METROPOLITAN RIVETERS CLAIM THEIR FIRST ISOBEL CUP
Metropolitan Riveters 1, Buffalo Beauts 0
On their second shot of the game, the Metropolitan Riveters scored the only goal from Alexa Gruschow who put the puck in from a difficult angle after her first shot was blocked. After that it was a tense battle which saw both goaltenders turn away shots. The Riveters’ Katie Fitzgerald made 28 saves and shut down the Buffalo Beauts late in the game for a 1-0 win.
Guschow was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
The Riveters finished the regular season with a record of 13-3-0 then easily dispatched of the Connecticut Whale 5-0 in the semifinals for their first appearance in the Isobel Cup final and dethroned the defending champs.
BALTIMORE BLAST WIN YET ANOTHER MASL TITLE
Baltimore Blast 4, Monterrey Flash 3
The Blast opened with a strong first half in front of a hostile crowd of 8,220 with goals from Vini Dantas, Andrew Hoxie and Daniel Peruzzi to a 3-0 lead at halftime. After a goal from Monterrey’s Edgar Gonzalez, Juan Pereria scored for Baltimore to extend their lead back to a 3-goal difference at 4-1. The Flash stormed back with two goals but the Blast defense was able to hold off the Monterrey rally to secure their third straight Ron Newman Cup title.
The Baltimore Blast have now won their 10th indoor title in team history. The Blast have been in the finals in 13 of the past 16 seasons.
Goalkeeper William Vanzela was playing in only his second game after returning from injury and finished the night with eight saves and strong down the stretch to help the Blast protect their one-goal lead. Vanzela needed only to make one last save in the final two minutes as the Flash brought on the extra attacker.
There was a time when the Baltimore Blast could not seem to break through in the early days of their franchise. Each time they faced the New York Arrows they would come up short but the times have changed and now the Blast are the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) dynasty.
BALTIMORE BLAST 10, MILWAUKEE WAVE 6
In the Eastern Conference final, the Blast jumped out to a commanding 7-3 lead at halftime as Tony Donatelli, Daniel Peruzzi and Adriano Dos Santos scored goals in the second period against the Milwaukee Wave. The Wave stormed back in the third period to close within 7-6. Baltimore’s Vini Dantas took back the momentum as he jumped in front of a Wave clearance attempt and headed a ball past a surprised Josh Lemos into an open goal a minute into the fourth quarter. The Blast scored twice more to seal the win and their fourth trip to the championship game.
MONTERREY FLASH 6, SAN DIEGO SOCKERS 4
The Monterrey Flash broke open a 3-3 game in the Western Conference final against the San Diego Sockers in front of a home crowd of 6,086 fans with goals from Edgar González and Omar Santillan to put the Flash up 5-3. The Sockers outshot Monterrey 8-3 in the fourth period but the Flash weathered the storm and capitalized on some crucial defensive breakdowns to wrap up the win.
The Ron Newman Cup final will be played in Monterrey on March 25th in a rematch of the 2015 final won by the Flash in a thrilling two games to one series. The Flash won the series deciding game 4-3 in overtime. The 2018 final will be a one-game final.
Monterrey posted a league-leading 20-2 record in the regular season. They have outscored their playoff opponents 23-16. The Flash sat out the last two seasons before re-entering the league this season.
Baltimore is seeking their third straight championship. The Blast defeated Sonora Soles in the last two finals winning both deciding games in overtime. Baltimore finished the regular season 17-5. All five losses have been on the road.
The Ron Newman Cup kicked off the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) postseason with four division titles on the line. Here is how they fared:
Eastern Division: Baltimore defeated Syracuse 2 games to 0.
The two-time defending champs didn’t exactly breeze through their divisional series with Syracuse. The Blast edged the Silver Knights 7-6 and 5-4 to sweep the series. Baltimore took a commanding 5-1 lead into the final quarter of the opener of the series and held off the Silver Knights as they were outscored 5-2 in the final quarter. Baltimore built yet another lead in game two with a 4-1 lead in the third but Syracuse stormed back to make it 4-3 early in the fourth. Baltimore’s Daniel Peruzzi scored with less than four minutes left to give the Blast an insurance goal which stood up in the end after another Syracuse goal with seconds left.
Central Division: Milwaukee defeated Cedar Rapids 2 games to 0.
Max Ferdinand scored the game winning and series winning goal with 10:24 left in the fourth quarter then the Milwaukee Wave held on 9-8 to advance to the semifinals. Ian Bennett scored Milwaukee’s game winner 44 seconds into overtime for an 8-7 win.
Southwest Division: Monterrey defeated Sonora 2 games to 0.
Brayan Aguilar had a hat-trick for the Monterrey Flash in game two to clinch the series 9-5 after winning the series opener 8-7. The teams were tied 5-5 in the third quarter of game one when until Carlos Farias scored back-to-back goals to take a 7-5 lead. Monterrey held onto the lead to take the opener on Sonora’s home turf. Franck Tayou had a hat trick for Sonora.
Pacific Division: San Diego defeated Tacoma 2 games to 1.
The San Diego-Tacoma series was the only division final that went to a tie-breaker game. Tacoma opened the series with a 5-2 win at Tacoma. The Sockers rallied to win game two at home by routing the Stars 9-3 to force a mini-game. The Sockers stormed out to a 5-0 lead in the first five minutes to cruise to the series-clinching win. Five different players scored for San Diego.
The division winners will now advance to play in a one-game semifinal match. The Baltimore Blast will play the Milwaukee Wave in one semifinal game and the Monterrey Flash will face the San Diego Sockers in the other semifinal. The Blast edged the Wave in last year’s semifinal game while the Sockers lost to Sonora