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Defending CCC champs hand Pride first league loss
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Pitmans Frank Aliaga attempts a pass during the first half of Mondays 16-6 loss to Atwater. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

The defending Central California Conference champion Atwater Falcons came into town on Monday and stole a league opening win from the Pitman Pride.

Fresh off a 2-3 record at the Sierra Shootout in Rocklin, Pitman was looking to create a winning streak, but a powerful second half by Atwater secured the Falcons’ 16-6 win.

“I think our first half was really good,” said Pitman head coach Colin Wenstrand. “I think Atwater is a team that comes out really strong, fast counter attacks so we tried to game plan to prepare for that and we had guys playing offense with defense in mind, which helped slow down their counter in the first half.”

Pitman found themselves down 4-2 after a close first period that included the opening goal from Brady Gutierrez for the Pride.

Atwater outscored Pitman 3-1 in the second period heading into halftime with a score of 7-3 in favor of the Falcons.

“Unfortunately, they were able to make adjustments in the second half and that is what ended up costing us,” said Wenstrand. “But a few execution errors on offense and some turnovers that we had, and could have been a tie game at half, so first half I was really pleased with.”

The third period was a barrage of shots and goals from Atwater, which outscored Pitman 5-1.

“The third quarter was a challenge, that is when the game kind of turned to their favor and so that is when it got out of hand,” said Wenstrand. “In the end, I am pleased with a lot of things, but I am also bummed because I felt we had some execution errors and forced errors with the passes that if we don’t do that then it’s not a 10-goal game, maybe five or something like that.”

Down 12-4 heading into the fourth, the Pride were looking to score by any means necessary, however, leading scorer Andree Shields added the only two goals for Pitman to close out the game with a 10-goal loss.

Shields ended the game with four of the team’s six goals.

“Regardless of what level your program is at, I think that any time you get to play or have the opportunity to play against a good team you don’t get nervous, you get excited about it,” said Wenstrand. “We embraced that opportunity as a way to measure ourselves.”

The next game for Pitman (0-1) will be on the road against Golden Valley at 6 p.m. Wednesday.