Grand Rapids Gets by Houston, to Face Omaha in Final

The MLIS Championship will be #1 vs. #2 after Rapid City FC kept up their end of the bargain and beat the Houston Bolt 10-5 in a late Saturday night semifinal.  Eastern Division champion Grand Rapids (10-2 regular season, 1-0 playoffs) will now face the Central Division champion Omaha Kings.

Unlike the first semifinal that saw five lead changes, Nermin Crnkic scored at 3:09 of the first quarter and Rapid City never relinquished the lead.

Houston (9-3 regular season, 0-1 playoffs) did make two runs. After falling behind 3-0, Abraham Bernal got Houston on the board. Irvin Ramirez failed to convert a penalty kick, but Jeminson Mejia scored to cut the lead to 3-2.

Grand Rapids went on a run of their own with goals by Crnkic, Matt Jackson, and Daire O'Riordan to make it 6-2. Houston got two goals from Lucio Martinez in the second and third quarters to pull within 6-4, but Elmedin Zukic's goal 88 seconds later stifled the Bolt's comeback plans.

Rapid City goalkeeper Jay Toric had a strong night and was credited with 15 saves to improve to 8-0, including regular season and playoffs. Houston goalie Gabe Enciso lost for the first time after also going 7-0 in the regular season.

Grand Rapids will face Omaha in Sunday's championship at 2:00pm CDT at Grand Sports Arena.