Actually, I missed the first game as well, so who am I to judge. And at any rate, you're here now, which is the important thing, So welcome aboard the Friendship Express, hoping to skip all the way to a national championship. Winners skip.
As I said, I missed the first game against the Minnesota-Duluth, um, well I'm not exactly sure what they're called, but judging by the picture of their mascot, I can only assume it's Roger Ailes (ed: it's actually the Bulldogs). Anyway.... yeesh, maybe I'm not so sad that I did miss it. From all accounts on the field, it was an absolutely brutal start to the tournament, with the team playing sloppy and unfocused lacrosse, as they are wont to do against obviously inferior opponents. The video would also reflect that.
Of course, there seemed to be some game day jitters from the announcers as well, as "Stone Cold" Mitch Fenton apparently earned his nickname for being "lights out." Shouldn't it be "Lights Out" Mitch Fenton then? Which is it? You can't have both pro wrestling monikers. Moving along... both teams started out sloppy, with the Buffs looking far too anxious and UMD just having poor passing. Their first two possessions resulted in turnovers on overthrown passes with little defensive pressure. From the jump, this looked to be a game played in the muck.
CU opened the scoring off a lumpy looking possession that led to Jack Cranston feeding Riley Kulm for a goal from around 12 yards. From there, Colorado got undisciplined, looking to chase instead of just defend, which lead to a UMD goal, a dead ball penalty, and then a power play goal by UMD. 1-0 went to 2-1 faster than you could burn pizza rolls. Another goal from USD came again and I extend my analogy to microwave popcorn. Jack Cranston scored to close the gap to 3-2 UMD after the first quarter whistle, but this is not what the Buff faithful expected. Jake Lucier tied it up at 3 to open the second, but UMD came back from distance to jump to 4-3, which is the score to end the first half.
CU really missed the impact of Riley Seidel, their best player, in the first half. Scoring goes back and forth until Seidel finally finds the back of the net to make the score 6-5. From there, CU would come through the muck with goals by Lucier (assist: Cranston) and Seidel (assist: Kulm) to close out the 3rd quarter. Greg Kelsic (assist: Cranston) would open the fourth quarter scoring and the rest was all gravy. Literally. We looked like we were playing in gravy. But, as I've said before- the theme is "Survive and Advance." We did and we will with a score of 8-6. Colorado defeated Minesotta- Duluth and is moving on to the next one. You can watch the post game interviews with some of the the Colorado coal miners here:
The game against 5 seed Michigan State, who provided your Buffs with their first loss, was a complete contrast. After watching the UC- Santa Barbara vs. Virginia Tech game go to SIX overtimes, Colorado and Sparty were antsy to get on the field. On the other field, 2 goals were scored before our stretching was complete, and I was already worried about my long drive home. I'll also say, the on field contrast between the all white Spartans and the all black Buffaloes looked pretty cool. Look, it's my article so shut up.
Anywho- the Buffs started out focussed and crisp. Ryan Stoll opened the scoring only a minute and a half in, and the long poles did an exceptional job of moving the ball from defense to offense (Long Poles Rule). Riley Seidel copped the second goal. And Jace Gan the third goal. Kelsic (my favorite) from Cranston scored, and that was just the first quarter.
Cranston opens the 2nd half with a goal, Cary Garfinkle follows and we're at 6-0 early and the route is on. Is it? It is not. At about 3 minutes left in the half, Michigan State easily beats the CU defense and scores. At 12 minutes left in the quarter, a Michigan State goal was called off and then Riley Seidell scored on the other end. MSU followed with a quick goal. At any rate, it was 7-2 Buffs but the transition defense was getting shredded. There was simply no one getting back.
Cranston feeds to Dougherty for another goal and it's 8-2 and the announcers mention how hard it is to read the Buffs' numbers. Yeah, you look cute in your outfits, but I can't figure out who you are worth a damn. Whatever. MSU came back with 2 goals but Ryan Stoll answered with one of his own and we're at 9-4, which is where the third quarter ends.
And then things got ugly. Almost immediately after the draw, All Conference LSM Hayden McClain went down with a knee injury. The Michigan State Spartans stayed being classy by ordering their players to stay standing when common courtesy has always been to take a knee. Dougherty scored again (ed: he could score 20 if he would use his left hand) and we're at 10-4. Almost immediately, face off stud Clark Salamie also fell to the God of Knees, and we are on to a war of attrition. MSU still did not take a knee.
Jace Gan, Reilly Seidell, and Tyler Dougherty all scored again to make the finish 13-5, but the real result will be with Hayden McClain and Clark Salamie. It is always a tough climb to reach the pinnacle, but it will be especially difficult withought two of our keystone players. But sports is not important. Knees are important, and I wish both of these guys good luck and good health going forward. All of the Buffs are rooting and hoping for you.
Also, yeoman's work was done by yours truly, who stupidly volunteered to bring Gatorades, and thus lugged 3 cases of the stuff up two flights of stairs and over 200 hundred yards. Those bastards are heavy, and even Stephen Hawking would say, in his robot voice, "Dude, you are out of shape."
Now that you're caught up, you can watch the semifinals online right here at 6 PM MT:
Or come out to the game! I will be there and will buy you a waffle sandwich