Rice Lake earned a 0-0 tie against Memorial tonight on the road in Rice Lake. It was just one of those nights when things did not go Memorial’s way, and Rice Lake stepped up their game at the right time. You knew things were a little off when you arrived at the stadium and saw two key Memorial starters in street clothes. But you still expected Memorial would find a way to get the win. Plenty of talent still and a deep bench. No worries right.
Memorial started off strong, has significant possession and played on Rice Lake’s side much of the first half. There were plenty of shots, but many from distance. A few chances in the box, but players were not able to pull the trigger. Rice Lake’s game plan focused on playing long balls into their forward and hope for a quick strike. Whenever they won possession, it was quickly played long. GK Seth K. was their best weapon, with long goal kicks forcing Memorials back 4 deep and into some 1 v 1 battles to gain possession and clear away trouble.
The first half ended 0-0. Still, you figured Memorial would work out the kinks and find a goal or two. The second half produced more excitement. Rice Lake had maybe the best two chances in the second half. An early long ball and awkward bounce put their forward into space and a 1v1 on Memorial GK Hanson, who came up with a clutch save near the 18 to clear away the danger. Later in the half, on a set play, Hanson had a leaping finger tip punch save of an arching header that looked destined for the top of the goal. Again in the second half, Memorial dominated possession. They were pressing for the winning goal and had multiple good chances. Two or three times inside the 18 and near the six where it looked like shots would find the net. They ended up blocked, saved, just wide and on a few occasions, the shot never materialized. Several good crosses looked dangerous but the volleys just would not find the net. The controversy of the night occurred late in the game as well, when Jacob Peloquin went down hard in the box while the defender never made a play on the ball. On this night, the call was not made and a goal kick resulted. On a different night, maybe that call gets made. It was just that kind of night.
As a sign of the night, just as Memorial was pressing for a late goal and had multiple corners, mother nature intervened. Some lightning in the distance forced the Referee to stop the game and based on the game time , end the game with about 4 minutes to go. Memorial felt a little robbed as the game was called as they were setting up for a corner and had a lot of momentum to get a late goal.
Top 3 Takeaways from the Game
Missing starters just throws off the team a bit. Rotations change, the style of play changes a bit, and it takes some time to adjust. Like missing your starting QB, or missing your starting PG in basketball. It just impacts you a bit. Maybe players were pressing a bit. This was the first time this year when Memorial had not been up by multiple goals in the second half.
GK’s on both Teams determined the outcome. It was a good battle and the GK’s both came up big. Rice Lake’s GKKursynski faced more shots but managed the game well. Right place, right time and solid saves. Memorial’s Hanson had fewer saves, but boy did he make them count.
Every Team faces Adversity. During a season it is bound to happen. A tough night, shots not hitting the net, not getting the calls, etc. A game you should win ends in a tie and it feels like a loss. You just have to move on, regroup, get back to work and find your mojo. Teams face injuries, tough losses and bad calls. Championship teams find a way to have these moments motivate them and many times it is these moments that bring a team together to reach new heights.