With 15 seconds remaining it was the Blizzard's turn to call time out and set up the 6th attacker.  The Blizzard got off several shots with one hitting the post, but the Rapids survived the onslaught to win the game.  The Blizzard finished behind both WSA and Las Vegas in the group, ending their season. 

Coach Wells on the loss: "Not the result we were looking for, we just forgot to play the first half and it cost us dearly. It is hard enough playing from behind which is something we are not accustom to this year, but giving up 4 goals is bad form. The players showed some heart the second half coming back from being 4 goals down to tie it up. 37 seconds, wow, not sure what really happened in that span of time, it was almost like everything was moving in slow motion until the ball hit the back of the net, there was so much chaos in the Arch I don't even know who scored the winning goal, bottom line we shouldn't have tried to win the ball from the 6th attacker and just sit back and let them pass it around and run the clock out. I don't remember who it was nor do I care, this is a very special group of players, more like brothers and they play for each other so we win together and we lose together. It is sad to see such a great season end this way but the team is deserving of the #1 team in the PASL Premier League for the regular season at 8-0. At 9-1-1 it would be nice to be hoisting the trophy but hey, hopefully we will  be back next year and make another run at the National Title. I'm proud of the team for what they have accomplished this year and I look forward to next season"

The Final Group Standings:

Group A GP W L T Pt
Las Vegas Knights 32106

The Knights almost pulled off a repeat...

WSA Rapids

Best performance yet for the Rapids...

Colorado Blizzard 31114

One bad half eliminated the Blizzard....

Sockers Reserves 30211

Someone had to finish last in the group of death

Group B GP W L T Pts
Vitesse Dallas 33009

The team of death?

Deft Touch

The surprise semifinalist of the Nationals....

Louisville Rayo 30211

Two respectable losses for the newcomer.

CF Revolucion  30211

Two bad losses, but a tie to finish.....

In the Semifinals, Las Vegas and Deft Touch battled to a 3-3 tie, and the game went to shootouts.  The Knights prevailed in the shootout, 3-2.  The second Semifinal was not as close - Vitesse Dallas showed their superiority, beating the WSA Rapids 4-1.  In a match up of two former champions, Vitesse Dallas would win their second National Championship, 5-3 over Las Vegas.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Rocky Mountain Roundup Special Edition - Blizzard at the PASL-Premier Nationals, Day 1

The Colorado Blizzard finished day one in the PASL-Premier Nationals in San Diego with a win and a tie, to find themselves atop Group A.

The day started at 11am San Diego time against the defending national champion Las Vegas Knights, led by Josh Copeland.  In a defensive battle, the Blizzard held off the SW division champions, 2-1.  This was an impressive defensive result considering the Knights lit up the scoreboard for 18 goals in their last match before Nationals.   The Blizzard goalscorers were Jesse Black, assisted by Brian Contreras; and Joel Trainer, assisted by John Molet.  

A few hours later the Blizzard battled the San Diego Sockers Reserves to a 2-2 tie.  The Sockers Reserves benefit from the depth of the Sockers organization, with pro experienced players like Garth Archibald and David Beltran. Eric Goldberg scored both goals for the Blizzard, including a goal off a great outlet pass by Goalkeeper Justin Dzuba just before the halftime buzzer.  The other goal was assisted by Joel Trainer.  

Justin Dzuba continued his stellar goalkeeping into the Nationals, only giving up 3 goals in 2 games, and averaging about 15 saves a game.  

This year's tournament includes 8 teams, consisting of 2 groups of 4.  It could be argued that the group including the Blizzard should be called the "Group of Death".  Group A includes 3 of the 5 Division winners competing in the Tournament, including the WSA Rapids (of Bellingham, WA) who won the Northwest, the already mentioned Las Vegas Knights, and the host San Diego Sockers Reserves who were national runners up last year as the San Diego Fusion. 

Group B includes newcomers Deft Touch (of Orange County, CA), CF Revolucion Tijuana, Midwest Champion and newcomers Louisville Rayo, and the perennial South Central Champions, Vitesse Dallas.

After Day 1 the group Standings look like this......

Group A
GP W L T Pts
Colorado Blizzard  21014

Rocky Mountain Champs

WSA Rapids 21103

NW Division Champs

Las Vegas Knights 21103

Defending National Champs, and SW Division Champs.

Sockers Reserves 20111

SW Division 3rd place and host....

Group B
GP W L T Pts
Deft Touch 22006

SW Runners up, newcomers and somewhat unknown

Vitesse Dallas

Perennial PASL-Premier Powerhouse & South Central Champs

Louisville Rayo 20200

Louisville Lightning Reserve Team - Midwest Champs

CF Revolucion  20200

Tijuana's Reserve team - 4th in the SW Division

The top two teams in each group advance.  The Blizzard need just a tie in their final group match against the WSA Rapids to advance.  However, the Blizzard will want to win this match so they can clinch first in Group A and get the higher seed.  This match kicks off Saturday at 11am, Noon in Colorado.  Everyone is still alive in the competitive "Group of Death".  In Group B Vitesse Dallas and Deft Touch, the surprise of the Tournament, have already advanced.  Vitesse Dallas, with plenty of pro experience, were expected to advance out of Group B. Vitesse and Deft play after the Blizzard to determine who will get the higher seed from Group B.  If the Blizzard can beat WSA they will play the loser of that match in the Semifinals.  The Semifinals kick off at 2 and 2:45 pm, and the National Championship is at 5:05 pm (all matches Pacific Time). 

Updates from the tournament can be found through the following medias:

PASL-Premier Facebook Page:

PASL-Premier Wikipedia Page:

PASL-Premier Website: