Game of the Week: Mad Lads United cruise past International FC

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Mad Lads United forward Matt Kruszewski (orange) looks to dribble through three International FC (white) defenders. Picture by Franklin Heinzmann.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – Last Tuesday night, Mad Lads United hung double digit goals on International FC. Coming into the game International FC was winless through five games in Tuesday Men’s Soccer Upper, after winning the Tuesday Men’s Soccer Lower championship last session, and Mad Lads United sat comfortably with a 3-2-0 record.

Mad Lads United got off to a blazing start as Mad Lads United forward Austin Corsby scored just 80 seconds into the game. The thrashing didn’t stop there. Within the next two minutes, Matt Kruszewski broke an International FC defender’s ankles en route to putting a shot on goal, and Mad Lads United goalkeeper known as Audi, converted a penalty kick to make it 2-0. At that point shots on goal were 4-0 in favor of Mad Lads United.

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Mad Lads United GK Audi taking a penalty kick int he first half. Picture by Franklin Heinzmann.

With 8:44 left, Mad Lads United scored their third goal of the half thanks to Crosby. It was his second of the night. After the goal, players on International FC were visibly frustrated. With 4:46 left, their frustrations were ramped up further as Mad Lads United leading scorer Lucas Metzger scored off of a corner kick taken by Elio Kotzambasis.

Just before the halftime buzzer International FC’s Ryan Hoffmann got his team on the board. Mad Lads United were ahead at halftime in goals (4-1) and in Shots on Goal (10-4).

Just seconds after the second half started, Schwartz Abellend and George Tor, International FC’s leading scorers, arrived and provided a jolt of energy to their team’s game. They both scored within a matter of three minutes of arriving and 17 seconds apart to make it 4-3 Mad Lads United with 19:18 left to go.

Kruszewski tempered International FC’s momentum swing when he scored with 17:28 left to give Mad Lads United a 5-3 lead. He made another highlight worthy play when he set up Metzger for his second goal of the night with a pass that nutmegged an International FC defender.

With 12:02 left, Metzger shifted into overdrive as he secured a hattrick after he scored on a low driven shot, and scored a penalty 2:42 later to make it 8-3 Mad Lads United. This came after he was fouled by an International FC defender, so in retaliation he widened the margin significantly.

Metzger wasn’t the only one to an a hat trick on Tuesday night. Crosby did so with 7:04 left to make it 9-3. As if the nail in the coffin needed to be hammered, Mad Lads continued to put on the pressure for the rest of the game. Metzger added another goal to seal a five-goal performance with exactly a minute left to play.

Final Score:    Mad Lads United 10 International FC 3

Shots on Goal:  Mad Lads United 20 International FC 12

After the game, Metzger commented on his team’s ability to refocus and his five goal performance.

“I was happy to see us take the game back in the second half,” Metzger said. “We lost our focus for a bit there.” He also credited his teammates for putting him in a position to net five goals.

Next week International FC plays Santos FC, the other winless team in Tuesday Men’s Soccer Upper. Mad Lads United plays Mes Que FC, who are also 4-2-0.

If a player does not have a Player Pass or does not directly give an Epic Center employee their full last name, or last initial, then they’re identity will remain protected on Epic Center Sports Report.

 To see rules, standings, stats, and more head to epic-center.com.

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Dynamite edges out slumping Braves on final play

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Dynamites game-tying TD to Ed Starr (red). Video of the winning PAT available at https://youtu.be/PIcNr4KzFAI Pictures and videos by Sean Goodwin

