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Raptors Weekend Wrap-Up

In their first home-field action of the 2023-24 MASL2 season, your Raptors split a weekend series with the visiting St. Louis Ambush 2, falling 9-12 on Friday, December 22 before roaring back with an impressive 7-3 victory on Saturday, December 23.

In Friday's game, St. Louis scored early in the first quarter, but your Raptors battled back, taking the lead several times in the first three periods. But St. Louis always seemed to have an answer, and a three-goal run in middle of the 4th quarter put the game out of reach.

"It was a tough loss," said team captain Jake Johnson, "but we saw a lot of positives out there. We'll get them tomorrow night."

Your Raptors have a good mix of veterans and young players, but are still working to gel as a unit. The team lost two vital contributors from last year's squad, leading scorer Jonah Dancer and two-way standout Ricky Orozco, to M1. Dancer was a first-round selection of the Milwaukee Wave this offseason, and Orozco is currently playing for Utica City FC. The Cedar Rapids side is also battling the injury bug, with explosive scorer Angelo Oquendo being just one of several Raptors on the shelf for Friday's tilt.

Among the highlights for your Raptors on Friday was the play of returning forward Sarrive Rukakiza, who knocked in two goals (and celebrated the first with his signature crowd-pleasing backflip). Veteran player/coach Bobby Hurwitz also returned to the lineup, contributing a goal and an assist. Nico Williams netted two, and David Nega, Ian Kearney, Isaiah Thomas, and Anthony de la Torre contributed a goal each.

Sarrive Rukakiza

Oquendo returned to the lineup with a vengeance on Saturday, racking up three goals and an assist. Isaiah Thomas netted two, and Ricardo Avalos and Anthony de la Torre contributed a goal each. Rukakiza, Hurwitz, Pat Kelly, and Williams added an assist apiece, and Chase Peterson contributed two.

New keeper Haakon Utesch was dynamic in the net, surrendering just two goals, one on an Ambush power play (an unfortunate bounce on defense accounted for the Ambush's third score). His stellar play was backed up by some excellent defense, including an acrobatic block by Peterson, who dove in front of an otherwise certain Ambush score.

"It was a statement game," Oquendo said. "We came out and did what we needed to do. I'm just happy to be back and able to help the team."

Now 1-2 on the season, your Raptors return to action this upcoming Thursday, December 28, for the rubber match vs. the Ambush 2. Tickets are on sale at the Power House box office, and online. Kickoff is at 7pm. See you there!

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