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 Oregon led the country this week by launching their first game ahead of Minnesota and Colorado.
A crowd rolled in by the hundreds for the first senior level box lacrosse game in Oregon since the NLL’s defunct Lumberjax left in 2009. RBLL Oregon’s Portland River Monsters were set to play host to the Beaverton Mountaineers in Game 1 of a best of seven series.
For the first crack at an endeavor like this, spectatorship made of family and significant others is the norm. In a state that’s not currently overwhelmed by the indoor movement, drawing a crowd that large, in the first-ever game, is an incredible sign for the future of the RBLL in the Pacific Northwest.
That’s just game one. So much more has to go right to get those butts back into seats for the rest of the season. Aside from the legitimacy from the top down, the final score of 21-20 should have caught the interest of enough fans to pack out the barn in Beaverton next weekend.
Mountaineers 21, River Monsters 20
Getting Off the Ground
In the opening two minutes of the game, both teams found a way to put their first goals on the board. The tone was set that this was going to be a back and forth showdown all night. RBLL Oregon’s inaugural tally was appropriately buried by offensive star Michael Marcott, his first of five scores and two points.
Beaverton set the tempo early and laid heavily into goaltender Kyle Hamburger (.741), sinking goals through excellent teamwork. The gap was extended to 7-2 over halfway through the first period and the visitors were starting to control the game. In the second period, Portland dug their heels in and fought back against the onslaught. By the 15th minute of the frame, a three-way effort from Dakota Wolfe Norman, Charlie White, and Kinnon Roy brought the River Monsters within one, 12-11.
The Mountaineers would land some devastating blows over the next six minutes, keeping momentum rolling through the start of the third. Marcott and Martin Winter both completed hat tricks, while two other Beaverton shooters pitched in to push the game to 17-11. The first leg of the third period was a back and forth exchange between both squads before Portland would start to piece together a run of their own. Down six, the games started to turn around, one goal at a time, around the 5:50 mark.
Hamburger would shut the doors over the next six minutes, while five different River Monsters found a way to get past back-up netminder Michael Kelley (.654). Kelley was called in after the second period to replace starter Michael Phillips (.744) suffering from temporary cramps. Kinnon Roy circled back around to bury the final goal of the streak, his 4th of the game, cutting the difference to one.
Barely a minute later, the Mountaineers posted their first goal in nearly 9 minutes, with Alex Tilson pushing them back up by two. With over a minute left on the clock, Portland had their chances, rallying for one last goal at the 14:25 mark.
Keeping It Clean
The problem was discipline. Portland committed 4 of their 13 penalties, 8 minutes of 32 total, in the third period. Meanwhile, Beaverton stayed clean through the final frame, collecting 15 minutes on 6 early infractions. The constant penalty kill for the River Monsters was likely the difference in the game, attempting to set a physical tone, but keeping them from quality offensive possessions.
Beaverton’s highly potent offense will continue to steer the ship through the season. The defense suffered late in the game, but putting the blame on the backup goaltender isn’t going to help them move forward. They did enough to win, but that kind of effort won’t hold off Portland all season. In a 41 goal game, there’s obviously gaps to fill by both defensive units and they’ve got a week to start ironing things out.
Keep an eye out for Portland’s Dakota Wolfe Norman (4+2) and Beaverton’s Michael Marcott (5+2) on the offensive ends. Both forwards were instrumental to their team’s successful first showing in the league and clear leaders on ball and off.
The Mountaineers now own the series lead, 1-0, going into Game 2 at home this weekend.
An exciting announcement came out of the Parker Rangers training camp this week. Bringing a wealth of experience to the team and coaching staff, the Rangers have inked Colorado Mammoth legend Brian Langtry as Assistant Coach.
The longtime Mammoth defensemen developed into one of the greatest American box lacrosse players to hit the floor. The Hofstra grad, of Massapequa, NY, competed for 10 years in Colorado eventually having his number retired by the organization in 2012. As a former member of the NLL’s Mammoth and MLL’s Outlaws, Langtry decided to plant his roots in the Parker area after retiring from playing.
Already with the team through training camp and practice, having a mind like Langtry’s around should provide immediate results to Parker’s already impressive lineup.
Portland at Beaverton – Game 2
Friday, August 18th at 8:10 pm
Indoor Goals – Beaverton, OR
Hastings Walleye at Blaine Lycans – Game 1
Saturday, August 19th at 7:00 pm
Schwan Super Rink – Blaine, MN