After a 12-4 loss at Halifax last Saturday in the first game in franchise history, the Riptide continue their season-opening three game road trip this Saturday night when they face the Vancouver Warriors at Rogers Arena (10 p.m. MSG and Bleacher Report Live). The first game didn’t bring the result that the Riptide was looking for, but it certainly was a learning lesson.
“Halifax just came out flying and certainly we got on our heels from the get go,” said Riptide General Manager and Head Coach Regy Thorpe. “It was just a flurry of goals and hats off to them. They’re a veteran team. They came out flying and exposed us. We’re excited for an opportunity to get back at it this week against a really good Vancouver team that is going to come out flying as well.”
The Riptide was not able to recover from a tough start as they trailed 7-0 after the first quarter. From that point on, the Riptide was outscored by just one goal over the last three quarters. After a good showing during pre-season scrimmages, New York dropped its first game in what was the first NLL contest ever for many of the players, including first overall pick Tyson Gibson who scored the first goal in franchise history in the 2nd quarter.
Looking back on it, it was a tough pill for the Riptide to swallow, but it was just the first game.
“It’s one of those things where playing your worst game that’s probably possible for us the first game of the year isn’t a horrible thing,” said forward Dan Lomas, who scored two goals. “I think it humbled us a little bit. I think playing a couple of exhibition games and competing pretty well…I think we may have been feeling good about ourselves and we came to a quick realization that it was just exhibition and now it’s the real thing. It was a wakeup call.”
This week, the team held a couple conference calls as the leadership group of captain Dan MacRae along with assistant captains Tyler Digby and John Ranagan discussed how the team can move forward from the season opening defeat and get ready for the next challenge in Vancouver.
“They’ve been active getting the guys focused on the film,” said Thorpe of his veteran leaders. “At the end of the day it’s a process. It’s a marathon and not a sprint and we just want to get better and learn and move on to Vancouver. They’re going to be a handful. They’re much improved from last year. They’re all over the floor.”
Vancouver opened up their season with a 12-7 home loss to the Calgary Roughnecks. Forwards Logan Schuss and Mitch Jones each scored two goals for the Warriors while goalie Eric Penney made 37 saves. For the Riptide, it’s going to be another tough battle on the road this time in Western Canada against the Warriors.
“I think they’re a great team,” said Lomas. “The first game isn’t indicative of the players they have. We’re going to have to come to play hard and we just have to come in an do the little things right and worrying about doing our jobs to the best of our ability and hopefully we can come out on top.”
Following the game in Vancouver, the Riptide will enjoy a bye week before returning to action on Friday December 27th at the New England Black Wolves. Then the next night, on Saturday December 28th, the Riptide will host the Saskatchewan Rush at NYCB LIVE in the first home game in franchise history.