OLYMPIA, Wash. – Adrian Espinoza scored four goals in a five goal first quarter for Snohomish and the Skyhawks held off a second half comeback to take a 9-7 victory over the Oly Town Artesians on Saturday night. Matt Herrera scored twice for the hobbled Artesians, who were missing leading goal scorer Willie Spurr due to an injury and have now lost four straight games. Despite the loss, the Artesians still face a win-and-they-are-in playoff scenario when they travel to Olympic next Saturday.
Jake Sanford kicked off the scoring in the game with a goal at the 12:40 mark of the first quarter to put Oly Town up 1-0. But then Espinoza took over, scoring three unanswered goals in a span of three minutes to give Snohomish the lead. Crisantos Chavez cut the Artesians deficit to one goal with 4:30 left in the first, but it was Espinoza again followed by a goal by former Artesian Brendan Rosgen and the first quarter mercifully came to an end with the Skyhawks up 5-2.
The shell shocked Artesians were blanked by Snohomish keeper Seth Hespe in the second quarter and allowed two goals to Eli Peterson and Jay Hardy to take a five goal deficit into the halftime break.
Goals by Tom Kemennu and Herrera gave the Artesians and the packed house at The Pavilion new life early in the third quarter. But Peterson scored what turned out to be the eventual game winner with 8:20 left in the third, and a shorthanded goal late in the period gave Snohomish an insurmountable 9-4 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Oly fought valiantly in the fourth getting goals from Herrera, Nate Boatright and Matt Stalnik but Hespe was incredible between the pipes for the Skyhawks and kept the Artesians (3-5-1, 10 points) at bay to take home a 9-7 win. The win puts Snohomish (3-4-2, 11 points) into third place in the WISL while the Tacoma Stars Reserves (3-5-1, 10 points) cling to the fourth and final playoff spot based on goal differential.
The Artesians travel to Bremerton next Saturday in the regular season finale. A win against the second place Olympic Force would secure a playoff spot for the Artesians. Even with a loss, there is a slim chance that Oly could sneak into the final spot.