TORRINGTON – Four of the eight Torrington Trailblazer goals in an 8-1 win over Newcastle at home on Tuesday came from four seniors who have combined for one goal this season.
“I thought that we played very well tonight, especially offensively,” coach Jeshua Arnusch said. “We outshot them 32-8 and had a few goals that were deemed offside. Overall, I thought we did a great job of moving the ball between our midfielders and I thought we did a solid job of playing the ball over the top of the Newcastle defense.”
In the first half, it was business as usual for the Blazers. Seventy-seven seconds into the game, Anthony Munoz got the scoring started, recording a goal off the post from the assist from A.J. Shields. In the 33rd minute, Nathan Stitt worked his way through three Dogie defenders and got a clean look at the goal, which he converted for the score.
Just before halftime, Munoz took a corner that ricocheted off the goalie and into the net, putting Torrington up 3-0 at intermission.
“I was especially impressed with Anthony Munoz,” Arnusch said. “His work ethic tonight and at practice this year has really helped throw him into the spotlight. I thought his two first half goals were awesome. He made some great runs an his touch was on the money.”
Coming out of the break, Arnusch made lineup changes across the board. Tyler Ring, who recorded four saves in the first half, was moved up to forward, along with Garrett Cooper, who was the starting center back. William Fluckiger took to the goal in the second half, recording 14 saves.
The changes looked to pay off early, with Cooper getting a cross in to Ring that he volleyed in for the goal, but it was called back for offside.
In the 48th minute, Cooper got his head on a cross from Stitt to score the first goal of the season. Stitt added another goal to his season total, scoring in the 58th minute to put Torrington up 5-0. A minute later, Ring scored the second goal of his career, upping the Blazer lead to 6-0. In the 61st minute, Newcastle netted a goal to trim the Torrington lead to five.
After both Ring and Cooper got a goal, Arnusch moved two other seniors, Chase Berguson and Cole Morel to the front of the formation. Morel took a free kick in the 62nd minute that sailed over the Dogie wall and tucked into the top corner. Berguson found his way into the scoring column with a volley in the 68th minute, putting the Blazers up 8-1.
Shields, who has seven goals this season, was the only senior to not score for Torrington, but he did tie for the team-lead in assists, with two. Stitt recorded two assists and Braeden Claussen had one.
“I was also very happy to get all of our seniors some offensive playing time,” Arnusch said. “All of the seniors who usually play defense and goalie got to score a varsity goal and that was in part to our other senior A.J., who was very unselfish and had two assists on the night, while volunteering to go back so the others could play offense.”
The Blazers improved to 12-2 this spring, with two games remaining in the regular season, both against conference foes. The Blazers played top-ranked Lander on Thursday after the press deadline. Torrington’s final game before the postseason comes on the road against Rawlins at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“Now we turn our attention to our quadrant opponents, Lander and Rawlins,” Arnusch said after the game on Tuesday. “We are going to have to really continue to work hard defensively as Lander and Rawlins have scored 12 goals in their last two matches combined.”