DENVER, CO – The first installment of the I-25 Derby is in the books with the Colorado Blizzard extinguishing in-state rival Colorado Inferno, 9-6.
From the opening whistle, this game did not disappoint. Early in the first, the Inferno got caught with an extra player on the field, causing them to have to play a man down for two minutes. The Blizzard capitalized on the man advantage, when defender Brice Colcombe struck an excellent shot from distance with one second remaining in the power play. A few minutes later, the Blizzard struck again when Jay Hamilton beat Inferno goalkeeper Justin Dzuba, assisted by Stibe Torres. The Inferno got one back before the period ended, Thomas Hoang from Justin Dzuba, taking us into the intermission with the Blizzard up 2-1.
In the second quarter, it took a mere 13 seconds for the Blizzard to increase their lead on a nice goal by forward Cody Stratton, assisted by defender Alex Moseley. For the next approximately 13 minutes, however, there were no goals, despite a ton of action and physical play. When the goals finally came, it was the Inferno striking twice before halftime. The first by Armando Gonzalez, unassisted, and the second by Francisco Rivas, assisted by Hoang, making it 3-3 at half.
Stratton would start the scoring in the second half for the Blizzard at 13:56 of the third off a Jay Hamilton pass. Then 26 seconds later, Colcombe netted his second goal on the night, assisted by Luke Burgard, making it 5-3. Hoang scored with 6:14 left in the third to bring the Inferno to within one.
The Blizzard scored first in the fourth quarter, Moseley from Shane Wheeler, and would go on to outscore the Inferno 4-2 in the period. The nail in the Inferno’s coffin came when Torres scored twice in under a minute, the second with 4:14 remaining in the match. Stratton completed his hat trick, with 55 seconds to play, on a shot from his defensive third toward an empty net, as Inferno goalie Justin Dzuba gave chase. Dzuba had ventured forward playing as a sixth attacker in an attempt to close the gap in the score line. Sometimes the extra attacker pays off, sometimes it does not.
The game ended with the Blizzard victorious, 9-6. The two rivals meet again on January 19, this time at the Inferno’s home field in Colorado Springs, in what is sure to be another excellent game. The Blizzard currently sit atop the Eastern Conference, just edging out the Chicago Mustangs, and are back in action against the Arizona Impact on January 14, kicking off a three-game road trip. Their next home game is on February 3 versus San Diego Sockers 2, kickoff at 7:05 pm. Tickets are available at http://www.axs.com or at the Coliseum box-office.