The first semi was a tough act to follow. The Western Conference showdown proved to be just as tight of a game. It came down to finish not flash, and Hollywood flash was there in spades. Denver stepped up in the end beating LA 13-12 in front of a seemingly pro-LA crowd of 8,134. Denver’s Jeff Sonke earned game MVP honors with four goals including a 2-pt goal.
Denver had a less than stellar Boston outing two weeks ago losing 20-14 to the Cannons. The Outlaws packed more punch in the semifinal most notably, Sonke and Powell. Powell worked the ball harder around the crease and took more heat. Schwartzman came alive pushing up the ball on every opportunity giving Denver precious scoring opportunities on transition, whereas LA wasn’t able to convert on settled offense late in the game. LA had the personnel and the moves to make the final: Woodson, Huntley, Hubbard, Watson, and Harrison. If goals were assigned artistic weight, LA would have outdone Denver. However, it’s the Confucian aphorism that prevails: execute and win.
LA came out strong scoring the first three goals but ultimately lost the period 3-4. Woodson jump started the game with a behind the back off the rebound (:31). Huntley converted on the powerplay going low to high off the pass from Harrison. LA showed good ball movement, which was met by equally prompt Denver slides. Wes Green hit stick side top shelf off another pass from Harrison (3-0). Denver’s Ryan Powell worked the inside roll near pipe on the crease to get his team on the board (1-3). Brian Langtry follwed with a righty overhanded bouncer on the run (2-3). Benson Erwin came up with the equalizer off a pass from Powell who drew keeper Mikey Jarboe out of the cage (3-3). Brendan Mundorf notched his first goal on a powerplay rolling the crease from X (4-3).
LA beat out Denver slightly in the second 3-2. Huntley took Schwartzman with the lefty rip (4-4). Hubbard scored one of the nicest goals of the afternoon. Woodson dished off to Hubbard who was cutting in from high. Hubbard shot behind the back stick side low (5-4). Powell responded with a power inside roll choking up high and hard on the stick (5-5). Michael Watson whose poster shot as a Cannon hung huge and high in the stadium had the second nicest goal of the afternoon with the righty wrap no-look shot completely around his defender hitting upper 90 right. Powell gave his team the tie going into the half with another inside roll off the double (6-6).
The third period was tight with each team sitting on three a piece. Denver’s Matt Brown got his defender on his back and took Schwartzman through the five-hole (7-6). LA banked a pair of goals from Anthony Kelly and Kevin Buchanan (Hubbard). Denver answered with a pair of goals from Sims and Sonke, who scored on the righty overhand bouncer. Chazz Woodson tied it up coming around X after doubled by Schwartzman and one-arms the ball on the lefty dive into the crease.
Denver beat out LA 3-2 in the final quarter. Each squad opened with and dropped two point shots. Huntley had a clutch crank off a pass from Harrison. Denver responded with another two-point bomb from Sonke to tie up the game 11-11. Peter Striebel passed to Sonke, who finished with a righty overhand bouncer stick side (12-11). LA got their last goal of the game from Greg Downing (unassisted). Downing beat his defender lefty with speed and went inside (12-12). Sonke clenched with win and berth in the final with his side arm on the run. Sonke beat Jarboe with the five-hole bouncer. Final score Denver 13 LA 12. Denver will meet Rochester in the final on Sunday at 13:00.
Denver Outlaws vs. La Riptide