COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – The second installment of the I-25 Derby took place last night between the Colorado Blizzard and Colorado Inferno, this time on the Inferno’s turf, with the Blizzard winning 9-8 in sudden death overtime on an Alex Moseley goal. For those unaware, a derby (pronounced DAR-bee) is a sports game between two teams from the same city or region, most commonly used in the UK. Blizzard owner and GM Gary Faircloth, being from Swindon, England, coined the I-25 Derby. In the first derby between these two, back on December 23, the Blizzard won 9-6 at the Denver Coliseum.
Both teams battled hard all night in what is rapidly becoming a heated rivalry. Most of these players know each other. Many have played together or against each other, or both, at one point or another. Inferno goalkeeper Justin Dzuba and forward Thomas Hoang, among others, played for the Blizzard last season in the PASL. Hoang currently leads MASL2 in goals and points. He was held to just one goal by the Blizzard defense. The Blizzard does not have a player in the top five for goals or points, for now, but not for a lack of offense, rather because they have numerous players contributing. Moseley is second in the league in assists with seven and Stibe Torres is tied for the lead in game winning goals with two.
Hoang also leads the league in blue cards and penalty minutes, not a desirable stat to dominate. He was booked last night for elbowing, one of three penalties served by the Inferno. Two of the three penalties were capitalized on by the Blizzard. In the third quarter Judson Mckinney converted on a penalty kick, capping a hat trick, after Allen Fairey was shown the blue card for dragging a Blizzard player to the turf in the penalty area. Cody Stratton scored on a fourth quarter powerplay, his second goal of the game, to tie the score at 7-7, assisted by Moseley. The lone Blizzard two-minute penalty came in the second period (Andrew Mejia – tripping), but goalkeeper Miguel Rosales and the Blizzard penalty kill unit was up to the task and killed the penalty.
The Blizzard got on the board first and led 2-0 at the end of the first period. But then the Inferno scored five straight carrying over to the third period, blanking the Blizzard 4-0 in the second period. From there it went back and forth.
With the game tied 7-7 and 2:54 on the clock, Inferno defender Josue Jimenez scored to grab a late lead, assisted by Francisco Rivas. Just seven seconds later from the kickoff, the ball was played back to Rosales who served a beautiful pass from just inside the neutral zone to forward Ryan McAleer who, with his back to the goal, flicked a header past Dzuba into the net to tie it back up. That’s how regulation play ended, 8-8, sending the game to sudden death overtime.
Less than 20 seconds into OT the Inferno made a mistake. They cleared the ball from their zone directly out of bounds, resulting in a dangerous restart for the Blizzard from the top of the penalty area arc. Coach Wells elected not to burn the team’s timeout, feeling they might need it later in the period. Once the ball was placed, Mckinney set up to put it in play. He passed the ball to his left for an eagerly awaiting Moseley who smashed the game winner home. Blizzard win 9-8 and are undefeated at 5-0 in MASL2 and in first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Blizzard return home to the Denver Coliseum on Saturday, February 3 at 7:05pm versus San Diego Sockers 2, kicking off a four-game home stand. They then host the Las Vegas Knights on Saturday, February 10 at 7:05pm, the Colorado Inferno Sunday, February 11 at 3:05pm, and the Ontario Fury II on Saturday, February 17 at 7:05pm. Tickets are available at www.axs.com or at the Coliseum box-office.