From left, New Mexico Runners Austin Snyder (12) and Zach Estell (9) congratulate Miguel Garcia (5), after his goal gave the local squad a 4-3 lead in the second quarter. Vince Aragon (2) gave the Runners a 5-3 lead just 43 seconds later, and that lead grew to 6-3 by intermission. (Herron photo)
On Educators Appreciation Night at the Rio Rancho Events Center in an MASL 2 contest Saturday, the host New Mexico Runners learned you’re only as good as your last game.
And that was a loss, 10-7, to the visiting Kansas Bandits – a team the Runners had whipped 7-1 in their opener in Dodge City on Dec. 18.
And that three-game winning streak to start the 2022-23 season has tuned into a .500 record, as that beatdown by the Bandits gave the Runners (3-3) a three-game losing streak.
The Runners seemed to be in control, outscoring the Bandits (2-4) 4-1 in the second quarter to take a 6-3 lead at halftime.
Whatever was said in the locker room at halftime served the Bandits well, as they scored four times while not allowing a goal in the third period to take a 7-6 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Kansas held a four-goal lead with 10 minutes left to play, and the Runners pulled goalkeeper Nate Yeager in favor of a sixth attacker.
That would be Jaxn Rogers, who soon saw Vince Aragon on the far side, and he sent the ball over to Mehrshad Ahmadi for his third goal of the game – and 25th of the season, which leads the league.
But it was only good enough to cut the Bandits’ lead to 10-7, and that’s how it ended.
Yeager finished with 13 saves on 23 shots in his first start since Jan. 29.
The game also featured a high school boys’ friendly between the Rio Rancho Rams and the Cleveland Storm. Cleveland secured the victory, 2-1, receiving the “Run As One” community trophy at halftime.
Next up: a game in Colorado on Sunday afternoon vs. the Inferno (0-5), a team the Runners throttled 16-7 on Jan. 21 at the Events Center.
New Mexico is back in action at home on Feb. 25 at 5:05 p.m. for Faith and Family night. The Wichita Wings provide the opposition.