Can-Am: Tonawanda defeats Rochester 14-11

Photo Credit: Rocco J. Granato

Braves use 7-1 second period to slay River Monsters in season opener.

The Rochester River Monsters (0-1) opened their 2018 campaign at Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex as they faced the Tonawanda Braves (1-0) in Can-Am Sr. B lacrosse action. Unfortunately for the River Monsters, they fell to the Braves 14-11.

Last season the Braves defeated the River Monsters pretty handily in both their meetings, so to say the tension was at a boiling point at the start would be an understatement. For the officials to tell the coaches to control their players tells you the type of game you are in for.

Each team had eight power play chances. The Braves converted on five while the River Monsters hit on six. The teams had a number of minor penalties and at least two major penalties each. So whatever talk the coaches had (or didn’t have) fell on deaf ears.

The Braves started quick by scoring the first two goals of the game just 11 seconds apart and looked to control the game. Tonawanda would go on a two-man advantage but the River Monsters would not only kill both penalties, but they would score soon after, as James Schutt would come off a pick-and-roll and beat goaltender Wayne Abrams. Tonawanda’s Steven Poodry would net his second of the game just 47 seconds later. Then it seemed the Braves started to get into the physicality of the game, but took it a level higher.

Rochester would take advantage as they scored four straight goals in 2:34, three of which were on the man advantage. Tonawanda would score the final goal of the first period just 30 seconds later and trailed by one.

The Braves would start the second period pretty much the way they started the game by scoring the first three to regain a two goal lead. But the River Monsters captain Jordan Jarvis would get them within a goal off a loose ball restart. This would be the only goal Rochester would score in the second period. The Braves would score four more times to take full control and go into the second intermission leading 11-6.

The final period almost seemed to get away from the Braves. After both teams scored twice and with the Braves holding a five goal lead, they would do the unthinkable. Within 30 seconds the Braves would pick up not one, but two five minute majors. This gave the River Monsters a chance to cut the lead to a goal. Rochester scored three times and brought the score to 13-11 and completely had the momentum. But Tonawanda would go on a power play after head coach Chad Pino was ejected for arguing a non-call on what seemed to be a very high hit. With under two minutes to go the Braves sealed the game to get their first win of the season 14-11.

Nine different players registered goals for Tonawanda. Leading the way for the Braves were Mike Smoke (4G/2A), Steven Poodry (2G/2A) and Geoffrey Besser (1G/4A).

Rochester had seven different players get into the goal scoring column. Leading the way for the River Monsters were Bobby DeFreeze (3G/1A), Troy Haefele (2G/2A) and Jordan Jarvis (1G/3A).