Wonderful Weekend from Durango to Denver

Fort Lax traveled to Denver this weekend for some R&R, a chance to (R)ebound from a tough loss, and (R)eturn to top form.  It didn’t hurt to relax and catch up with our many friends and family on the front range either.  Absolutely picture perfect weather was just the first highlight of the long drive between Durango and Denver, the weekend was full of great plays on the field as well.  With finals looming this week, and our final home game against rival Western State next Friday, this weekend provided one last respite from the daily stresses of our small mountain college town.

Friday night’s 14-6 victory of RMLC DII East opponent, the Metro State Roadrunners saw the Skyhawks take control early and not let up against a team they are likely to play in the opening round of the RMLC playoffs in two weeks.  An early 4-0 lead was reduced to 4-3 at the end of the first quarter, but the Fort would respond with 5 goals, all assisted in the second quarter to take control.  Aggressive defense and ground ball domination, aided by a 15-8 advantage on faceoffs for the game, held the usually explosive Roadrunner attack to only 3 second half goals.  Cody Viereck continued his strong play in goal for the Skyhawks, and got the game ball after making 14 saves, several of them robbing point blank chances.   

There wasn’t much time to rest for Fort Lax after the game, as they had an exhibition game against Denver University’s men’s club team on Saturday afternoon.  With DU Club being a mystery team because they are non-MCLA, it was hard to know what to expect before the game.  What the throng of Fort Lewis fans got to witness was one of the most exciting games in Fort Lax history.  The game was held at Barton Stadium at DU, a gorgeous venue with stovetop hot turf thanks to the record April high temperatures in Denver.  DU was short handed, but had talent at every position and scored several surprising individual effort goals throughout the game.  The game was back and forth until DU took a 12-7 lead early in the 4th quarter, thanks to a rash of Skyhawk penalties.  In what is becoming typical Fort Lax fashion, the Skyhawks did not give up, and they began their own rally.  A 6 goal 4th quarter was highlighted by highlight reel action on both ends of the field for Fort Lewis, including the final 4 goals in the last 4 minutes of the game (which was being played running-clock style).  Kevin Harkey led the way for the Fort with a 5 goal, 3 assist effort, including a left handed rocket on the run that pinged the corner with less 10 seconds left in the game to send it to overtime.  The first overtime game of the year was over quick, and left the Skyhawks happy, as Fort Lewis won a hard-fought groundball off the faceoff and put together a string of passes until Paul Larson (3g, 1A) found Grant Arthurs (3g, 2A) who buried the game winner to start the Fort celebration.  It may not have counted on the standings, but this game was a perfect tuneup for the Skyhawks to prepare for the playoff atmosphere.  Thanks to DU for having us at such a wonderful venue, on such a beautiful day, and for giving us an awesome game.

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