Team Colorado rolls Tap Room in opener
At points in its opening game against Tap Room Thursday, defending Elite champion Harrow Team Colorado showed flashes of brilliance.Former and current University of Denver stars Chad Wittman (’01) and Scott Davidson (’05) both made Gretzky-esque runs on net to score three goals apiece, five of which were unassisted. Colorado’s short sticks also dominated in faceoffs – winning 14 of 22 – while its long stick players provided staunch defense and quick clears for a fleet transition offense.Other stretches in the action weren’t so polished. Shots were off. Passes were missed. Synergy was lacking. The outcome of the game was never in question as a tired and outnumbered Tap Room team, playing in its second game of the day, lost in a rout, 15-5.If the defending champs hope to become repeat champs, however, they’ll have to knock the rust off. And soon. A key matchup today at 4 p.m. at Ford Field with No. 8-seed Team Velocity – coached by former Team Colorado coach Jon Barocas – should be the first true test.
“It’s a good warm-up,” Davidson said. “Everybody is definitely a little bit shaky. Our passes aren’t hitting and everything, but it’s good to have a game like this to warm up with. We’ve got a ton of great players. We’ll start clicking.”Davidson’s three goals all came in the first half. His most impressive run occurred six seconds after his teammate Adam Stifel scored with 3:36 remaining in the second quarter. Davidson picked up a loose groundball off the faceoff, sprinted downfield and then sliced through two defenders before slinging a heater past Tap Room goalie Chris Bluse.Harrow scored one more goal in the half, courtesy of Ryan O’Shaunnessy to head into the break up by, 7-2. In the second half, Wittman finally found his stroke, after firing a number of errant shots in the opening 24 minutes. As one spectator remarked, “Money” – Wittman’s number is a $ – wasn’t so money early on. He lived up to his billing in the remaining two quarters when he bankrolled a hat trick.
The biggest contributor for Tap Room was Carl Kumpe, who notched two goals and grabbed seven of his team’s eight faceoff pickups. After the game, Kumpe remarked that the he was proud of the way his team played after playing an earlier morning game, coupled with losing teammate Andrew Toussaint late in the first quarter to an ugly knee injury. “We were a little deflated because of our boy going down, but I was happy with the effort of the team,” Kumpe said. “We did really well, considering we played this morning and then our buddy hurt himself.”The extent of Toussaint’s injury was not immediately known, although Kumpe said it was apparent to everyone on the field that the knee was dislocated. “He was in a lot of pain initially, but the shock wore off,” Kumpe said. “He’s going to Steadman (Hawkins) and he’ll be OK. I guess it will hurt when they put it back in but I’m sure he’ll be on a lot of painkillers. It was either that he got hit by a stick or that he was trying to turn to take a shot and his cleat just stuck. Apparently, it made a lot of noise and it was gross.
“It’s a little demoralizing and you don’t want to play again. We were down after that – short on numbers and probably low on morale, but we played. As big as difference as there was in the score, the boys did really well and they tried hard.”Harrow Team Colorado coach Max Caulkins said the most encouraging thing for him after the win is that his team could get the kinks out.”We were a little rusty,” Caulkins said. “You could tell some guys hadn’t picked up the sticks in a while. We’re going to have to play a lot better if we’re going to be competitive going forward. Any time you win, it’s encouraging, but we definitely have a lot of room for improvement. The Velocity team we play tomorrow is going to be a far bigger challenge.” Contact Nate Peterson at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at email@example.com