Runners edged 8-11 on Union Night

by Peter Griego/Charley Bickel

Rio Rancho, NM - The New Mexico Runners played their penultimate home game of the 2023-24 season Sunday afternoon in front of an energetic crowd on union day. The Wichita Wings made their first of two trips to the land of enchantment, putting their unbeaten record on the line against New Mexico.

The Runners scored early, with Julian Garcia finding the open net with just over 11 minutes remaining in the first. Wichita answered less than two minutes later, with Guilherme Oliveira scoring the equalizer. Shortly after, Taylor Henry gave the Wings their first lead of the day with former Runners star Mehrshad Ahmadi scoring his only goal of the day, in his return to New Mexico. Jared Robbins wrapped up a big first quarter for the Wings with their fourth goal. Goalkeeper Nate Yeager got in on the offensive action registering a shot on goal for the second time this season.

At the start of quarter two, Wichita picked up right where they left off, with Oliveria and Robbins each tallying their second goals of the match. The Runners finally broke the scoring drought, with Vince Aragon bringing New Mexico back within four. Terry Zamora later scored off a pass from Josh Garcia to cut the Wings lead to three. Both teams would go scoreless for the rest of the period, with Wichita carrying a 6-3 lead into the break. The Runners fired off the third most shots on goal this season (22).

The Wings struck first in half two, with a pair of goals just after a minute played in the third. Soon after, Runners assistant coach Nick Famiglietta scored his first goal of the season. The Runners then held the Wings for the remainder of the quarter, and Edward Oropesa scored to bring the Runners within three to end quarter three.

Froilan Ramirez opened the scoring in the fourth, cutting the Wichita lead to just two scores. Wichita responded with two quick goals of their own midway through the fourth, with Ahmadi being the third Wings player to record multiple goals on the day. Jaime Hernandez brought the Runners back into striking distance, but Ahmadi and the Wings would respond with a score of their own, extending their lead back to four. Nick Cashmere scored the final goal of the day with just over a minute left, locking in the final score of 11-8. 

The Runners are back on the road this week, traveling to Amarillo next Monday afternoon to face the Bombers in a game that was rescheduled due to inclement weather. New Mexico concludes their regular season on March 17 with a rematch against the Wichita Wings.