Day 1 for Puerto Rico at the LATAM Cup
by Samuel DeLeon
Women’s division, Puerto Rico 2, Chile 3. In a hard-fought game, where Puerto Rico’s women’s team gave it all they got, they fell just a few goals shy of the win. No team scored more than 1 goal each period making a very tight, intense, and hard-fought game. The raining LATAM gold medal champions on day 2 will look to come out with all they got and demoralize their next opponent.
U12, Puerto Rico 12, Team Caribbean 13. Puerto Rico scored on their first rush of the game and that was far from the end on the scoresheet. This was a game where the scoreboard changed a lot, down to the last second. The majority of the game was just the two teams exchanging goals until the last period. In the last period, Team Caribbean would start to take a lead and at one point lead 11-7. Despite their young age, team Puerto Rico would not let that deficit get to them and within minutes they would tie the game 11-11. Unfortunately, in the last remaining minutes of the period, the teams would continue to exchange goals with the Caribbean team getting the last of the many goals scored. The young group of boys and girls will look to get their first win of the tournament against the HPOC, on day 2.
U16, Puerto Rico 6, Argentina 5. Yet another close-fought game by the young Puerto Ricans, but in this game team Puerto Rico, would get the desired outcome. Puerto Rico went up 3-1 in the first period and would not be trailing on the scoreboard again. Puerto Rico would continue the goal-scoring, generating 2 more goals in the second period, while only allowing the Argentinians to score 1. Heading into the second with the score being 5-2, team Argentina would rally a comeback and tie the game 5-5. With some late-game heroics, Puerto Rico would score and go up 1 goal. The game would end with that being the final goal and Puerto Rico would win 6-5.
U20, Puerto Rico 10, Stanley (Falkland Islands) 0. Fifty-six seconds into the game Andrew Horn would open up the scoring with 1 of his 5 goals and it counted the whole game like that. Many things would lead to this huge win but great team play, great individual efforts, and phenomenal coaching would give the team of young men the win. Roberto (Bobby) Nabozny would score 2 short-handed goals in the first. Many other goals in the first would send the boys into the 2nd period with a 5-0 lead. The rest of the game was the same story, pure dominance. 4 goals in the 2nd and 1 goal in the 3rd would sail the Puerto Ricans into a 10-0 win. No game is won without a goalie and Michal Nabozny put on a masterpiece of a game with a shoutout and being the backbone of the team. U20 player Noah Rosado said it best, “We are a very complete team compromised of high skill and high IQ players who have already developed an uncanny chemistry in one game”. That is the big feeling in the locker room after just two games together. Heading into day 2 of the tournament the U20 team is feeling great in every aspect.
D2, Puerto Rico 8, ROTW (Rest Of The World) 4. Yet another game where the Puerto Ricans never trailed on the scoreboard. Starting the scoring early, team PR kept hammering away all game, scoring 2 in the first while only allowing ROTW, to score 1. In the 2nd period, the Puerto Ricans would do the majority of their damage, scoring 6 goals while keeping ROTW, to 2 goals. The third period would see Puerto Rico score 0 goals and ROTW, score 1, but that was far from enough for them to overcome their 8-3 deficit heading into the third. This game was a huge bright spot for the D2 team as they get a great start to the tournament and will look to attain their 2nd win on day 2.
D1 Puerto Rico 1, Mexico 3. In a very tough, intense, physical, and hard-fought game, the men's top team would, unfortunately, fall just a few goals shy of a win. This was a game where no goalie was getting beat on a clean shot, both goalies played lights out the whole game. The best both of these nations had to offer fought hard for three periods, but unfortunately, some heavily screened shots would beat Puerto Rico’s stellar goalie Kevin Lebron. Mexico would put up a goal per period, but unfortunately, the Puerto Ricans would only get one goal in the last few moments of the game. This was no game for the men's D1 team to be upset about, they fought hard to the last minute, blocked shots all game, played smart in all the zones with great transition play, outshot the opponent in every period, and most importantly used this first game to grow as a team. Unfortunately team Puerto Rico could not get the job done in the first game, but the runner-ups from last year’s tournament will look to win both games on day 2 and although they lost their first, this tournament is far from over.