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 Minnesota followed Oregon, kicking off their action over the weekend.
Two down, one to go. First, RBLL Oregon cut the tape for the 2017 season, slightly over a week ago. Last weekend, RBLL Minnesota followed suit by launching their inaugural run with the Blaine Lycans visiting the Hastings Walleye. This coming week will feature the kickoff of Colorado’s second season, marking the first time all three IBLA states will be competing.
Before we can look too far ahead, we need to check back on the weekend’s two match-ups.
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MN: Lycans 16, Walleye 14
A packed house filled out the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, for the debut of RBLL Minnesota. With the upper and lower level seating full, the men gave their support something to get fired up about. Slinging rubber all game long, the new hometown heroes pulled off their very first win in their home arena.
Appropriately, the first goal in league history was buried by the legendary Aime Caines (5+3). As expected, Caines led the Walleye offensively in their first showing, registering 5 goals and 3 assists in the affair. Six other Hastings shooters would get in on the scoring action, but it wouldn’t be enough to out do the Lycans.
From the start, Jordan Roller (5+1) and Colin Hoch (5+1) were dialed-in, Hoch finding Roller for the initial Blaine goal. By the end of 60 minutes, the pair had accounted for 6 points each. Forward Ben Fairbanks (3+2) wasn’t far off their heels, coming alive in the second period to collect a hat trick and a pair of helpers on a few timely goals.
Caines would score the first two of the game for Hastings, before Jake Myhre (2+0) would make his presence known. Forward Pat Boyd (2+0) added to the effort with two second period tallies, while defenseman Ryan Gillard (2+0) would match feet with two back-to-back strikes at the halfway mark of the third.
“To stay in the win column we gotta keep it physical and keep our heads and play our game. We’ll compete and be ready to get back at it again.”
– Nick Midboe, Blaine forward
Facing a fair amount of firepower on the backend, net-minder Tyler Schmitz (.774) was the Lycans’ true star of the game. Schmitz turned away 48 shots on goal, slightly over three-quarters of what was thrown at him.
Between the opposite pipes, Dean Johnson (.738) also had a strong showing in week one. Johnson blocked 45 shots out of 61 on target, playing all 60 minutes.
With about 5 minutes left, the game drew closer, with the Walleye pulling within two. Penalties committed by Blaine helped Hastings climb back in, posing a late comeback. Then the Walleye earned a minor of their own, hurting any chance of a final surge down the stretch.
Player-coach Caines would continue to follow up with more success through the second and third periods. He was first in, last out, scoring the first and final goals of the night, but it wasn’t enough to pull off the home win.
50 total minutes of penalty time racked up over the course of the game. 26 for the Walleye, 24 by the Lycans. I’m not sure exactly how successful either powerplay or penalty-kill was, but I can be sure that these defenses weren’t appreciating it. Now that the teams are familiar with each other and the format, it’s likely these minutes should tone down a bit.
“The guys now understand the pace of play and the rules and the guys had fun. We tried to use our numbers to our advantage this game and we’ll do the same in game 2.”
– Chris Sherman, Blaine Coach
The teams will split a home-and-away series this weekend, starting Friday in Hastings, then back to Blaine on Saturday.
OR: River Monsters 25, Mountaineers 18
Trying to outdo the opener in Portland, the attendance numbers swelled for Beaverton’s first crack at hosting the RBLL Oregon. Unfortunately for the home crowd, the River Monsters held the pedal to the medal off the opening whistle, rarely letting up through all three periods.
It took 3 minutes of action before Scott Mettler (5+1) could break Beaverton goaltender Michael Kelley’s seal. Once the first ball broke through, the gate was opened for a 13 to 2 run, Portland laying it on heavy. Michael Marcott (5+2), twice, was the lone Mountaineer to crack the code of Kyle Hamburger in the opposing net. That was until Tucker Macalalad (5+2) snuck a late one in, making it 13-3 at the end of the first.
Portland took off running, again, with Charlie White burying his 3rd goal of the game in the opening seconds of the ensuing period. Continuously trying to stop the flood, Macalalad momentarily slowed things down with another tally for Beaverton. Fighting back to keep the difference in double-digits, Dakota Wolfe Norman (2+0)wol and defenseman Garrett Goshorn (2+1) each followed up with their first goals of the game, pushing things to 16-4.
Turning a Corner
Then there was a flash of brilliance out of the Beaverton camp. Tired of taking a lashing, Alex Tilson (2+1) threw the first punch, landing their 5th goal at the 9:13 mark. Just 8 seconds later, Macalalad made it a hat trick, then 9 more seconds later, went back for fourths. Patrick Verdun (1+1) got in on the action for the Mountaineers and buried another, less than 40 seconds later, and we suddenly we had, 16-8, game.
Quieting the hometown crowd, Kinnon Roy (3+3) buried his third and final of the contest for Portland, just 5 seconds after. Not letting them steal away all momentum, Game 1 star Michael Marcott returned the favor by registering another Beaverton goal.
Going back to work, we would hear Macalalad’s name once more through the PA, using his 5th goal of the night to get his squad within 7.
Wolfe Norman and Mettler immediately pushed back with two quick strikes and things were slipping away from Beaverton once more. The Mountaineers would find a way to get back on the board, but the final five, or so, minutes of the second period were nearly a stalemate.
The third period featured another 13 shots finding the back of the net. For the second frame in a row, the Mountaineers actually put more rubber into the net, but that, 13-3, first period is what buried them early. Beaverton got a few more out of Marcott, and a pair from Adzian Macdonald (2+2), in the final frame. It’s interesting that 8 Beaverton shooters had success, contrasting 9 from Portland. It wasn’t the volume of shots, but the accuracy of which they were placed that made the difference. That, in combination with a lockdown performance from Hamburger.
For Portland, once the fire struck hot, the boys didn’t stop hammering. Kinnon Roy, Benton Souers (3+2), and Wesley Vanden Brink (3+1) all pulled off a hat trick, while Charlie White (5+2) and Scott Mettler were five deep. That kind of action, out of five guys, really pulls the weight off the rest of the roster to bury shots and it lets roles stay more defined.
The series will head back to Portland for one game next weekend. It’s guaranteed to fill up, so fans should try to be in the doors well before the 7:00 draw for a prime seat.
Over the next two weeks, RBLL Colorado’s Senior B teams will compete on the road at The Events Center in Fort Collins. Currently without a team in the RBLL, the league will use the neutral site to test the waters up north for potential expansion.
It was also announced this week that Coach Shawn Archer will be taking the reigns of the Sr. B Rangers, in time for the weekend’s game.
Their Senior A counterparts will kick off the second season with the battle of expansions. Denver travels south to Colorado Springs on Saturday, while the Stars and Rangers will focus on their last few practices to prepare for their debuts.
Denver Buzz at Colorado Springs Wolves – Senior A
Saturday, August 26th at 7:00 pm
Soccer Haus – Colorado Springs, CO
Parker Rangers at Mile High Stars – Senior B
Sunday, August 27th at 6:00 pm
The Events Center – Fort Collins, CO
Beaverton Mountaineers at Portland River Monsters – Game 3
Saturday, August 26th at 7:00 pm
PDX Sports Center – Portland, OR
Blaine Lycans at Hastings Walleye – Game 2
Friday, August 25th at 7:30 pm
Hastings Civic Center – Hastings, MN
Hastings Walleye at Blaine Lycans – Game 3
Sunday, August 27th at 5:00 pm
Schwan Super Rink – Blaine, MN