Anytime a flag football game here at the Epic Center is decided on the very final play, that game is a guaranteed lock to be written about.  This past Monday we had another all time classic finish in the game between the Buffalo Braves and Dynamite.  Both teams were on opposite sides of the standings as the Braves were 2-4 and Dynamite was 4-2.  The Braves have had a very disappointing season compared to their normal level of play.  Their year started off with a week one matchup with Dynamite which the Braves lost by 20 points.  Dynamite stifled  Braves quarterback Chris Lonzi in that game, and caused him to only complete 12 out of his 28 attempted passes.  Meanwhile Dynamites quarterback Bobby had a fantastic first game of the season going 14-18 with five touchdowns passes.  Quarterback play turned out to be monumental in the game this past Monday.
I did not expect the game to be much of a defensive show, but early on I was proved to be dead wrong. Both the Braves and Dynamites first two drives ended with a turnover on downs.  I was very impressed with the Braves defense early on, and Dame Powell was racking up the flag grabs with three on Dynamites first eight plays.  Dynamite was able to break through the stalemate on their third drive.  A perfectly thrown ball from Bobby was hauled in by Ed Starr from 52 yards out for the games first score.  After the extra point it was 7-0, and with just two minutes on the clock it looked like that would be the score at halftime.  However, Lonzi completed a long 48 yard pass to John Helbringer on second down to put the Braves in terrific field position to tie the game before half.  Following two straight sacks from Ed Harof and Travis the Braves were faced with a fourth down from about thirty yards out.  Lonzi was able to get away from the pressure and fire a strike to Helbringer that was knocked away by Cowboy.  The half did not end there as a flag was thrown on the play for pass interference on Dynamite.  Lonzi and the Braves then recollected themselves and ran a terrific play to find Dame Powell in the end zone from one yard out.  The halftime buzzer sounded and the score was 7-7.
Unlike the first half, the second half got off to a fast start from both teams.  Bobby was finding Ed Starr on almost every play, and the methodical eight play drive was capped off with another touchdown catch by Mr. Starr.  The Braves wasted no time in getting the score back to even.  Following a terrific 25 yard scramble by Lonzi, Mohammed Saleh hauled in a 28 yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 13.  The next drive by Dynamite was ugly to say the least.  A completion for negative yardage, and three straight incompletions gave the ball back to the Braves. This left the door wide open for the Braves to grab their first lead of the game, and that is exactly what they did.  A signature Dame Powell screen went 38 yards to the house, and the Braves were just a minute and thirty seconds away from victory.  Bobby and his team looked very confident walking out on the field with such little time and trailing by six.  Dynamite moved the ball very quickly, and called their final timeout with five seconds left and with the ball about ten yards out from the goal line.  Bobby decided to run a goal line fade play to Ed Starr who was matched up man to man with Darryl Rocha.  Without thinking twice about it, Bobby took the snap and threw up a perfect looping ball to the corner of the end zone which Ed caught to tie the game up at 19.  The PAT was going to either decide the game or give us the first overtime game of the season.  I was able to capture on video the walk-off game winner which was completed to Chris Franjoine.  Dynamite had won 20-19 in one of the most thrilling flag football games I can remember here at Epic Center.  The player of the game was Ed Starr who had all three of his team touchdowns, and finished with six total catches for 139 yards.  Dynamite improved to 5-2 record while the Braves difficult season continued as they are now 2-5.  It will be another tough task to get their third win next week as they play undefeated Mega Chargers.  Dynamite will play Hellagoods who defeated Dynamite in their first matchup this season. 

Game of the Week: Invaders defeat Team Wheels in battle for first place

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Chaos in front of the Invaders (red) net, with a Team Wheels (blue) forward lurking. Picture by Franklin Heinzmann

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. –  Coming into last Tuesday night, both Team Wheels and Invaders were tied for second place with 11 points apiece, trailing league leaders Crystal Palace by only a point. Coming into the game, Invaders-Team Wheels was only thought of as two of the top Tuesday Roller Hockey Mixed teams facing off, but later in the evening, Crystal Palace lost to Helltwigs, thus making this week’s Game of the Week a battle for first place. It was Invaders who came away with the win and first place in the standings, as they defeated Team Wheels 6-5.

 

Just over two minutes into the game, Tuesday Roller Hockey Mixed leading scorer Jake Schiffman scored to give Team Wheels a 1-0 lead. Their lead was nullified just 26 seconds later when Invaders’ Joseph C. scored his first of the night. With 13:47 left in the first half, Vincent Santoro gave Invaders their first lead of the night when he scored by going glove-side high on Team Wheels goalie Evan Crage.

