NOT YOUR ORDINARY JOEY: Tavernese's hat-trick lifts Lancers 2 to win in M2 season opener

MUSKEGON, Mich. - Rochester's return to indoor soccer turned out to be quite a successful one on Friday night.

Joey Tavernese recorded a hat-trick and goalkeeper Daniel Maddock made several vital saves to lift Rochester Lancers 2 to a 6-3 victory over the Muskegon Risers in its Major Arena Soccer League 2 season opener at Mercy Health Arena on Friday night.

Vadim Cojocov, Dan Reger and Matt D’Amico also tallied for the winners, who improved to 1-0 while the Risers fell to 1-5.

It was Rochester's first indoor game in 1,036 days, or since it defeated the Kansas City Comets via a 9-7 home victory on March 7, 2020, in MASL action just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first quarter was a defensive battle as both goalkeepers stood out. Maddock enjoyed a strong period, making three saves.

The hosts broke through at 7:41 of the second quarter as Steve Merker slotted home an Aldony Mendez feed from the right corner.

Rochester, however, equalized at 1-1 at 9:08 as Tavernese, a player-assistant coach who also performs for Utica City FC (MASL), cleaned up in front of the net past goalie Luca Lobo. It was the club's first indoor goal since that Comets match, when Jeremy Ortiz tallied the final goal.

After Andriy Demydiv was assessed a blue card at 11:45, Lancers 2 killed a two-minute penalty to finish the opening half tied at 1-1.

Only 37 seconds into the second half, Tavernese gave the visitors a 2-1 lead they never relinquished as he caught Lobo out of the net as he lofted a shot from distance.

Muskegon's Henry Spees was awarded a blue card for knocking down Lancers 2 player-coach Jake Schindler on the left side of the attacking zone at 2:06 of the third period and Rochester cashed in as Cojocov converted a power-play goal for a 3-1 advantage at 2:25.

Instead of going into a shell, Lancers 2 continued to attack and came close to adding to its lead on several occasions if it wasn't for some excellent goalkeeping by Lobo.

The Risers sliced the lead to 3-2 at 10:46 as Miguel Flores connected for his team-high fourth score of the season.

Tavernese, however, restored Rochester's two-goal lead with a goal at 12:38 of the third period.

Some 97 seconds into the fourth quarter, Daniel Arellano scored from distance as his shot deflected off Schindler as Muskegon closed within 4-3.

Lancers 2 put the game away with a pair of late goals as (11:46) and D'Amico (13:34) found the net, the second tally after Lobo was pulled for a sixth attacker, Taylor Pill.

With 13 seconds remaining in the match, D'Amico's quest for a brace was thwarted as his penalty kick saved.

These two teams will tussle again at Mercy on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.

After playing two more away games in Iowa next month, Lancers 2 will host the Iowa Demon Hawks in its home opener at Total Sports Experience in East Rochester, N.Y. on Friday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Those two sides will play again at the same venue on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

For more information on the team,