End of Game Heroics Keep Knights Undefeated
The Knights having secured the top ranking heading into the last games of the regular season, knew that first place was all but locked up but to have that elusive goose egg under the loss column was also something they were shooting for... and in their way, the Plugs!
Umbrella's and tents were out last night as Mother Nature didn't want to cooperate with the players as the rain fell at a gentle but consistent pace throughout the game. There were many errant passes and shots due to bagged out sticks but players compensated after the first quarter and the game stayed interesting throughout the match.
Ryan Lewis opened the scoring for the Plugs but Cody Clark then evened it up just over a minute later. Goaltenders took over with both Will Chiasson (Knights) and Dan Ormiston (Plugs) seemingly stopping everything thrown at them. Halfway through the first quarter, Nick Preston cut topside over the stack and buried the go ahead goal for the Knights. Clark then follows that up with his second with 2 minutes remaining. The Plugs Pat McMillan cut off a crease pick to receive a pass from James Spence to bury his first of the night to make the score 3-2 at the end of one.
The second quarter saw each team score 4 goals each in this evenly contested match. The Plugs tallies by Steve Higgs, Ryan Lewis and two by James Spence. The Knights Parker Johnson dropped his first into the cage, as did Brenden Harstad as well as one by the leagues' leading scorer Adam Golia and Clark with his third of the night. Halftime score was 7-6 Knights.
To start the third, the Plugs win possession and take the ball to "X" but an ill-advised pass from "X" through the middle was picked off at the top of the crease by Brayden "Lightning McQueen" Zunti and he was gone, coast to coast to bury his first of the evening. The Plugs Colin Bell would bring them back to within one goal on a nice individual effort but then Preston and Johnson would put the Knights up by three. Not to be denied, Lewis would bury two goals within :52 seconds of each other to bring the score within 1 goal again, but the league's second leading scorer (Cole Christiaens) who had been kept silent all game thus far, woke up his stick with a minute left in the third quarter to restore a two goal lead (11-9) heading into the final frame.
The Plugs Mason Lo scored early to bring the game within one but the two goal lead would be restored when the Knights Nick Preston would pick up a loose ball at his own restraining line and while being pursued by the Plugs Mat Tytgat the whole length of the field, he would toss a sick backhand through a slide to Parker Johnson would bury his third of the evening. Then the shoes fell off the horses of the Knights and the Plugs saw some energy return to their sticks; with around 10 minutes on the clock, Brodie Wade tallies his first of the evening. "Shifty" Stevie Higgs sneaks past the pole checking him to tally his first of the night to tie the game at 12. Then with around 4 minutes left to go and again with 2:09 left in the game, Patrick McMIllan scores back to back goals giving him 3 on the night but more importantly, a 14-12 lead. But the game of lacrosse sometimes can turn the tides on you, without notice. With 1:38 remaining in the game, the VFLL's leading goal scorer Adam Golia buries his second of the game and league leading 33rd of the season. Then a half-minute later off a loose ball scrum at centre, Nick Preston feeds Johnson to tie the game. Two quick possessions back and forth then gave the Knights another opportunity and this time Preston drove down the middle and buried a wicked sidearm shot on the run in the bottom right corner to give the Knights a one goal lead (15-14). Crucial face-off time... but not in the Plugs favour as the Knights scoop up the ball and keep the ball "hot", not allowing a double team to form with the ball carrier, giving them the victory and undefeated season.
HeadCase Sportz Players of the Game:
Knights: Parker Johnson
Plugs: Dan Ormiston
The rain let up a bit for the second game of the evening which saw the Phantom take on the Goal Diggers on field #3 at UVIC's artificial turf fields. As you know, the Phantom have faced adversity all season long. They entered the league 2 weeks late as many from their roster withdrew at the start. A few players took the reigns and began recruiting to fill roster spots and did a great job but as with many of the players, hadn't played field for a coons' age and needed a few games to get their feet wet again, learn some of the new rules and begin to gel as a team.
It seemed to be a consistent theme in last nights game; whenever the Phantom lost a faceoff, or crashed the cage, the ball popped out or squirted free and the Goal Diggers would pick it up and gain an odd man advantage and tally a marker. One that didn't squirm away was a feed from Karl Hare to Ethan Brown to give the Phantom their first goal of the game with :30 seconds left in the first quarter, but the 'Diggers potted a goal every three minutes on average to take a 5-1 lead into intermission.
Both teams seemed to enjoy the evening, players played different positions so that they got to experience different facets of the game that they normally wouldn't. The cards seemed to fall in favour for the Goal Diggers this night but the Phantom did have some energy and click near the end of the match with Hare and the Phantoms' "anonymous" attacker scoring pretty goals.
HeadCase Sportz Players of the Game:
Phantom: Ethan Brown
Goal Diggers: Ryan Fedrigo