 

With just over 10 minutes left in the first half, Invaders’ Michael Kemp scored his first of the night to make it 3-1. Team Wheels’ Adam Cross retaliated with a goal of his own just two minutes later to close the Invaders lead to one.

 

With 3:11 left in the first half, Schiffman scored his second goal of the game to tie the score at three. Invaders had some chances to close out the half, but Crage made a couple key saves to keep the game tied. Shots on goal at halftime were 16-11 in favor of Invaders. Both teams preached the idea of a new slate in the second half.

 

Vincent Santoro started of the second half scoring a clapper, as the kids call it, from outside the Team Wheels circle with 18:41 left. Just 23 seconds later, another Santoro scored, this time it was Dom who made the score 5-3, Invaders.

 

From there on, Team Wheels went on the attack as they controlled possession and held Invaders to zero shots on goal through the next seven minutes. Team Wheels had put six shots on goal in that timespan, the sixth one got past Invaders goalie Grant Syzmarek thanks to a shot by Adam Cross. The score was 5-4 with 12:44 left in the game.

 

With 5:12 left in the game, Joseph C. scored his second of the night to make it 6-4, Invaders. This goal prompted Team Wheels to call a timeout to gather themselves, and make a push for the win.

 

The timeout paid off as Cross scored his third of the game to make the score 6-5. In the last minute of the game, Team Wheels really put the pressure on Invaders to try and tie the game.  Syzmanek came up big for Invaders making a clutch glove sve with 39 seconds left, and another game-saving save when he dove across the crease to stop a shot with 14 seconds left.

 

 

Final Score:    Invaders 6      Team Wheels 5

 

Shots on Goal:  Invaders 27  Team Wheels 23

Next Tuesday, Invaders plays the aforementioned Helltwigs at 6 P.M., and Team Wheels plays Puckin’ Monkeys at 9 P.M..

 

 

If a player does not have a Player Pass or does not directly give an Epic Center employee their full last name, or last initial, then they’re identity will remain protected on Epic Center Sports Report.

 

To see rules, standings, stats, and more head to epic-center.com.

Game of the Week: NYE and BCC draw in heavyweight battle

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Action from BCC Soccer (blue) vs NYE (white). Photo by Franklin Heinzmann.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. –  The top two teams in Tuesday Men’s Soccer Lower faced off on Tuesday night. Coming into the game NYE (the alias of the Buffalo District Soccer League team NY Elite) and BCC Soccer were tied atop of the standings with 12 points each, double the amount of points third place Amherst FC has, and after Tuesday night’s thrilling game that’s how it remained. NYE and BCC drew as the score ended in a 2-2 tie. NYE led in Shots on Goal, 15-11.

The game was played in front of a rambunctious pro-BCC Soccer crowd. They turned the neutral site of Open Field 1 into BCC Soccer’s home stadium. It definitely had an effect on NYE’s mentality, as just five minutes into the game NYE GK Cody showed signs of weakness in net as he bobbled a free kick, after the crowd roared when BCC defender Jared Greer got his free kick on frame.

Cody’s signs of weakness reared its head again as BCC Soccer (and fellow Niagara Purple Eagle) F Bill tapped in a spilled shot with 8:55 left in the first half. With 6:22 left in the half, NYE’s Lucas Metzger curled a shot in the net after he stole the ball off an opposing defender for his first of the net.

The 1-1 score line held as the first half ended. Shots on Goal at that point were 7-6 in favor of NYE. Both NYE Manager James Keysa and BCC Soccer captain Jared Greer emphasized out working the other team at their respective benches, as well as keeping up the fast pace of play in the second half.

With 15:11 left in the second half, the numerous BCC Soccer fans were sent into a frenzy when Cameron McLaurin scored to give BCC Soccer a 2-1 lead. In just under two years of working at the Epic Center, it was the loudest reaction to a goal scored at the Epic Center I have ever heard.

The goal, and the crowd’s reaction, set the tone for the rest of the half: very intense. Despite nothing being on the line, the following 15 minutes or so were treated like it was the championship.

