Two late goals lift Demons past Rifle
It turned out to be a happy birthday for Glenwood Springs’ midfielder Ian Lochhead.
Lochhead, who celebrated his 18th birthday Thursday, scored in the 77th minute to break a tie game, giving the Demons a 2-1 victory over 4A Western Slope League rival Rifle at Stubler Memorial Field.
The goal was the second in two minutes for Glenwood, who trailed all but six minutes of the contest.
Ross Smith started off the strike with an penalty kick from midfield that led Lochhead down the left wing. Lochhead made a quick move to the inside of the defender and beat Rifle goalie Nick Worley low to the short side.
“Rifle was all the way up pressing and basically there were only two guys back,” Lochhead said of the play. “I cut back and beat the guy marking me and scored from there.”
The goal capped on a dramatic shift in momentum that began when Glenwood’s Derek Weller tallied his 12th goal of the season a minute earlier to even the game at 1-1.
Weller found the ball on his foot after a Demon corner kick created a scramble in front that left a pile of players in the Rifle goal area. The junior forward toed the ball through the mass of bodies for the equalizer in the 76th minute.
“I think we all looked at the clock and decided it was time to get down to business,” Lochhead said of the rally.
“We have a very young team and they played with a lot of passion and played with a lot of heart and left everything on the field,” Rifle coach Tom Taucher said. “We had plenty of chances to seal it, but we didn’t seal it on those chances.”
The victory, thanks to a 2-2 tie between league-leading Steamboat and third-place Battle Mountain Thursday night, lifts Glenwood (6-2-1 WSL, 9-3-1 overall) into a tie for first place in the league with one game left in the season. For Rifle (4-4-1, 7-6-1), the loss ends any hope catching Battle Mountain for the third and final playoff spot.
Glenwood had the better scoring opportunities early in the contest, but it was the Bears who would strike first.
Senior Matt Canard stole the ball from Glenwood defender Cisco Tharp deep in the Demon end and snuck a shot past goalie Buster Bosna in the second minute of play for a 1-0 Rifle lead.
Glenwood pressured after the goal, racking up six quality shots, but Worley was stellar in net. Worley finished with 10 saves on the night.
Toward the end of the first half, the momentum began to shift to Rifle. The Bears took advantage of their size and beat Glenwood to loose balls.
“They win a lot of those 50-50 balls in the air,” Lochhead said.
“(Rifle) is great on the air balls,” Glenwood coach Bob Guska added. “A good head-ball team always throws the other team off balance.”
Bosna kept the margin at one goal with a save on Canard late and another snag of a corner-kick head ball in the final two minutes of the first stanza.
Early in the second half Bosna stuffed Mike Ritter on a breakaway and Rifle shot the rebound over the net.
“(Bosna) hung in there and made save after save,” Guska said. “He kept us in it until we got going.”
Both teams traded scoring chances midway through the second half only to be turned away by the opposing goalie – until Weller’s goal broke the seal
Glenwood faces Moffat County Saturday at home at 11 a.m. Moffat, which entered Thursday’s action with a record of 3-5 (5-7) upset Glenwood 3-2 earlier this season. A Glenwood victory would guarantee a finish no lower than second in the league and give the Demons at least one home playoff game. Glenwood is undefeated this season at Stubler.
Rifle wraps up its season at home Saturday against Battle Mountain at 11 a.m.
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