The Rancho Bernardo Broncos (12-7) visited their cross-town rivals, the Poway Titans (14-6), on Thursday for both teams’ regular season finales. The energy in the stadium was high, as this game is circled on the calendars of both teams at the start of every season.
Rancho Bernardo goalie Tyler Lombardi started the game off strong with three good saves early in the first quarter, including a save during man down and another off of a failed clear.
After the teams traded possessions for over seven minutes and Poway goalie Jacob Butler made some key stops, Zach Hodge put Poway on the board first as he collected a deflected pass and zipped it into the goal before Lombardi could react.
The Titans threatened the Bronco goal again a few minutes later, but Lombardi came up with a pair of back to back saves to get the ball out of his end. In the ensuing possession, Rex Rizzuti scored off of an assist from Jason Au to knot it up at one with thirty seconds left in the opening quarter. Lombardi ended the quarter with a save at the buzzer to keep the score tied.
The Broncos struck first in the second quarter, as a feed from Duncan Copeland allowed Tucker Reed to go high on Butler during an extra-man opportunity at the 9:32 mark. 2-1 Broncos.
The Titans scored next at the 6:55 mark. Brad Belasco scored off of a pass from Jake Landon on man-up to even the score. Minutes later, Lombardi made a great save while man-down, but the rebound was collected by Landon. Landon worked the ball to Hodge, who cashed in for his second goal of the night to make it 3-2 Poway. Rancho Bernardo’s Rizzuti tested Butler with a quick shot at the halftime buzzer, but Butler turned it away.
Coming out of halftime, the two teams continued to trade possessions. Jacob Maldonado broke the silence for the Broncos five minutes into the half, running the length of the field on a fantastic coast-to-coast effort from deep in his own end to tie it up at three. Two minutes later, the Broncos regained the lead as Au assisted Reed, who put it high on Butler once again to make it 4-3 Broncos.
The Titans didn’t seem to enjoy being down against their rivals at home. They ended the game on a 6-0 run, with four of the goals coming within the last three and a half minutes of the third quarter. With 3:26 in the quarter, Jack Woodard assisted Nicholas Beeson to tie the game at four. Eight seconds later, right off the faceoff, Owen Springett assisted Cole Landolt to take the lead, 5-4. A minute and a half later, Johnny Clement scored thanks to a helper from Kobe Brown to make it 6-4. As the buzzer sounded to end the quarter, Harrison Greaves scored a goal that had to be conferred upon by the referees, but ultimately stood. 7-4 Poway.
In the fourth quarter, the Broncos couldn’t seem to get inside the Poway defense, as many of their possessions ended without shot opportunities. Meanwhile, Poway completed their 6-0 run with two goals early in the fourth quarter. The first came from Greaves, assisted by Hodge. Off of the ensuing faceoff, Springett added one of his own – and the ninth of the night – for the Titans.
With a final score of 9-4, Poway goes into the playoffs riding a great win against their rivals. Stay tuned as playoff action in San Diego heats up, with seedings being released today.