Runners Rally Late, Come Up Short

by Peter Griego

Rio Rancho, NM (March 4th, 2023) - The New Mexico Runners comeback falls just short at the hands of the Colorado Inferno 7-9 at the Rio Rancho Events Center. Colorado’s fast start paired with New Mexico’s early struggles put the Runners down early on. Colorado would score two early goals in the first quarter, with New Mexico’s lone goal coming off the foot of Colton Oord with 3:30 left in the opening quarter.

The second quarter could be deemed lackluster relative to the rest of the game, with Colorado scoring a single goal early. The Runners were shutout in the second period, as they would go 0-19 in the second, failing to convert any shots into goals. Two penalties on New Mexico would put them down a man for a combined 4 minutes throughout the match. An unsportsmanlike Penalty on the Inferno’s bench around midway through the quarter would put the runners in the power play with some scoring opportunities.

The Runners would not stop attacking in the second half, as Skylor Rose would put the Runners back within 3. However, defensive breakdowns by the Runners were the story of the night, allowing Colorado to extend their lead back to 4. New Mexico would keep their foot on the gas after the break, taking 18 shots, only connecting on one. The Runners showed aggression all night, taking 28 more shots than Colorado, but converted on just over 10%.

New Mexico would eventually find their rhythm in the fourth quarter, as they would score five goals in the final quarter, with Mehrshad Ahmadi leading the way with 2. Including a spectacular fake out on Colorado’s goalkeeper, in a penalty shootout goal that would cut the deficit to just 2 with 10:28 remaining in the game. The Runners would have to pull goalkeeper Nate Yeager, and bring in Jaxn Rogers as an extra striker, which would help the Runners build momentum and go on a scoring run. New Mexico would score twice more in under two minutes, with Froilan Ramirez scoring the tying goal, with Colton Oord getting the assist. The Runners looked like they were in position to take the lead, but the Inferno had other plans and scored 2 goals in the final 7:32 to close the game out.

A combination of defensive breakdowns, and failure to capitalize on scoring opportunities forced the Runners to play from behind all game, eventually running out of time to mount a comeback. The Runners showed great resolve in the final quarter, rallying to tie the game, and falling just short of a comeback win at home in front of an energetic crowd.

The Runners are back at home on Saturday March 18th for Scouts Night where they will play host to the Kansas Bandits. Kick off is 5:05 PM MT and doors open at 3:30.