Author’s Note: Through the 2017 season, we’ve partnered with the Interstate Box Lacrosse Association (IBLA) to give you an inside look at what’s going on around the country in all three Regional Box Lacrosse Leagues (RBLL). Oregon had their first weekend off, while RBLL Colorado and Minnesota got after it.
Colorado may have been the most eventful branch of the IBLA last weekend, but that doesn’t mean the other two took a break. Oregon spent the week focusing on practice and recovery. Minnesota took the floor, but the results weren’t what we have grown accustom to.
There’s five games, across three states, on the docket for the weekend. Everyone but the Colorado Sr. B’s will be getting after if from Friday to Sunday. Before then, dial it back and catch up on last weekend’s big three.
Sr. A: Rangers 16, Wolves 11 – 9/2
Welcomed onto their new home floor for the first time, the inaugural game in the Xfinity Sports Arena was well received by fans and players alike. The space provided plenty of unobstructed seating in a professional atmosphere. Those in attendance were treated to a clean, exciting tilt, with the home team coming out victorious.
From the opening whistle, the Rangers came out hot and did not wait to attack the Wolves in the first-ever meeting between the two. In just the first two minutes, Clark Woodard started the engines and helped lead his group to a quick, 3-0, start. Over the next four, it was more Parker domination, another falling from Woodard with help from his teammates on either side. At the 7:30 mark, the Rangers had stormed off to a 6-0 start with full-steam ahead.
It took until nearly the 9th minute, but when Dan Dickenson got the Wolves on the board for the first time, the bench got the taste for blood. In no time, three other shooters followed the lead, taking Colorado Springs on their first run. Fighting to take back momentum, Nicholas Amendt punched his second in for Parker, before Woodard could strike again. Moments later, Luke Miller sunk his first, extending the Ranger lead back to five.
In the final minute of the first, the Wolves would find some traction from Steve Wheeler. The big goal was followed immediately with another round from Paul Hummer, narrowing the gap to 3 as the period came to a close. Five minutes would drift off the clock without another notch from either side, until Hummer circled around to complete his hat trick. After assisting Hummer on his last two, Mark Stapor stepped up for Colorado Springs with a timely unassisted goal. Next came James Regan, not once, but twice, for the Wolves, punching in back-to-back scores, knotting the game and just as quickly stealing the lead for the first time. The second of Regan’s connections fell at the midpoint of the period, but it’d be the last we would hear from the boys in blue for nearly 20 minutes.
Fire It Up
As I’m sure you could have guessed, it was time for Parker to rev up the motor and get back to work. Tyler Snyder locked the game up at 10, with Miller right on his heels in the final minute, giving the lead back to the Rangers. The final frame opened up with the third and fourth goals from Amendt, dropping the spirits of the home side. 5 minutes later, Snyder would work his way back to the spotlight, making it a 14-10 game.
For the last time of the night, a lone Wolf would find the back of the net in the third. Steve Wheeler tallied the final Colorado Springs goal halfway through, but it wouldn’t be enough to strike up any sort of comeback. Parker’s Ben Weisz would further separate the game, before Woodard could hammer the final nail into the coffin, using his 4th goal to seal the game at 16-11.
Strong goaltending on both ends made it hard for the offenses. The Wolves had starter Jake Henningman back on duty, facing an intense amount of rubber, but cleaning up strong with 31 saves on 46 shots. He was briefly helped by Garrett Fitzgerald, blocking 4 of 5 shots nearing the end of the match. The Rangers also rocked duel goalies, Chris Lyons and Monte Montgomery splitting time with impressive results. Lyons allowed 8 of 27 to get past, while his partner, Montgomery, turned away 17 of 20 attempts.
The addition of NLL legend Brian Langtry was immediately apparent for Parker, even without former pro-baller Dan Finck in the lineup. Colorado Springs was short a star too, missing forward Shawn O’Rourke for the weekend. Aside from a few gaps, both benches were completely full and speckled with a few call-ups from the B sides.
