IDAHO FALLS – The Blackfoot Broncos have had some trouble scoring since the injury to junior forward Frankie Garcia. Just when they seemed to get that under control with an up-tempo offense, things seemed to come a bit unraveled when the team traveled to Idaho Falls to tangle with the Tigers on Monday evening.
The game was rolling along with the Broncos pressing the action and getting some shots on goal. The defense was doing its job and goal keeper Melvin Arroyo was looking strong in the net. Every time the Tigers pushed the ball into the Broncos’ defensive zone, they were sent back the other way.
It was looking like that kind of a game, one where the defenses would shine and the feeling on the sidelines was just that. All the Broncos needed was one little break, one shot to slide by the Tigers’ goal keeper and the Broncos could slip away with a 1-0 win.
With time winding down in the first half, the Tigers pushed the ball upfield and a shot slid past Arroyo and into the back of the net for the game’s first goal. It happened in the final couple of minutes of the first half and gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead. They would add three more goals in the second half and send the Broncos packing on the wrong end of a 4-0 score.
To make things worse, at about the same time, the Broncos were beginning to get bit by the injury bug as starting forward Misa Reyna, he of the three-goal hat trick in the Broncos’ previous game, went down with a sprained ankle. The injury wasn’t all that serious, but it could keep Reyna out for a couple of games. Of more concern was that the Broncos would also lose junior Kendall Henrickson who has been placed in the concussion protocol and that injury leaves the Broncos down three players as they head into a tough part of the schedule.
Down 1-0 at the half, the Broncos regrouped for the start of the second half and went right back on the offensive, pushing the ball into the Tigers’ zone. The Tigers rebuffed that charge and sent the ball deep into the Broncos’ zone and when they got a shot on goal, the rebound came right back out into a shooting territory for one of the Tigers’ forwards, who sent the ball right back into the goal for a 2-0 lead, only a couple of minutes into the second half of play.
That was a critical point in the game as the Broncos were down three front line players in a matter of minutes and now trailing by the score of 2-0. The Tigers took full advantage of that scenario and began pressing as hard as they could to keep the ball in the Broncos’ defensive end of the field and simply began to overpower the Blackfoot defense.
As tough as the Broncos were playing, they were almost forced to bring their better offensive players back into the defensive zone to help out with more bodies to offset the Tigers forcing the ball into the defensive zone.
It wasn’t long before the Tigers would get a third and then a fourth goal and the game was essentially over. When you have two very competitive and evenly matched teams as the Tigers and Broncos are, it is nearly impossible to come back from a 4-0 deficit, without some help from the opposing team and the Tigers were not giving an inch in this game.
The Broncos were game to the finish, but the they were a bit outmanned with the injuries and the Tigers were like sharks in the water, smelling the blood of an injured foe.
They kept the pressure on and although they were not able to get another goal, the game was theirs and they simply needed to run out the clock to secure the win.
With the loss, the Broncos fell to 2-3 on the season, 2-1 in the High Country Conference. Idaho Falls moved to 2-2-2 on the season, 2-0-1 in conference play.
Blackfoot will be at home today and they will entertain Hillcrest in a match that will begin at 4:30 p.m. Hillcrest is 5-1-1 on the season and 2-0-1 in conference play. The game will be for the top spot in the High Country Conference as the teams approach the halfway point in the regular season with the district tournament looming on the horizon.