ROY — Roy 'keeper Kaden Brinkerhoff paced post-to-post, steadfastly watching action on the other end.
The Royals spent the majority of the game attacking, but Mountain Crest had its fair share of tasty opportunities, too, including multiple free kicks and corner kicks.
However, Brinkerhoff wasn’t having any of it.
As the clock ticked away in the second half, crows began cawing — symbolizing the inevitable. Once again, Brinkerhoff sent opposing scorers to the graveyard with his fourth-straight shutout in Roy’s 2-0 win Tuesday over the Mustangs.
“I credit my defense — the whole team,” Brinkerhoff said when asked what he’d changed in his routine during this shutout streak. “We play a great team defense. I just do what I can to help the team. We have great team chemistry. I love playing with this team. They’re like a family and we just have a good time on the field.”
He hasn’t changed his diet. He, albeit fitting considering the terror he creates in front of the net, also hasn’t listened to Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” on repeat, either. He hasn’t changed anything, but Brinkerhoff’s game certainly has reached new levels. After starting the season 2-2, the Royals have outscored their last four opponents 11-0 behind Brinkerhoff’s prowess.
“We’ve been stringing together some great practices (and) we’ve got some good talks from our coaches,” Brinkerhoff said. “They’ve really encouraged us to play to our fullest potential. We’ve just been having fun and I guess that’s when we play the best.”
The Royals took an early 1-0 lead when Gerardo Gill hammered a well-placed cross in the opening minutes.
“It’s always nice to get up a goal so you don’t have to fight back,” Brinkerhoff said. “It puts us a little bit more confident and gets us going better.”
From that point, the two teams battled evenly in a very physical game that featured two yellow cards. Mountain Crest had several inviting looks at the net throughout the first 40 minutes and sporadically in the second half, but never could sneak anything past Brinkerhoff.
“We got a couple good, quality looks, but we didn’t make them pay,” Mountain Crest coach Mike Gurney said. “That’s what we’ve been facing the last five games — not being able to finish that last little touch. It’s frustrating for us all but we feel like it’s coming down to a mental aspect. I think we’re losing focus.”
Roy extended its advantage, 2-0, with 30 seconds remaining in stoppage time in the first half on a penalty kick. Brock Charlesworth baited to the right and drizzled a snake into the lower left-hand corner.
The Mustangs return to action Friday at home against Logan at 3:30 p.m. Roy, meanwhile, hosts Box Elder on the same day and time.