MAU goes down early, falls to Rutland at home
Sometimes, MAU is on its game and it shows on the scoreboard. Other times, they struggle to find any consistency and play disjointed at times.
Wednesday's home game against Rutland fell into the latter category.
The Raiders jumped on the Patriots early and MAU couldn't fully recover, falling to Rutland 10-6 at Vets Home Field.
After MAU's Max Noyes scored a goal just over a minute into the game, the Raiders quickly bounced back and scored four unanswered goals before the first quarter buzzer.
The Rutland lead went up to 5-1 early in the second quarter.
Though the Patriots battled back with a pair of goals before the half, it was clear the early deficit had an impact on their play.
"We've seen it way too many times this season," said MAU coach Alex Cross. "They start out and get a couple goals ahead and we just kind of shut down. A lot of these guys are young and a handful of them haven't seen varsity. It's tough when you're coming up from middle school or JV, they're not used to seeing this type of competition."
Though Rutland controlled a good portion of the pace of play in the first half, the Patriots had the ball in the opposing zone on a lot instances late in the half. Owen Hansen and Max Noyes executed on two shots in the Raiders' zone, but there were plenty of shots that just weren't finding the back of the net during that stretch.
To Cross, a lot of those misses come down to the mental game when taking those shots.
"I think sometimes we panic too much," Cross said. "They have the skill and the heart, but they panic and that gets the best of them. You'll have that, but the biggest things is that they just need to relax. On days when they relax and we possess the ball, it goes our way. We just need to find those days."
Rutland dominated possession, especially in the third quarter. The Raiders added three of their 10 goals in that frame.
Even though Rutland was finding the back of the net with its possession advantage, the MAU defense did a good job of keeping them in check to not let the game get out of hand.
"There was plenty of positives. Between Matt Glanovsky, Lucas Reutter and Chris Nolan, they're just spectacular. They kept us close," Cross said.
Even with some of its usual top scorers being held off the board, the Patriots had a nice day from Noyes, who led the team with three goals. Owen Hansen scored twice, while freshman Matthew Harrington scored once.
On the Rutland side, junior Conner Ladabouche had a game-high four goals. Six different players had one goal in the game for the Raiders.
With the loss, MAU falls to 3-10 on the season. As the final week of the regular season draws near, the Patriots need all the wins they can get to better their position in Division I.
MAU plays Brattleboro at home Friday, before its rematch with rival Burr and Burton on the road Monday. They finish out their regular season slate against Wahconah next Wednesday.
Coming into the day, they were 13th in the Division I standings, and they have to win two of their final three games to qualify for the postseason. MAU has a school policy in place that teams have to have a winning percentage of at least 30 percent to qualify.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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