Runners derail the Express 12-5, close third season with victory

by Charley Bickel

Rio Rancho, NM - There was no shortage of emotion Saturday night as the New Mexico Runners took to their home field for the final time this season to face the Turlock Cal Express. In a fitting end to a challenging season, the same lineup that delivered the victory in Colorado Springs a week ago saw the team to a 12-5 victory over their inter-divisional opponent. Turlock Cal Express is the second inter-divisional team the Runners faced this season improving to 1-1 outside the midwest division.

Skylor Rose got New Mexico's offense rolling in the first period with a shot from the far corner that sent goalie Edgar Martinez scrambling for the ball. From there the Runners opened up a 5-0 lead with Jaxn Rodgers, Colton Oord, and Mehrshad Ahmadi all getting in on the action before halftime. Perhaps even more impressive than the offense was the defense New Mexico played in the first half. For the first time in franchise history the Runners held an opponent scoreless throughout the first half, extending the lead to 6-0 early in the third period before Turlock Cal got on the scoreboard. Jaxn Rodgers and defender Colton Oord both recorded blocks in the first half, taking some pressure off of starting keeper Nate Yeager. Yeager finished with ten saves on 15 total shots holding their opponent to single digit scoring for the fifth time this season.

The second half featured Mehrshad Ahmadi's encore performance. Coming off his record setting game last week against the Colorado Inferno FC, Ahmadi fell just short of repeating his career best in the season finale. Ahmadi finished with five goals scoring four in the second half. Rose was not far behind his teammate finishing with four scores including an impressive crossbar shot off his weak foot going one on one with the keeper. Skylor Rose also electrified the crowd with a goal that crossed four different defenders before finding its way to the back net. Turlock closed the deficit to six with 53 ticks left in the third frame but the Runners responded closing the game on a 3-2 run much to the delight of the New Mexico faithful. Once again the Runners found themselves shorthanded, down the first and third leading scorers due to injury as well as several other starters. Despite these challenges the Runners found a way to win, closing the season on a two game winning streak winning three of their last four games.

The win brings New Mexico to a 4-8 mark on the season dropping Turlock Cal Express to 2-7. Season four tickets are on season now and can be found here. From the New Mexico Runners family, thank you for an amazing season and be sure to keep up with the team this offseason through our social media channels.