OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Oly-Pen Force built a three goal lead twice in the third quarter before the Oly Town Artesians battled back but ultimately fell short in a 9-8 loss at The Pavilion on Saturday night. Alex Hernandez provided most of the offense for the Force scoring five times. Nate Boatright and Manny Nicasio chipped in with two goals each for the Artesians but couldn’t get the late equalizer and fell to 2-4-0 on the season.

Collin LaBranche got the Artesians going, scoring the opening goal early in the first quarter off a pass by Christian Segovia. Alex Hernandez tied the game with a minute left in the first and then scored two of the Force’s next three goals including one with 2:21 left in the second quarter that gave the Force a 4-3 lead, following Artesians goals by Jordan Zimmerman and Segovia that tied the game at 3-3. Marco Lopez’s strike a minute later gave the Force a 5-3 lead at the half.

James Salisbury opened the scoring in the third quarter with a goal just 30 seconds in to give the Force their first three goal lead. Manny Nicasio and Nate Boatright got it back to a one goal game, 6-5, Jaisen Zurfluh and Hernandez built the lead back to 8-5 with 2:50 left in the third. Boatright capped off a six goal quarter and sent the game to the fourth quarter with the Artesians trailing by two, 8-6.

Collin Tate got it back to a one goal contest with 12:04 left off of an assist by Boatright but Hernandez struck three minutes later with his fifth goal and what proved to be the game winner. Matt Stalnik replaced Hunter Bowman in goal for the Artesians to provide Oly Town with a sixth attacker and the strategy produced Nicasio’s second goal, who poked in the ball after being knocked down in front of the goal, but despite the extra man and a furious attack, the Force and goalkeeper Cole Weaver held off the Artesians to secure the 9-8 victory.

The loss dropped the Artesians to 2-4-0 while the Force improved to 2-4-0, but because of their 9-6 victory earlier in the season, Oly Town holds the playoff tiebreaker and remained in fourth place in the Western Indoor Soccer League.

The Artesians will get right back at it next Saturday, January 18th when they host the Snohomish Skyhawks. First kick at The Pavilion at The Evergreen State College is set for 6:35 PM. Tickets are just $8 for adults, $5 for kids 5-12 years-old, seniors, military and first responders and the popular Well 80 Beer Garden will be open for fans 21 and over.

Josh Dube | Photo: Sonja Purtteman

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Oly Town Artesians took the undefeated defending champion Tacoma Stars Reserves to the brink on Saturday night, but their upset bid was held off in the last seconds in a 6-5 loss at The Pavilion at Evergreen. The Stars Reserves never trailed in the game but also never held more than a two goal lead and they gave up a season high five goals to the Artesians before extending their winning streak to 17 games.

The two teams started out strong in the first quarter, but Oly’s starting goalkeeper, JJ Olson, took a shot straight to the cheek and had to be removed from the game after five minutes of play. The experienced Stars Reserves managed to sneak three goals past backup Hunter Bowman, who made just his second appearance as an indoor keeper, and took a 3-1 lead after the first 15 minutes of play.

Olson returned to goal for the second quarter and Collin Tate got the Artesians to within one, 3-2, with a power play goal. But a long clearance that snuck out of bounds led to a free kick from the top of the circle that JJ Schmeck buried with 22 seconds left in the quarter to give Tacoma a 4-2 lead at the half.

Josh Dube made it a one goal game again, 4-3, early in the third quarter but the two defenses and two goalkeepers, Olson and Stars Reserves keeper Alek Greenleaf, played fantastic for the rest of the third quarter and well into the fourth quarter until Tacoma’s Adrian Correa made it 5-3 with 4:27 left to play. Manny Nicasio answered just 18 seconds later and got Oly to within one once again. But with the Artesians pressing to get the equalizer, a turnover led to what proved to be the game winner by Nate Ford with 2:46 left.

Oly brought on a sixth attacker late and Mitch Balmer’s goal with 24 seconds made it 6-5. Oly peppered Greenleaf with a series of shots in the final seconds but couldn’t get the equalizer and the young squad dropped a hard fought decision to a Reserves team full of players either currently signed to professional contracts with the Tacoma Stars or to former professionals, 6-5.

The loss dropped the much improved Artesians to a hard luck 2-3-0 after the Western Indoor Soccer League’s first half. They will play three of their final five games at home including the second half opener on Saturday, January 11th against the Oly-Pen Force. First kick for the first game of 2020 at The Pavilion is set for 6:35.

Tacoma, meanwhile, improved to 5-0-0 and they have not lost since they fell in the 2017-2018 championship game to Bellingham United.

Tacoma Stars Reserves goals: Diego Aceves, Adrian Correa, Nate Ford, Mark Lee, Douglas Lima, JJ Schmeck
Oly Town Artesians goals: Mitch Balmer, Josh Dube, Manny Nicasio, Collin Tate, Esau Vazquez

Christian Segovia | Photo by Charis Wilson

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Oly Town Artesians held the high powered Bellingham United offense to their lowest score at the Bellingham Sportsplex this season, but were also held to their lowest score of the season by the Hammers defense in an 8-1 loss on Saturday night. Nick Cashmere scored three times and chipped in three assists for Bellingham in the win.

Bellingham got off on the right foot with a goal by Richard Henderson just 15 seconds into the first period, but the Artesians defense rallied and held the Hammers to just the one goal through the first 15 minutes. Nick Cashmere scored the first of his three goals 45 seconds into the second period and then assisted on Rene Caro’s power play goal at the 9:37 mark. JJ Olson made a series of fantastic saves, facing numerous shots, but Noe Betancourt Cruz scored with 2:49 left in the half to break the game wide open and give Bellingham a 4-0 lead at the break.

United scored goals in the first minute of the third and fourth quarters to go up 6-0 and then took advantage of the Artesians’ second foul accumulation penalty and a blue card for boarding to score a 5-on-3 power play goal and another goal just after the 5-on-4 power play expired to take an 8-0 lead with 10:42 left in the fourth quarter. Christian Segovia finally got the Artesians on the board with 4:26 left when he tucked a low dribbler through traffic and past Bellingham keeper Nate Salveson to avoid the shutout.

Oly Town was whistled for 15 fouls in the game and served three blue card penalties while Bellingham was called for just six fouls. The loss dropped Oly Town to 2-2-0 this season while Bellingham improved to 3-1-0.

The Artesians return home for their last game of the first half and last game of 2019 when they face the first place and defending champion Tacoma Stars Reserves on Saturday, December 21st. First kick at The Pavilion at Evergreen is set for 6:35. The Well 80 Beer Garden will be open and there will be giveaways and other festivities all game long. Tickets are just $8 for adults at the door.

Bellingham United goals: Nick Cashmere (3), Noe Betancourt Cruz, Rene Caro, Gus Diehl, Richard Henderson, Spencer Wolfe
Oly Town Artesians goal: Christian Segovia