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). RBLL Colorado launched into season two, while Oregon and Minnesota keep rolling.
First it was Oregon, then there was Minnesota, and now the RBLL Colorado is off the ground for the second year. Last weekend marked the first time all three IBLA states were in action at the same time. We were treated to Sr. A and Sr. B games in Colorado, a home and away series in Minnesota, and Game 3 of the Oregon showdown.
While Oregon has the upcoming weekend off, we’ve got a midweek game in Minnesota and plenty going on in Colorado to look forward to.
Until then, get caught up on everything you missed over the weekend.
Sr. A: Wolves 12, Buzz 8 – 8/26
The battle of the RBLL Colorado expansions kicked off the 2017 season in the Centennial State. Despite being the newcomers, Denver and Colorado Springs matched up to launch the league into it’s second season of Senior A lacrosse.
The Buzz trekked south down I-25 for their first official game, following the scrimmage in Wyoming to highlight the preseason.
This would be the first showing for the blue shirts, drawing a home game for their inaugural run. Looking well prepared, Colorado Springs jumped off to a 2-0 start, before Denver could get on the board after the 6th minute.
Melvin Gowl was the first shooter to bury the rock in Wolves’ history, his only strike of the game. Denver’s first-ever goal appropriately came from the stick of Brady Hall, his first of an impressive performance and the only Buzz shooter with a multi-goal game. Making sure Denver didn’t encroach on the lead, Mike Sagaert scratched his first tally, making it 3-1, before the Buzz started to rally halfway through the period.
Two of the Denver transition men legged the ball down the floor, twice in the matter of 45 seconds, to lock the score at 3 near the 10 minute mark. A transition goal the other way dropped for the Wolves and they had the lead back, if only for a few minutes.
The Buzz locked the score up once more, before Nic Bevacqua reared his head for the first time and buried the go-ahead goal for Colorado Springs leading into the break.
Coming Out Hot
It took roughly 90 seconds into the second frame for Lambert to circle back around and knot the score again. A transition goal then quickly fell for Denver and the Buzz had their first lead of the game. Over 10 minutes would pass before any more success would come for the Wolves.
But, when Julian Espinoza cracked the seal for the first time in the period, tying the game at 6, it opened the floodgates. Bevacqua rallied back with his second goal, stealing the lead, before tacking on an insurance point just 30 seconds later. Two more timely goals followed Bevacqua, giving the Wolves their largest margin of the game, at 10-6.
One last Buzz goal would slip in before the half ended, marking over 12 minutes between scores. Unfortunately, that would be the last strike for Denver over the next 20 something minutes. That is until Lambert would round out his hat trick with the final point of the game. In the meantime, Sagaert would stand as the only other goal scorer of the quiet third period.
Sagaert was the second from Colorado Springs to bring a hat trick to the table, punching in their only two goals of the frame. Despite the defensive struggle in the third, the Wolves pulled away with a, 12-8, lead and their first win in RBLL Colorado history.
The game was a huge improvement in the effort Denver put forth in the scrimmage. Buzz goalie Josh McDougall (.721) turned away 31 shots on goal in his first stand, while the tandem of Dennis Rego (.741) and Jake Henningman (.929) got the job done in the opposite crease. Rego held down the fort through the first two periods with 20 saves, while Henningman thwarted any chance of a comeback by stopping 13 of the 14 shots he faced.
Sr. B: Rangers 16, Stars 5 – 8/27
The second game of Colorado’s Senior B season debuted the Rangers, pinned against the Stars second showing of 2017. Taking down Colorado Springs in Game 1, the Mile High group met the gang from Parker, at the neutral site in Fort Collins, for their first meeting.
It took a while for the game to get off the ground, the Stars finally lighting up the scoreboard deep into the first with a pair of goals. Two Ranger goals would find the back of the net, on either side of another for Mile High, ending the first period with the Stars ahead, 3-2.
From that point, Parker turned on the pressure and blew the doors wide open, thanks to the efforts of Ethan Heritage and David Shaum. Shaum quickly tied the game, then took the lead, making way for Heritage to crank in a pair of his own. Only one goal would fall for the Stars in the second 20 minutes, followed by two more Parker tallies and the hat trick for Shaum. At the end of the period, the Rangers were gripping a commanding, 9-4, lead.
