Sept 24, 2012 | Hickman’s four goals not enough to hold off Bullies
by Samuel Perley
The Charlotte Copperheads kicked off their inaugural home opener on Saturday night when they welcomed the Jacksonville Bullies to Bojangles Coliseum. Despite winning the opener last week in Jacksonville 19-14, the Copperheads were unable to string consecutive wins together as a strong second quarter by the visiting Bullies propelled them past Charlotte for a 12-9 victory to drop Charlotte to 1-1 on the season. Jacksonville evened their record to 1-1 as well.
The Copperheads got off to a quick start and both teams were knotted at a four by the end of the first quarter. However, Jacksonville came out strong after the break and managed to blank the home team in the second by scoring five straight to enter halftime with a 9-4 advantage. The physical play started to escalate in the second quarter as there were multiple stoppages by the referees to try and calm both teams down before things got out of hand.
Charlotte narrowed the gap to 12-8 by the end of the third quarter but only managed to tack one more on as the Bullies left Charlotte with the win.
“I give the Bullies a lot of credit” said Head Coach Tom Ryan. “They had a good game plan and took us out of our game. We played better in the second half and went on a few runs but our lack of discipline and penalties thwarted any chance of a comeback” he added.
Despite the loss, the Copperheads’ Kevin Iwanusa remained optimistic. “It was a tough game for us, on offense I know we wanted to put more points on the board. But every time out is a learning experience and we will take this and get better from it” he stated.
Matt Hickman, recently named the PLL‘s Player of the Week, led the way for the Copperheads with four goals. Also notching goals for the Copperheads’ were Kevin Iwanusa (2), Ethan Farrell (1), Nick Cotter (1) and Thomas Langan (1). Greg Rogowski tallied an impressive seven assists while Farrell and Ryan Hotaling each had a pair. Hickman, Iwanusa, Langan, Cotter, and Matt Smalley also each had one assist apiece.
The Bullies had hat tricks by both Shawn Wilkins and Kyle Hartzell. Wade Bucktooth (2), Elliot Bender (2) Tom Compitello (1) and Kiel Matisz (1) also notched goals for the visitors. Matisz and Wilkins also led in the assist department with three each followed by Compitello and Wade Bucktooth who each contributed two. Junior Bucktooth, Josh Porcell and Hartzell all assisted on one goal as well.
Copperheads’ goalie, Tory Stevens, stopped 31 of 43 shots while the Bullies’ Spencer Lyons blocked 41 of the 50 shots against him. Both goaltenders played the full 60 minutes.
The Copperheads return home to Bojangles Coliseum on October 6 at 4:00PM when they take on the Syracuse Stingers.