Dec 6th, 2012 | Iwanusa, Hickman shine in 2012 finale
by Samuel Perley
The Charlotte Copperheads met up with their PLL rival Reading Rockets on Saturday night for the fourth and final showdown of 2012 and for the fourth and final time, the Copperheads were able to come away with another victory as they prevailed over the host Rockets by a score of 14-10.The Copperheads finish the season with a record of 6-1.
Notable highlights of the game included a team high five goals from Kevin Iwanusa while Matt Hickman also added a hat trick. Brian Welch and Kyle Costello each had a pair of goals while Thomas Langan and recently added Brian Dube also tallied a score for the visitors. Notably, Costello’s goals were the first two of his professional career. Ryan Hotaling also notched a team high seven assists for the Copperheads.
Travis Bland netted a hat trick for the Rockets to lead the way for the home team. Andrew Wasik also recorded a pair of goals.
Winning goaltender Brad Conlon played a strong first three quarters by turning away 30 of the 37 shots before being relieved by Tory Stevens who closed out the victory for Charlotte. Stevens tallied 12 saves on 15 Reading shots.
Rockets goalie Chris Collins stopped 48 of the visiting Copperheads’ 62 shots.
“Kevin Iwanusa stepped up big time and Brian Welch continued to be a dominant force all over the floor. More than that it was a great team win. The last one always resonates in your head and in your heart. We wanted to finish out on a winning note,” said head coach Tom Ryan.
Charlotte was without some of its top-goal scoring threats in Ethan Farrell and Greg Rogowski as well defensive forces Erik Holt and Mike O’Brien who were all attending National Lacrosse League training camps over the weekend. Farrell, Rogowski and Holt were all trying out for the Philadelphia Wings while O’Brien was working out with the Minnesota Swarm. Sam Bradman was also absent from the trip due to professional sponsorship commitments.
Likewise, the Rockets were without Jesse Guerin, who scored six goals in the last meeting between the teams on November 9, who was also in Minnesota.
“Great way to end the season,” said the Copperheads’ Brian Welch. “We had a bunch of guys step up and fill some roles. Proud of what we were able to accomplish on the floor this year,” he added.
“It was a battle to the end as expected and it’s great to end the season with a win. Even without some of our key guys, we’re a tough group to handle,” said the Copperheads’ Thomas Langan. “We refuse to let each other down and it’s showed all season.”