After a long wait, the San Diego Sockers season was finally upon us, and their first victim would be the Rio Grande Valley Barracudas. The game was played at the newly named Pechanga Arena. But first the Sockers paid tribute to a legend during their pregame ceremonies, honoring the late Ron Newman. Ron Newman passed away in August of 2018, leaving behind a legacy that will never be forgotten. Ron Newman led the Sockers to 10 Championships in 11 seasons. The Sockers honored Newman by inviting his family to the field and presenting a photo of Ron with all his championship trophies to Ron’s son who then said a few words. The Sockers capped off the ceremony with the announcement of the field now being name Ron Newman Field.
The first half was a scoreless one, but the Sockers came close on some shots. San Diego had a lot shots hit the post and the cross bar while shots were also saved by the RGV goalie. The key opportunities the Sockers came in the 2nd quarter on 2 power play opportunities. The first was a 2 minute minor for dangerous tackle with 10:44 left in the 2nd quarter. The 2nd power play happened 6 seconds after the first expired, a 2 minute minor for too many men on the field. Both power plays yielded zero goals for San Diego. The Sockers defensive presence was strong in the 1st half, only allowing 1 Shot on goal and giving the Barracudas very little possession. The score at Halftime was tied 0-0 with San Diego holding an advantage in shots on goal at 12-1.
After a much needed halftime offensively, it was time to see if the Sockers could put some points on the board. The 3rd quarter started out with the same story at the 1st half with shots bouncing off the crossbar and the game remaining 0-0 most of the quarter. The 0-0 score was finally broken when Christian Gutierrez put one in the net with 8:27 remaining in the 3rd to give the Sockers a 1-0 lead.
San Diego didn’t take long to score again as Kraig Chiles doubled the Sockers lead to 2-0 with 7:39 left in the 3rd. With the 3rd quarter closing to an end, the Sockers were on the power play for the 3rd time tonight as with Rio Grande Valley being penalized 2 minutes for tripping with 31 seconds left in the 3rd. Christian Gutierrez scored his second goal of the match, this one a power play goal with 6.8 seconds left in the 3rd. San Diego led 3-0 at the end of the 3rd.
The Sockers were on the scoreboard, now the question was Rio Grand Valley get on the board or would the Sockers post a shut out for the 2nd straight year. The Barracudas put any chance of a shutout to rest fast as Erick Jhon Ponce scored the Barracudas’ first goal of the game 1:16 into the fourth quarter. The Sockers still lead 3-1. Ponce scored his 2nd goal of the game with 5:11 left in the 4th to narrow the Sockers lead to 3-2. San Diego’s lost their lead as Moises Gonzalez tied the game 3-3 with 3:37 left in the 4th. With no one able to break the tie before the end of the 4th, the game would head to overtime.
With the game tied, it was time for a 10 minute period to try and decide a winner. within the first couple of minute, the Sockers got 3 shots on goal in a matter of 5 seconds, and not one found the back of the net. The game finally had a winner about halfway through the overtime period. Leonardo De Oliveira scored the game winning goal on an assists from Brian Farber to give the Sockers a 4-3 overtime win. Both De Oliveira and Gutierrez are brand new to the Sockers this season having been acquired during the offseason.
With the win the San Diego Sockers start the season 1-0 and their next game will be Thursday, December 20th, at Ontario to play the Ontario Fury.
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