Despite all the noise, the NYE back line kept their composure and made some crucial stops, effectively taking momentum away from BCC. It’s what enabled NYE to go on the attack themselves.

Their attacks were mostly pushed away by the BCC Soccer defense and GK Bonye Lumbanraja, but with 6:10 left, Metzger scored his second of the game. The goal prompted a few members of NYE to leave the bench and pile on top of Metzger. Again this is just a mid-session matchup, but this game meant so much more than that.

Unfortunately, no one was able to break the tie in the remaining time. Both teams each came close within the last 90 seconds, but Lumbanraja and Cody both made fantastic saves within that time frame to earn their respective teams a point.

After the game McLaurin, revelaed to me that the team had been practicing a setpiece to get him open so that he could score. He also had great things to say about the game, and the fans.

“There was defintely a healthy balance of competition tonight, both teams showed excellent character,” McLaurin said. “As for the fans, … they come rain, shine, blizzard, everything! Their presence is also great to have on gameday.”

On the other side, Metzger was also very complimnetary of his opponent.

“BCC was a worthy opponent,” Metzger said. “It was a really fast paced game tonight, and I think its safe to say both [teams] had a lots of fun tonight.”

Final Score:                NYE 2            BCC Soccer 2

Shots on Goal:           NYE 15          BCC Soccer 11

Next week, NYE takes on Amherst FC and BCC Soccer takes on The Quack Attack. These two teams will face off in a rematch on April 23, and it’s safe to say that will be covered in the Game of the Week as it will me must-see soccer.

 

If a player does not have a Player Pass or does not directly give an Epic Center employee their full last name, or last initial, then they’re identity will remain protected on Epic Center Sports Report.

To see rules, standings, stats, and more head to epic-center.com.

No Fly Zone’s James Cellotto puts in MVP-Caliber performance in win over Southside

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Aaron Shaw (29 White) heaves a deep ball to the end zone. Picture by Sean Goodwin.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. –After six weeks of games, the flag football standings are finally starting to clear up. The two favorites, Hellagoods and Mega Chargers, seem destined for a meeting in the championship game.  The real question is which team still has a chance to make some noise in the playoffs from a lower seed.  No Fly Zone is a team who dominated the lower division last session.  They were undefeated throughout the season, and finished it off with a recreation division title.  This session however, they got off to a very tough start losing two out of their first three games.  They looked to get back to their winning ways when they played Southside this past Monday.  Southside was having another tough season here at Epic Center. Quarterback Aaron Shaw, and captain Tyler Ciemny were looking to get any type of offense going after their 44-0 loss at the hand of Mega Chargers in the week before. They got some news of good luck before the game as one of No Fly Zones best players, John Caie, was out and unable to attend the game.  Former MVP Quarterback James Cellotto was going to have to rely heavily on his number two options Derek Bongiovanni, and Ben who lead the team in touchdowns respectively.

Southside won the coin toss, but decided to put their defense on the field to start the game. No Fly Zones quarterback James Cellotto led the offense on the field for their first drive.  The drive ended up lasting almost eight minutes due to penalties and fourth down conversions.  Derek B was targeted three times on that drive and caught all three passes with the last one capping off the drive with a touchdown.  I could tell Derek was going to be targeted heavily on the day, because he looked to be Cellottos number one read on every play.  Southside then took over on offense with a familiar deficit.  Aaron Shaw looked to get the running game going early on, but No Fly Zone has some of the best flag pullers in the entire league.  Ben and the entire defensive line of Dave, Jeremy Natka and Kelsy could not be contained by the Southside offensive line.  This led to poor reads, and bad throw-aways from Shaw especially on the first drive.  Following a turnover on downs from Southside, Cellotto needed just two plays to hook up with Derek B. in the end zone for the second time of the night.  Southside then got their first points of the game when James Cellotto threw a terrible interception on the PAT.  The next Southside drive looked to be promising, but a sack from No Fly Zones Kelsy on third down led to a necessary punt on fourth and long.  Kelsy would hop onto the score sheet one more time before the half as he caught Cellottos next touchdown pass from four yards out.  The score at halftime was 18-2 in favor of No Fly Zone.

