The Colorado Blizzard opened their season in the new Major Arena Soccer League 2, the second division of professional indoor soccer, with a victory over the Detroit Waza Flo, 10-2. There was a good crowd for a mid-December match and the atmosphere was electric.
The Blizzard looked a bit nervous early in the first period, which is to be expected playing for the first time in a pro league in a new arena. Those nerves didn’t stay long. By the end of the first they settled in, though down 1-0 on a goal by Ricardo Lopes.
Yves Fru would net the Blizzard’s first goal in “M2” at 7:59 of the second period from Jay Hamilton. The Blizzard hit the post several times in the quarter, but the score remained 1-1 at halftime.
The Waza, led by veteran brothers Dominic and Mario Scicluna, may have fared better without a halftime intermission, having traveled from Detroit for a two-game set that saw them fall to Blizzard cross-state rivals the Colorado Inferno, 17-7, the night before in Colorado Springs. Waza Head Coach Mario Scicluna emphasized how tough road trips can be in the MASL and that the complete Waza team had not trained or played together prior to the trip.
The third period was a “white out” with the Blizzard outscoring the Waza 8-0 and taking a 9-1 lead into the final frame. Goals came from Co-Captain/Assistant Coach Tony Avery (2), Andrew White (2), Stibe Torres (2), Luke Burgard (1), and Jay Hamilton (1).
Ricardo Lopes would score a short-handed goal for the Waza in the fourth making it 9-2 and Burgard would cap off the Blizzard’s scoring with 20 seconds remaining, his second goal of the night.
Blizzard goalkeeper Jarod Thomas was outstanding and earned the 1st Star for the match. He faced 21 shots and boasted an .875 save percentage. Stibe Torres took the 2nd star with his good two-way play and two goals and the Waza’s Ricardo Lopes captured the 3rd star.
I caught up with Tony Avery after the match who told me that the Blizzard will get to train at the Coliseum over the next two weeks because the turf and boards will remain in place as there are no events scheduled at the Coliseum. This is huge for their preparation. They had not trained at their home field prior to the game.
The Blizzard are back in action to face off with rival Colorado Inferno this coming Saturday, December 23 at the Denver Coliseum, 7:05 pm. Tickets are available at www.axs.com.