The Crunch kicked off their inaugural M2 campaign in style, decimating the visiting Colorado Inferno, 17-6. The home side announced their intent to compete for a championship, rather than simply get by with a “just happy to be here” attitude. The club’s starting six were: Marijo Musa in goal, defenders Dave Jordan (captain) and Boban Cancar and midfielders Mike Derezic, Tom Beck and Admir Suljevic.
The visitors opened the scoring off a free kick by Armando Gonzalez. The Crunch quickly responded with two goals from Ryan Minick (scoring his first of four goals) followed by David Jordan’s strike to take the lead, 2-1. The Inferno were able to knot the score via a Jack Reynolds goal, however, that tie was short-lived as Mike Derezic got in on the scoring with back-to-back goals to end the first period. The Inferno tested the Crunch but the home side led 4-2 after one.
Musa’s quality distribution led to Minick’s goal to start the second period. Colorado’s Darwin Dejesus answered to make it 5-3. The match would never be this close again as three consecutive goals from Beck, Ma’Cain Spragling and Suljevic propelled the Crunch to an 8-3 cushion. The Inferno’s Marcus Jordan slowed the Crunch onslaught momentarily with a strike but Derezic picked up his hat trick soon after. Spragling notched his second on the night to push the lead to six, 10-4. Spragling celebrated by doing a full backflip. (No penalty for having fun in this league.) Reynolds scored his second goal to end the half 10-5.
The third period saw the Crunch absolutely obliterate any hope for an Inferno comeback. The home side’s offensive firepower was on full display as they scored the period’s first five goals. Minick opened the scoring again with his third followed by Sami Mutemwa’s strike. Next, Suljevic got his second with Minick continuing his great game, picking up his fourth on the power play. Finally, Spragling earned his hat trick to close the book on the Crunch’s third-period scoring. Colorado tacked on a late-period goal to make it 15-6 but all in attendance knew this match was effectively over.
The Crunch locked down the Inferno offense in the fourth period, blanketing the visitors wherever they were on the field. The home team shut out their opponents while picking up two more goals in the process via Jordan (his second, courtesy of a 5-on-3 power play) and Chris Cvecko’s first goal of the season.
The Crunch made a statement with this 17-6 victory. A team effort throughout with eight different goal scorers and eight different players notching at least one assist. The defense was outstanding as it limited the Inferno to one goal in the second half. Musa had 12 saves while Mike Derezic was named Man of the Match again. Fans at the Soccer Sportsplex left the arena feeling flush after the impressive win but more importantly, they were able to leave with a sense of hope that great things are to come with this new iteration of the Crunch.
*Photo used with permission of the Cleveland Crunch.