Only down two scores, Southside was far from out of this game at the half. Tyler Ciemny knew he could get a score from his offense on their first drive, and that was the message throughout the halftime team-talk.  Their first big play of the game came on Southside’s opening drive of the second half.  On third and long, Shaw rolled to his right found a pocket of space and hurled a deep ball down the field.  Jordan Kulesz was waiting for the pass and brought it in up high with No Fly Zones Brian Stevens all over him.  Aaron Shaw then found Mike Tchorznicki from 18 yards out and Southside had their first touchdown in over two weeks of play.  The PAT was a key play of the game as they would be down just one score if they converted.  A false start penalty completely messed up their field position, and Shaw was sacked on the PAT.  Southside then got a little lucky as the first play from No Fly Zones next drive was called a safety.  Dave was caught holding in the end zone, and all of a sudden Southside had the ball with just an eight point deficit.  The turnover bug bit hard into Southsides chances at a win as Ben intercepted a poor Aaron Shaw throw into the end zone.  This led to Derek B. catching his third touchdown of the night on the next drive and Cellotto and co. putting the game to bed.  The final score was 24-16 and No Fly Zone was back to their winning ways.  The player of the game goes to the QB and his star receiver.  James Cellotto finished the night 12-20 239 yds and four touchdowns as well as two interceptions on defense.  Derek Bongiovanni had himself a day with three touchdowns on just five catches.  No Fly Zone will get a big test of their skill next week when they take on undefeated Hellagoods for the first time this year.  Southside will have to make improvements for their game against the Buffalo Braves if they are to have any chance.

Game of the Week: Puckin’ Monkeys skates circles around Road Runners

 

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Puckin’ Monkeys (White) attacking the Road Runners (red) net. Picture by Franklin Heinzmann.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – Last Tuesday night I witnessed murder, well not really, but when I watched the Puckin’ Monkeys destroy the Road Runners that’s what it reminded me of. Coming into the game, both teams each had a win in three games so it looked to be a competitive game on paper. It was not. The Puckin’ Monkeys defeated the Road Runners by a score of 8-2, outshooting them 38-12.

Puckin’ Monkeys dominated possession the entire night. Puckin’ Monkeys forward Uhteg got the scoring kicked off with 16:28 left in the first half. Road Runners forward, and leading scorer, Jack Brill tied the game at one with 12:45 left.

Puckin’ Monkeys kept peppering Road Runner G Matt Chodaczek With 9:41 left in the half, Puckin’ Monkeys took the lead with a goal by Jeff DiLucente. It was on the team’s tenth SOG, Road Runners had three up to that point. They were also the bigger of the teams. Puckin’ Monkeys forward used his size to blow past a Road Runners defender to score his team’s third goal.

As the first half was winding down, Road Runners forward Adam Revezzo was able to score to cut Puckin’ Monkeys lead to 3-2. It was short lived as the Puckin’ Monkeys scored with 39.8 seconds left after flawlessly executing a three on one. The goal made the score 4-2 heading into halftime, with the SOG total favoring Puckin’ Monkeys, 17-7.

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Road Runners (red) goalie Matthew Chodzak making a save on a Puckin’ Monkeys (white) forward. Picture by Franklin Heinzmann.

For the majority of the second half it felt as if the Puckin’ Monkeys were toying with the Road Runners. Specifically, around the ten-minute mark when there was a good couple of minutes when a few different Puckin’ Monkeys players managed literally skating circles around the entirety of the Road Runners zone with the puck, while the Road Runners were at full strength, trying to find a window to make a smart pass (the headline is both figurative and literal). Chodaczek was forced to make a lot tough saves in order to keep the Road Runners in it.

With 3:30 left Puckin’ Monkeys put the pedal to the metal, going on a 4-0 run to end the game. It started with a powerplay goal from Uhteg, then was followed by Adam Owczarcak going bardown, and goals from Andrew Hoffman and DiLucente.

