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......
|Colorado Blizzard||2||1||0||1||4||Rocky Mountain Champs|
|Las Vegas Knights||2||1||1||0||3||Defending National Champs, and SW Division Champs.|
|Sockers Reserves||2||0||1||1||1||SW Division 3rd place and host....|
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: