Oct 1st 2012 | By. LaxDirt.com
Reading, PA - The Reading Rockets took on The Jacksonville Bullies in their debut game for The Professional Lacrosse League this past Saturday. The Bullies were a team looking to build off last weeks win, while The Rockets wanted nothing more to get out of the starting gate with a victory at home. This game was as the cliché goes, a tale of two halves.
The first half.
About two minutes in to the game starting goalie Scott Komer was popped hard in the head in what looked like a blatant cheap shot from my perspective in the press box. Komer would be removed from the game with a concussion and Fin Wilson would step in to take his place.
Travis Bland, Dan Deckelbaum and Jake Davis were the triple threat for Reading in this game. The Jacksonville Bullies were missing two of their leading scorers in Kiel Matisz and Shawn Wilkins and it showed early on. Bland had a hat trick in the first quarter; Deckelbaum had two in the first half as did Jake Davis. Jacksonville needed some players to step up and they got them. Wade Bucktooth scored twice in the first half and played a big role for The Bullies. Tom Compitello, Colton Vosburgh and Andrew Kirkaldy all added scores as well but it wasn’t enough, Reading took an 8-5 lead in to the locker room at halftime.
The second half.
The Jacksonville Bullies came out of the lockeroom a different team. Their defense clamped down on Reading, shut down their transition and became a great deal more physical. Spencer Lyons who had some issues in the first half, settled in and was seeing the ball better, making some outstanding saves.
The third quarter was a back and forth battle. Compitello and Kirkaldy added goals for Jacksonville and Elliot Bender got on the stat sheet as well. The Rockets continued to depend on Jake Davis and Travis Bland to carry them to victory but struggled defensively in the third. Heading in to the fourth The Rockets held a two goal lead 10-8 going in to the fourth quarter.
In the fourth there was some great defense being played on both sides of the floor. Both Spencer Lyons and Fin Wilson made some great saves for their respective teams. In the end it was Lyons who proved to be the proverbial brick wall. Jacksonville didn’t give up a goal in the fourth quarter yet the down the stretch Wade Bucktooth sealed his hat trick to pull The Bullies within one and with just about a minute to play Andrew Kirkaldy tied the game up with a goal to send them in to overtime. The overtime was short lived, just .30 seconds Elliot Bender hooked up with JR Bucktooth after a turnover and Jacksonville went on to win 11-10.
What to take away.
Reading: This is a talented roster. Travis Bland is a potential star in this league, Jake Davis is an all around threat and Dan Deckelbaum and Colton Vosburgh played very well. This was only their first game and they took a talented Jacksonville team who has two games under their belt to overtime. Reading is a franchise that is put together right and can make some noise in this league, they just need to build a little more chemistry.
Jacksonville: At 2-1 that puts the Bullies in first place. The biggest story is the fact that they did it without Matisz and Wilkins. Wade Bucktooth, Tom Compitello and Andrew Kirkaldy all stepped up and had big games for The Bullies when they needed it most. Spencer Lyons who played very well in the first two games, struggled in the first half. When the chips were down however, Lyons clamped the door shut and held Reading scoreless in the fourth. These two teams will square off again in Florida this week, but right now, you have to think Jacksonville is the top team in the league.