Runners Defuse the Bombers in Home Opener, 11-8

by Andres Trujillo

New Mexico Runners extend their undefeated record to 2-0

Rio Rancho, NM - It was quite a home opener for the New Mexico Runners in their victory over the Amarillo Bombers by a score of 11-8. New Mexico had plans to keep their undefeated streak alive after their strongarm victory over Dodge City on the road a few weeks back.

The Bombers came to the Rio Rancho Events Center looking to keep their 2-0 undefeated streak alive, but New Mexico had other plans and that included to slow their roll. The Runners showcased a solid performance especially towards the end of the game!

It was a low start for both teams early in the first and Amarillo was first to find the back of the net about midway through quarter 1. Things seemed to be going the Amarillo way as they added to their lead as two of their goals were scored within 30 seconds of each other. New Mexico couldn't find their flow in the 1st quarter and Amarillo would close out quarter 1 by a score of 2-0.

The second quarter was where the Runners found a lane in just 44 seconds and #8 Jaxn Rogers lasered one in after a perfect rebound from the wall. About 3 minutes later resulted in another push by #22 Volcano Vista High School alum Sergio Fuentes to tie things up. Newcomer #24 Josh Garcia was able to work his way up the field and roll one in with Mehrshad Ahmadi on the assist. The Runners would take their first lead of the match. The Bombers weren't going to just roll over as they tacked on 2 within a short period of time closing out the first half with a 4 point lead over New Mexico.

Amarillo continued the pressure which resulted in another goal and and extended 5-3 lead over the Runners. With 8:25 remaining in the quarter, #2 Vince Aragon made an aggressive play and found a way to keep the Runners in the game with  an "ESPNesque" goal. The lead was cut down, but not for long as Aragon wasn't done as he assisted #14 Luis Martinez on a breakaway goal which tied things up. The Bombers found a way with a slow roller past new Mexico's goalkeeper Nate Yeager. The third period would end with a 6-5 Bombers lead.

It was in the 4th quarter that New Mexico started to gain some steam. A second goal from Martinez within 30 seconds gave the Runners the tie. The score fest would continue between both teams as Amarillo answered back every time New Mexico found the back of the net. The Bombers would capitalize on a powerplay to take their final lead of the match with 8:02 remaining in the game. New Mexico would not settle and fired off 4 goals within a two minute period. Ahmadi was determined to put on scoring clinic clearing all 4 of those goals. The Runners would take an 11-8 lead over the Bombers and it was lights out for Amarillo. 

The Runners improve to 2-0 on the season and sit at the top of the standings for the first time in franchise history while Amarillo drops to 2-1. New Mexico took 26 shots on goal compared to their opponent's 32. Runners Goalkeeper and Rio Rancho High School alum Nate Yeager would record 21 saves on the night. 

Next up, the New Mexico Runners will play again at home on Saturday January 21st as they play host to the Colorado Inferno. Kick off is at 5:05 PM Mountain Time at the Rio Rancho Events Center.