The good news is that a 13-5 loss to the RMLC D1AA Utah State Aggies doesn’t hurt the Skyhawks goals of winning a D2 championship. The bad news is, losing is not as fun as winning. Fort Lax was riding high after sweeping conference rivals in Denver over the weekend, but the 3rd game in four days was just too much for this young team. Now, they have a week off to regroup before crucial matchups against national contenders Saint Mary’s College and Montana State University during spring break. How this team responds will depend on how they deal with adversity, do they dwell on it, or learn from it?
The Skyhawks came out with great intensity in the 1st quarter, staking themselves to a 2-1 lead that could have been much bigger if not for the great saves of USU goalie David Colby. His 16 saves and 84% save rate were easily the difference in the game, as he would continually frustrate the hard shooting Skyhawks. Maybe it was tired legs, or desperation, inconsistent officiating, or too much enthusiasm, whatever it was, the Fort couldn’t stay out of the penalty box against the Aggies. 15 minutes of penalties against the Skyhawks (a full quarter’s worth) spelled the downfall of these birds. Utah State followed up a 6 goal 2nd quarter with 5 unanswered goals in the 3rd to hold a 12-3 lead going into the fourth quarter. Despite the best efforts of the Skyhawks, and great enthusiasm from the Fort bench and FLC fans, all that Fort Lax could muster was 2 more hard earned goals in the 4th frame.
A loss like this can drive coaches crazy, as if there is nothing that went right in the game. That is far from the truth, however, as the Fort showed glimpses of their potential with great individual and team plays throughout the game. Unfortunately, inexperience reared its ugly head, and the Fort heads back to the practice field humbled and ready to eliminate the miscues that haunted them in their first home game. They now have to wait a month to play in beautiful Durango again, but I believe they will be ready.