The final frame would feature a lot more of the same. The Stars were giving up countless breakaways and odd-man rushes, and the Rangers were capitalizing on nearly all of them. Meanwhile, Mile High was also struggling in the accuracy department, in the event they could actually get a quality shot off. Parker made the best of what they were given, mounting a 7-1 run, led by two more from Heritage and Shaum’s fourth, to close out the event.
When the dust settled, Ethan Heritage stood out as the clear leader of the Parker offense, making a case to jump to Senior A by registering 4 goals and 3 assists in his debut. David Shaum wasn’t far behind, owning up to a 4 goal game of his own, matching Heritage for half of the Rangers points. Doug Naes was the only Star to accumulate multiple goals (2) or points (2) in the entire game.
Walleye 11, Lycans 7 – 8/25 – Game 2
Game two of the Minnesota series moved to the historic Hastings Civic Arena, arguably one of the best venues in American box lacrosse. Backed by a lively crowd, the attendance of the City of Hasting’s Mayor, and the return of goaltender Seth Scott, the Walleye were dialed in for capturing their first-ever win in their home barn.
After dropping the inaugural showdown at home in week one, the Walleye fired back on the Lycans with an early attack. Both defense and goalies were locked in and focused from the early minutes. It took nearly 5 minutes for Andrew Peterson to register the first point of the night, giving Hastings the first lead. It wasn’t until the 14th minute that the Walleye followed up with a second goal, this time coming from the defense.
Nearly 18 minutes had passed until the Lycans got on the scoreboard for the first time. Ben Fairbanks showed up first, and second, for Blaine. Fairbanks touched in his first score, met by one of many from Aime Caines, before he would fire back in the final moments to keep to the game within one, Hastings leading, 3-2.
Caines came out swinging for the first goal of the second period, but the two goal lead wouldn’t hold for long. Right on their heels, the Lycans rallied back for three quick ones against goalie Seth Scott, earning the first and only lead of the night for Blaine. That would be the last time the boys in black would get on the board for the next 20 minutes.
All Caines, Every Caines
Back came Caines, ratcheting in a third and fourth goal, with another from Peterson and a first from Seth Nogel in the middle. Before we could blink, the Walleye turned the game into a 8-5 affair at the end of the period. Heading into through the opening minutes of the final frame, both defenses still looked poised and able.
Then, Hastings turned the effort back on offensively, hammering in two quick goals to double the Lycans’ score, 10-5. Fairbanks finally made his presence a factor once more, collecting his first hat trick, before Caines could show him up by racking up his 5th goal of the night. One more would fall for the Lycans in the final minutes, but it wouldn’t be enough build a comeback on the, 7-11, deficit.
Tyler Schmitz (.792) did his best to keep Blaine in the contest, stopping 38 of 48 shots on goal, before Manny Chavez (.750) would enter to close down shop with 3 saves of his own. Earning the W, Seth Scott (.811) kept his team afloat by turning away 30 of 37 attempts across 60 minutes.
Lycans 10, Walleye 8 – 8/27 – Game 3
It looks like the recipe for sucess in Minnesota comes hrough playing in front of the home crowd. Neither team has had any success on the road and Game 3 was no exception. Returning to Blaine for the second game of the weekend, the Lycans took exception to Friday’s punch in the mouth and swung back with a response of their own.
Despite the final score, Blaine’s answer to the loss wasn’t though firing out of the gates. The goals were sealed off until the 7th minute when a trio of Walleye tallies made their way onto the scoreboard. Mike Nogel and Andrew Peterson would hit first, followed up by Aime Caines’ only goal of the entire night. Then the tables completely turned.
Over the next ten minutes, ending one period and starting another, the Lycans strapped up tight and got to work. Alec Wroblewski got the party started for the home crowd, followed by five other shooters finding twine, and another from Wroblewski. Just like that, Blaine commanded a, 7-3, lead toward the beginning of the second frame.
