‘Woods bury two transition twos to beat Cannons, 15-12

By Sarah Griffin | Aug 8, 2022

A playoff game all but officially for two teams in do-or-die mode in the final stretch of the regular season, it was the Redwoods who came out on top in Denver 15-12 in a thriller till the very last second.

“If you didn’t think that this was going to be a close game, then you just don’t have a grasp of what’s going on in this league,” said Eddy Glazener postgame. 

A high-intensity matchup with no shortage of highlight-reel worthy goals, the Redwoods alone could constitute at least three or four sports in SportsCenter Top 10. 

The Woods’ entire roster was all over the scoresheet getting everyone involved. They recorded seven different goal scorers, including yet another two-pointer from Glazener, his second of the year. “I just kind of closed my eyes and let that thing go. I’m a transition threat now I guess,” he laughed.

He wasn’t the only defender getting in on the action. A two-pointer from Kyle Hartzell marked Hartzell’s first goal of the season.

Of course with a bouncer or two from their defense, there was of course a whole lot of production from the Redwoods offense.

Rob Pannell (5P, 2G, 3A) led the night for Woods’ attack, but it was big-time goals from Ryder Garnsey (2P, 2G) and yet another big night for midfielder Charlie Bertrand that stole the show.

“We’re really starting to get back to clicking as an offense,” said Redwoods head coach Nat St. Laurent. “But we also had a heck of some individual play,” mentioning both Garnsey and Bertrand.

Garnsey’s arguably the most creative shooter in the game and he most certainly showed why Friday night. Both his goals came in the fourth quarter including the tiebreaker to push the Woods ahead 13-12 with less than six minutes remaining. It also happened to be a top contender for the goal of the year. 

Laid out on his back, Garnsey beat the triple team as he let the ball rip from the ground.

Bertrand put up his highest scoring performance of the season thus far with a four point, four goal night, shooting 50%.

“Not to toot my own horn but, I texted him [Bertrand] in the offseason back in February or March that ‘I have a feeling you’re going to ball out this year,’ and after every single game I go back to the texts and like it or put an exclamation point on it, or laugh at it just so it pops to the top of his inbox so he sees it. I’m not saying I’m the only person who thought that, I think everyone saw the potential but it’s really good seeing him come into his own and you know, the kid can ball.” said Glazener. 

Bertrand quietly had a very strong rookie campaign last season, but he’s really come into his own with a breakout season this year. Especially on a night when Myles Jones went 0-for-10 and Sergio Perkovic 0-for-6, having another huge threat like Bertrand in the midfield has paid dividends for the Woods.

In a playoff caliber game, it wasn’t all flashy goals and bouncers from the two-point arc that secured the much-needed win. TD Ierlan had his best game of the year at the faceoff stripe. He went 19-for-28 against Stephen Kelly for a 68% faceoff percentage, winning 14 groundballs, as well as recording an assist on Hartzell’s two-pointer off the faceoff win in the second quarter.

Between the pipes, Jack Kelly made 14 saves for a 54% save percentage. It was a team effort from everyone involved and as much as it was a needed win for the Redwoods in the standings to make a playoff push, it was a needed win for the overall morale of the team as well. 

The Woods know they still have work to do in the last two weeks of the regular season, just as the Cannons do. 

“This was playoffs for us,” said Lyle Thompson. “The loss hurts.”

It’s been a tough season for the Cannons to say the least, but make no mistake - they matched the Redwoods’ intensity Friday night. 

Lyle shot 80% on Kelly for a six-point performance with four goals and two assists. 

In Asher Nolting’s homecoming in Denver, he put on a show for the hometown crowd with two goals, an assist, and perhaps the play of the year.

“It was an unbelievable feeling coming home this weekend,” said Nolting. “Slept in my own bed last night which was very weird. Great turnout, great to play in my city and in front of the home crowd, it was an awesome homecoming for sure. Wish we could’ve finished it with the win though.”

The Cannons have seen a lot of new faces on their offense lately with the second half additions of rookie Jonathan Donville, both Chris and Pat Aslanian, and Mark Cockerton, as well as Andrew Newbold and Matt Abbott on defense. While building chemistry is essential for any team, Lyle and the Cannons are making no excuses.

“We’re still a group and my approach to the game never changes whether I’m in the backyard or playing professional, whatever level I’m playing at. My approach is when I have a stick in my hands, I’m going to play with 100% effort. I’m going to play with a positive attitude and you know the harder you play, the stronger the medicine, and that’s how I try to approach the game. It’s medicine for me.” 

Head coach Sean Quirk echoed Lyle’s sentiment himself, and the resiliency of the group they’ve built.

“Certainly disappointing about the loss, but there’s no question about it, it was a playoff atmosphere out there. I’m certainly proud of the way that these guys have persevered, they’ve been resilient, and they stuck together tonight until that last whistle. The unselfish play, the grittiness that they showed, that’s good stuff in any team. Just super disappointed in the results, but proud of the way these guys have stuck together and approach the game.” 

Despite being 1-7, the Cannons aren’t quite yet eliminated from playoff contention. There are a few situations in which ultimately their score differential could get them into that final seventh playoff spot.

The Cannons search for answers and revenge versus the Chrome next weekend, as the Redwoods hope to build momentum towards playoffs with a game against the hottest team in the league in the Waterdogs in Salt Lake City.