Final Score: Puckin’ Monkeys 8 Road Runners 2 

Shots on Goal: Puckin’ Monkeys 38 Road Runners 12

Next Tuesday, the Road Runners take on the Invaders, and Puckin’ Monkeys take on 1017 Brick Squad.

 

If a player does not have a Player Pass or does not directly give an Epic Center employee their full last name, or last initial, then they’re identity will remain protected on Epic Center Sports Report. 

To see standings, stats, and more head to epic-center.com.

Dynamite hand Team No Name their First Loss of the Season

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Captains Damon Powell (Yellow/Team No Name) and Josh Salada (Red/Dynamite) shake hands prior to their game. Picture by Sean Goodwin

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – Another fantastic night of Monday football went into the books this past week. One team put up 74 points while the Braves lost another tough game, and have yet to pick up a win this season.  The game that really caught my eye was the closing game at 11 o’clock.  Dynamite brought a 2-1 record in to face undefeated 3-0 Team No Name.  Dynamite was looking to bounce back from their narrow loss to Hellagoods in the week before.  Their quarterback Bobby has played well all year, and last week he had over 300 yards with 4 touchdowns.  This week also marked the return of star receiver Ed Starr who had not played since week one where he had two touchdowns.  Team No Name looked to add to their three-game win streak.  Their quarterback Tito has had a terrific season as well.  Tito has proven to be a very tough QB to defend primarily because of his running ability.  He has had 60+ rushing yards in all three of his games this season.  His primary weapons, Yusef B. and Tony Rivera were also ready to go against their toughest matchup of the season.

Team No Name began with the ball, but it was tough sledding for the entirety of the first half for their offense. Tito was finding it very difficult to complete passes especially on third and fourth down.  The edge defenders of Dynamite was playing terrific contain defense.  Ed Starr and Ed Harof were the primary contributors to the strong defense played by Dynamite early on.  Bobby and his offense were able to convert on the terrific field position given to them by Team No Name, and their inability to convert fourth downs.  Jeff Farr caught the first touchdown of the game on a great play by Bobby to buy a bunch of time in the pocket.  This was Farr’s fourth touchdown of the season, and also put him just three touchdowns behind the league leader.  Another turnover on downs from Team No Name on their next drive led to another touchdown by Bobby and Dynamite’s offense.  This time it was Ed Starr with his third touchdown in just his second game played.  Team No Name was able to catch some momentum and score before the halftime buzzer. Yusef B. made a great play on an errant pass from Bobby and brought in his fourth interception of the season.  Tito then capped off a terrific drive from Team No Name with a rushing touchdown from twenty yards out.  The score at halftime was 19-7 in favor of Dynamite.

Dynamite was able to score on their opening drive in the second half, and this increased their lead to 18 points. Tito and co. did not look like they were going to throw in the towel by any means but a comeback from 18 points with just twenty minutes left in the game is extremely difficult.  Damon Powell came alive in the second half for Team No Name, as he hauled in two touchdowns on five catches.  Unfortunately for Team No Name these were the only touchdowns they scored the rest of the game.  A key play of the game came on fourth down with Team No Name down just four points.  Tito threw a ball to Yusef B. who ran a great out route to get open and caught the ball on the goal line.  It looked like Yusef made the catch in the end zone, and then was pushed back out. However, the ref called him short claiming he did not have possession of the ball until he was pushed out of the end zone.  This led to a strong argument from Yusef, as well as the rest of Team No Name.  The call stood and Team No Name had to give the ball back to Dynamite with just two minutes on the clock.  The game ended in a 25-21 score in favor of Dynamite.  I decided to give the player of the game to Ed Starr.  He finished the game with 4 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, but his contributions on defense went beyond the stat book.  He showed how valuable he is to this Dynamite team especially when it comes to their defensive scheme.  It gets no easier for Dynamite as they get another undefeated team Mega Chargers in their next game this Monday.  Team No Name gets to face the only other undefeated team in the league this year, Hellagoods, in their next game here at Epic Center