The Armory pulled away in the fourth quarter to seal a victory against the Rapids 14-10 Thursday night at The Blue Cross Arena in game that had more of a feel of an old school hockey game than a collegiate level lacrosse game.
The Rapids played with nine men, coached by possibly the best offensive duo in the National Lacrosse League in Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne. The Armory were without team star Casey McDermott due to injury, Mark Belles, and head coach Jordan Jarvis.
The Armory trio that rose to the occasion consisted of Alec Constable (0+4), Rioux Johnson (2+1) and Tyler Goode (2+0). The game was brutal, it ended early due to a fight that ended in an injured referee with three minutes to go.
When the first quarter started, the Armory looked like a clear favorite for one reason, the Rapids had four players on their bench. The Armory came out swinging, bagging a three-goal run into the middle of the first quarter, led by Nathan Schultzkie (1+2) with two assists.
The Rapids then got one back with a power-play goal before the duo of Kellen Pulera (5+0) and Christian Watts (3+2) got the Rapids within one. The teams exchanged one more goal apiece in the waning moments of the quarter with Watts scoring for the Rapids with three seconds left to make the score 4-3.
The start of the second quarter was the only time Armory truly looked like they were losing, as they carried a power-play from the first to the second quarter and dropped two shorthanded goals to the Rapids. This was the only time the game was tied all night as Johnson and Brandon MacDonell (2+0) each scored a few minutes later to extend their lead and never truly look back from a scoreboard standpoint.
The beginning of the second half had the same fire as the first. The Rapids got within one to start. Although that was followed by two Armory goals, the second of which was scored by Shane Roach on a shorthanded opportunity. The Rapids tightened up offensively to end the third as they brought themselves back within one and were starting to get into the heads of The Armory.
In the fourth quarter that underlying momentum died. Total Armory domination ensued, racking a three-goal run in seven minutes manipulated by Constable and Johnson. Their second goal came on a power-play and their third shorthanded, the work of unassisted Johnson.
Mark Henderson (1+0) put the nail in the coffin with 4:05 left in the game and chaos ensued.
Off the ensuing face-off, Johnson was leveled by three Rapids defenders and pushed all the way over to the benches leading to an eventual bench-clearing brawl between the two teams.
After the dust settled, the game was called with 3:17 remaining and the score 14-10 in favor of the Armory.
The same two teams are back in action again on Monday, July 18 at The Blue Cross Arena.