Aries 1, 2078, m249
It was a close game for the Wildcards. And it was Mateo Martinez’s day to work his magic.
The 27-year-old San Olympus native continued his whirlwind scoring pace, sinking the two goals that lead to the Wildcard’s victory. After today’s performance, Martinez leads the league with a mind-blowing 14 goals after just three games.
“My teammates are really giving me lots of nice chances, so just doing my part,” said Martinez, laughing. “The Phantoms gave us a really good scare today. So we’re lucky to have come back from behind to win.”
The Wildcards’ comeback capped off a highly entertaining back and forth game which saw both teams snapping off the puck and intercepting plays at an electric pace.
Tia Halvorsen for the Wildcards opened up scoring after just 3 minutes of the first period with a sharp angle shot that slipped through the Phantoms goalie, Vivien Lewis.
The Wildcards would add to that lead as Carl Lindberg beat Lewis with a one-timer from the left circle just before the end of the first period.
Refusing to go quietly, the Phantoms roared back in the second period as Aaron Bello’s lethal snapshot after just 40 seconds of play whizzed past a screened Jules Arquette for the Phantoms’ first goal of the game.
Four minutes later, Phantoms defender Alex Gaumond took possession of play in a surprising breakaway down center ice, deftly dodging an aggressive play by Wildcard defender Arquette, to backhand the puck.
With less than 20 seconds left in second period Peter Lehmann tipped a shot from Gaumond into the net to bring the score to Phantoms-3, Wildcards 2.
And when the third period started, the Mateo Magic Show would begin.
Right past the two minute mark, Wildcards’ Amelia Harris delivered a beautiful 180-spin pass that freed up Mateo Martinez for an one-on-one with Lewis. Martinez’s uncanny sense of timing gave him an edge as he faked out Lewis, and slapped the puck between the goalie’s pads to bring the score back to a tie.
A 12 minute stalemate of blocked shots, brilliant saves, and breakneck passes was broken in the final moments of the game.With less than a minute left to play, Martinez sliced through the middle of the ice and between defenders to get a shot off, beating Lewis’ high glove side for the winning goal!
With this win, the Wildcards move to 3 and 1 for season while the Phantoms drop to 1 and 3.