Sr. B: Rangers 13, Buzz 5 – 9/3
It looks like Parker will be the team to beat in both the A and B divisions. Back on the road in Fort Collins, both teams travelled north for the neutral site shootout. Plenty of balls were flying at the cages early, but both goaltenders were seeing them well and making it a defensive struggle.
Despite 14 shots in the first frame, Parker could only connect on 3 in the first 20 minutes. Adam Kullberg, Tyler Kirby, and Ethan Heritage got the best of net-minder Koahl Thorton, rattling of a, 3-0, lead. Off the following face-off, Denver’s Ryan Spitz got the Black and Yellow up in lights, cutting the difference to two, but it would be the only scoring success the Buzz would find for a while.
When the second period opened up, it was more shots from Parker, and with better precision. Binz Hansen would hit first, clearing room for two from Spencer Kirby and a pair from Heritage. At the 12th minute, Tyler Kirby would find a pass from Heritage, then placing the ball into the back of the net to give the Rangers a, 9-1, lead after the 12th minute. Seconds later, we finally got to see more out of the Buzz attack, Charlie Witte able to grind one in for Denver. Hot on his trail, Spencer Kirby tacked on his 3rd goal, pushing the difference back to 8.
Never Giving Up
Not ready to roll over, Kevin Costanza earned the 3rd Buzz goal before the the period could come to a close. Both defenses put up a fight to turn away further attempts, with neither side finding a point in the first half of the third frame. Trying to keep the Buzz afloat, Ryan Spitz tickled the twine, cutting the difference to 6. Parker didn’t take kindly to not making any moves for around 18 minutes, and came back alive with more success from Heritage and Tyler Kirby. The final connections from Heritage went down as his 7th point of the game, 4th goal, while Tyler Kirby’s final goal matched his brother’s effort with a hat trick each.
This was the second game for Parker with double digit scoring, while holding opponents to just 5 goals. Although they’ve lagged for a few minutes here and there, once Parker finds the gas pedal, it’s hard to slow the caravan down. Between the irons, goalie Derek Armer-Derner fiercely fought off 23 of the 28 Buzz attempts. Denver’s Koahl Thorton drew the heftier task, making due by blocking 31 of the 44 shots he saw.
Unofficial: Walleye 12, Lycans 7 – 8/30 – Game 4
The mid-week matchup in Minnesota paired the two squads against each other for the fourth meeting in the best-of-7 series. Blaine left the floor near the end of the game, not to return. The IBLA has made an official statement on the situation:
“The Blaine Lycans decided to exit the game with a few minutes remaining in the game. This decision officially goes into the record books as a forfeit, however all stats from the game will be inputed before the next game and all stats will be deemed official. The final score recored in this game was 12-7, Walleye.
In addition, the league obviously frowns upon reckless and dangerous play by any team. The league will be meeting with the officiating staff and taking a numbers of actions before the next game to help eliminate these types of acts. With that said, the series is now 2-2 and game 5 is this Saturday in Hastings at 8pm and it has been a very tight and exciting series to watch.”
Pressure will now be on the Lycans to come out firing on Saturday when visiting Hastings. Especially since Blaine will be on the road for the rest of the regular season. The physical showdown set the precedence that it’s going to require every last bit of effort and grit to win the state. Saturday’s game in Hastings will be the marquee match to help define the series.
Colorado Springs Wolves at Denver Buzz – Senior A
Saturday, September 9th at 10:00 am
Apex Fieldhouse – Denver, CO
Parker Rangers at Mile High Stars – Senior A
Saturday, September 9th at 7:00 pm
Foothills Fieldhouse – Denver, CO
Colorado Springs Wolves at Parker Rangers – Senior A
Sunday, September 10th at 7:00 pm
Parker Fieldhouse – Parker, CO
Portland River Monsters at Beaverton Mountaineers – Game XX
Friday, September 8th at 8:10 pm
Indoor Goals – Beaverton, OR
Blaine Lycans at Hastings Walleye – Game 5
Saturday, September 9th at 7:00 pm
Hastings Civic Arena – Hastings, MN