After settling for a tie in Game 1 at home and dropping a heartbreaking Game 2 on the road of a three game series against the Denver Dynamite this season and the expansion FC Denver sitting on top of the table with just one match to go, the Colorado Blizzard could not afford to lose if they were to book a return trip to the PASL-Premier Nationals in San Diego.
Almost 5 minutes into the first quarter Eric Goldberg would open up the scoring at 10:09 from a Yves Chinje through ball. Not even 5 minutes late Goldberg would return the favor; slotting the ball to an on coming Chinje for the eventual game winner. But Goldberg wasn’t finished yet, as a cheeky little back heal to Forward Jesse Black at the 1:10 mark closed out the scoring for the quarter.
The second quarter saw a momentary shift in momentum as the Dynamite doubled up the Blizzard in shots 20-to-9, but fortunately were not able to capitalize on any of them while goaltender Justin Dzuba was in “Beast Mode.”
After the halftime intermission, the Blizzard returned to form; extending their lead to 8 goals in the third quarter courtesy of a long pass to Odobong Obettee from Jimmy Wade at 13:42, Kelly Robinson after Mitch Lobdell pick pocketed the Dynamite and then dropped a pass to him in stride at 11:10, Ryan Creager from Odobong Obettee from the key during a power play at 8:25. The quarter was capped off by both Brian Contreras and Jesse Black punishing the Denver keeper for giving up a loose ball after the initial save at the 3:40 and 2:24 marks respectively.
Enter the fourth quarter with the Blizzard and Dynamite trading shots with Dzuba still unbeaten in the net, Kelly Robinson would steal the ball at midfield and lay it off to a waiting Jimmy Wade at the edge of the Dynamite box – uncontested for over 2 seconds which left plenty of time to square the ball back for Robinson to crush it through the back of the net at 13:45 for his second goal of the night. Contreras would get his second goal just over a minute later after collecting the rebound from his first shot off the keeper after a ball sent through the box by Woodson. Black would show why he was this year’s Golden Boot Winner as he finished off the Blizzard’s night of scoring on a power play with a hat-trick thanks to a piercing pass from Contreras. The Dynamite would end up spoiling Dzuba’s shutout by pulling one back during a power play with 3:13 left in the match.
“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 apart 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.
So on behalf of the Coaching Staff and the Players of the Colorado Blizzard we would like to acknowledge the Rocky Mountain Division teams, Denver Dynamite, FC Denver, CSC Cavalry and thank them all for helping make the Rocky Mountain Division a strong and exciting division and for being apart of one of the most spirited seasons the division has had yet. We hope to see everyone back next season." Coach Wells