It was the tale of two halves in a RMLC West showdown between the Fort Lewis Skyhawks and the Utah Valley University Wolverines on a beautiful Saturday morning in Orem, UT. A 5-4 halftime lead by the Skyhawks exploded into a 13-5 advantage as the Fort dominated in all phases in the third quarter. Continued strong play by the Skyhawk reserves ended the game with the final 19-6 score. Led by freshman defenseman Shaun Koenig, who received the game ball for his shut down play against Wolverine leading scorer Jordan Gerber (1g, 1a), the Skyhawks played a controlling game defensively. The Fort defense allowed 2 goals on only 6 shots in the entire second half, and goalie Cody Viereck made a couple of excellent saves to prevent UVU from ever regaining momentum. With the win, Fort Lewis moves to 8-2 on the season going in to a division showdown with #3 ranked Westminster this Friday, April 13th at Fort Lewis’ Cedar Field.
Fort Lewis lost only two faceoffs in the second half, winning 21 of 28 draws for the game. Fort freshman Grant Arthurs won 9 of 10 faceoffs to go with 11 groundballs and 3 goals on the day. The Fort outshot UVU 64-21 for the contest, with Wolverine goalie Grant Kendall making 17 strong saves. The Skyhawks were led on offense by senior attack Paul Larson’s 4 goals and 3 assists, and middie Brian Lynch who also added 4g, 3a. Defensive midfielder Drew Larson made one of the plays of the game by winning a faceoff with the score at 8-4 and driving past the UVU defense to score, the first of two strong goals he would score on the day. Groundball play contributed to the Fort Lewis victory, as the Skyhawks won 59 gbs to only 38 for UVU.
For complete game stats go http://mcla.us.
This game has historically determined playoff seeding in the RMLC DII West divison, with the loser unfortunately being left out of the big dance on occasion. The Wolverines are also a very young team, made up of freshmen and sophomores primarily. It was nice as a coach to see the team respond to my halftime challenge of playing, “The smartest game you have played all season.” We were plagued by unnecessary infractions in the first half, not playing disciplined on offense or transition, and not catching or throwing at the level we are capable of. To their credit, this young Skyhawk team made all the adjustments they needed to and came out with another gear in the second half. I still feel as though we have a long ways to go before we put together our best game, a full four quarters. The good news is, it seems to be that we are coming together at the right time, building character as the playoffs approach. Looking forward to a big home weekend this next weekend, as Mines and Westminster come to Durango. Our women’s program, and the local youth programs also have multiple games this weekend, if you get a chance to make it to Durango, it doesn’t get better than this weekend for lax fans in the area. Thanks to all the friends and family, and especially our bus driver, Pete Gavinski, for joining us in Orem for the game!