Cutting It Close
A pair of Lukes, Nelson and Johnson, fired back for the Walleye, cutting the difference to two, the last strikes for nearly 18 minutes. Playing the role of leader, Wroblewski popped back in to make it a hat trick, matched by a goal from Jordan Roller to close the period. Keeping momentum, Colin Hoch struck for the Lycans in the early minutes of the third, serving as the final goal of the game for Blaine.
Not letting the Lycans find twine for the final 17 minutes, the Hastings defense made room for a late comeback. Peterson would hit first for Hastings, with a quick followup from RJ Ancona on his heels. Minutes would pass before Luke Johnson would keep the Walleye rally going, cutting the difference to two. Only down 8-10, Hastings’ late efforts wouldn’t be enough to completely breakdown the effort of Tyler Schmitz between the irons.
Proving to be one of top goalies in entire IBLA, Game 3 featured another stellar performance from Schmitz. Standing tall for all 60 minutes, Schmitz fought off 27 of 35 attacks on the goal, giving Blaine the chance to take the series lead.
As if it comes as any surprise, Aime Caines is leading the entire IBLA in points (17) and goals (11) after three games, despite a 1 point game on Sunday. Following his lead, teammate RJ Ancona currently holds the assists (13) lead, collecting just a solo helper on Sunday.
River Monsters 14, Mountaineers 9 – 8/26 – Game 3
After dropping the first first meeting in RBLL Oregon history, the River Monsters have now rallied back for two-straight wins and commands of the series score.
Once again, goaltending from Kyle Hamburger was making the game more than frustrating for Beaverton. In the first 15 minutes, the River Monsters found a way to get on the board four times before letting the Mountaineers have any fun. Led by a pair from Brenton Souers, the first from Kinnon Roy, and a starting strike from Garrett Goshorn, Portland was rolling early in front of the home crowd.
Finally, after nearly 16 minutes, Martin Winter showed up for Beaverton’s first goal, but it would stand as the only scratch of the period. Before the frame could close out, Charlie White buried his first and helped claim a 5-1 start for Portland.
Where’s the Help?
Only three names would enter the stat book for Beaverton in the second period, Hayden Thomas, Alex Tilson, and Martin Winter. Two strikes from Winter and Thomas respectively, and help from Tilson, would overshadow strikes from Portland’s Dakota Wolfe Norman and Jonah Mohawk. Chipping away at the big lead and bringing the deficit within one, Beaverton made it 5-6 halfway through the period.
Not taking kindly to the surge of momentum, the River Monsters responded with four-straight successful punches, quickly separating the game, to 11-6, led by goals three and four from Sourers. Tilson would attempt to swing things back in the favor of the Mountaineers, but Sourers fifth before the second period would end landed a devastating blow on Beaverton.
The game slowed down quite a bit for the final 20 minutes of action. Plenty of time past before Roy could notch his second score. Tension grew through the first two and two-thirds games before boiling over in the form of the RBLL Oregon’s first scrap.
Portland’s Dakota Wolfe Norman and Beaverton’s Joseph Giblin dropped the mitts in front of an excited crowd, setting a message that the series is far but over. The scrap was followed by another two goals for the Mountaineers, but the effort would stand as too little, too late. Winter and Patrick Verdun slang in a pair of scores for Beaverton, before Mohawk swung back to close the night with a hat trick and a commanding, 14-9, lead.
After what we’ve seen out of the tandem, it should be no surprise that Benton Souers and Kinnon Roy are leading the Portland offense in scoring, tied at 9 goals a pop. Yet, Charlie White stands only a goal back and is now 2nd in the entire IBLA when it comes to points, owning 8 goals and 7 assists through the season.
Taking a step towards further legitimacy in the Colorado Springs market, home games for the Wolves are moving into a bigger barn. Starting next week, all home games will be held at the Xfinity Sports Arena. The new space features stadium style seating and a hard floor, in contrast to the turf they’ve been used to.
Parker Rangers at Colorado Springs Wolves – Senior A
Saturday, September 2nd at 7:00 pm
Xfinity Sports Arena – Colorado Springs, CO
Denver Buzz at Parker Rangers – Senior B
Sunday, September 3rd at 6:00 pm
The Events Center – Fort Collins, CO
Hastings Walleye at Blaine Lycans – Game 4
Wednesday, August 30th at 7:30 pm
Schwan Super Rink – Blaine, MN