Taurus 1, 2078, m249
The best two teams in Round 1 faced-off today.
The Moles with 5 wins mostly thanks to the powerhouse that was Fredrick Mattila (with 9 goals), and the strong team chemistry led by the San Olympus female trifecta: Janice Campbell, Kara Okeke, and Vicky Li.
Right on their tails, are the Wildcards with 4 wins. Their success was largely powered by the oneman goal-machine, Martinez, who scored a mind-blowing 17 goals in the first exhibition round! That’s double that of his nearest competition – Fredrick Mattila of the Moles.
“I’ve had this date circled for a while”, said Martinez leading up to this match. “Payback is coming. We’re ready for them”
In this highly anticipated rematch of the two powerhouses, the sold out Wendland crowd was treated to a tense and tightly contested battle with the Moles narrowly edging out the Wildcards in a thrilling 2 to 1 overtime win.
Goalie Sam Bailey was brilliant with 17 saves today. Defenders Kara Okeke and Laura Hall provided the rest as they tag-teamed the defense.
“It’s like they had three goalies out there,” said Wildcards Captain Samuel Marquez.
A loose puck that deflected from the net by Arquette lead to a mad scramble for possession in front of the Wildcard’s net. Laura Hall was able to fish out the puck and rip it into the top corner to give the Moles the lead.
The Moles held on to the lead with air-tight defence. Constantly frustrating the Wildcards’ offensive attempts until Martinez finally broke through after 2 minutes into third period.
Martinez was able to drive in from the red line towards the net, dragging the Moles defender Vicky Li the whole way, as he froze Bailey for a slight moment before firing over Bailey’s outstretched glove to tie up the score.
Moles defenders stayed on top of Martinez for the remainder of the period—he was constantly forchecked by multiple players and what few shots he was able to get off were easily overturned.
As the game spilled into overtime, anticipation rose as both teams battled through quick-fire offensives and plays.
Vicky Li of the Moles was penalized for highsticking, giving the Wildcards a one-man advantage
A Marquez to Martinez one timer almost sent fans home but the shot clanged off the post wide.
The Moles were slapped with their own penalties after Harris was called for tripping Mattila at 7:23 of OT and poor Martinez was taken down by a forceful check from Li again at 11:09.
With seconds remaining in the power play, Martinez rushed the Wildcard net and was met by a stiff set of elbows from defender Kara Okeke. No penalty called.
“That was clearly roughhousing!” explodes Martinez after the match, “I can’t believe the ref didn’t call that.”
With Li exiting the penalty box, Wildcard defender Tia Halvorsen was trapped in an odd person rush. Campbell was able to streak pass Halvorsen after faking her out—and deftly flip the puck over Arquette’s shoulder to claim the game for the Moles!
With the win, both teams joined the entire league at being tied at 1-1 in the standings.
Will the Moles build on this win and streak to dominance as they did in the first exhibition round? Will the Wildcards recover with Martinez rediscovering his magical scoring touch?
Stay tuned. For now, circle Taurus 22 on your calendar – the rematch at Marineris.