Posted on: November 11, 2017
The Cape Breton Capers dream season continues. The number one ranked team in USPORTS will play for the 2017 USPORTS Respect Group Men’s soccer championship.
The Capers needed two goals in overtime to take the host Thompson Rivers University WolfPack 4-2.
Game highlights: click here
With over a thousand onlookers packed into Hillside Stadium, the top ranked Capers silenced the crowd early. Just over a minute in, USPORTS 2nd team All-Canadian Cory Bent took advantage of a miscue by WolfPack defender Josh Banton. He stole the ball of Banton and blasted it low left side by TRU keeper Alan Connor.
The WolfPack responded though. In the 11 th minute, Banton took a ball down in front of the Capers net. In a scramble the ball wound up on the foot of two time USPORTS Academic All Canadian Ryan Glanville. The 33 year old native of Williams Lake, BC made no mistake as he found open net leftside on Cape Breton’s Ben Jackson.
That first goal was scored on a set piece. TRU took the lead in the 20 th minute on a similar play. Canada West player of the year and USPORTS 1st team All-Star Mitchell Popadynetz took a corner kick which wound up on the right foot of James Fraser.
Fraser one timed it into the goal. It was his fifth goal of the post season. The ‘Pack led 2-1 at the half.
In the second half, the Capers tied it up in the 51 st minute. It was the speed of Caelan Budhoo who started it off with a run down the left side. When he reached the goal line he centered it for Stuart Heath who one timed it past Connor.
In overtime, Cape Breton capitalized on a set piece of their own. Four minutes into the first extra period, Budhoo took a corner kick and it was converted by Health for his second of the match.
In the 12th minute of the first OT, Charlie Waters converted on a free kick. His third marker of the Nationals eluded Connor as Waters beat the TRU keeper on the lower right side.
“That was just fantastic, “said Capers coach Dean Morley about the contest. “ Just loved the passion of the crowd, the energy and the commitment of all the players. We got the early goal and then they got one back and the fans were pumped up. It was great to experience. I think the TRU players fed off that and put two goals in.”
“The guys really battled today,” stated TRU head coach John Antulov. “They showed resilience. Even when we went down 4-2 in the second overtime we had four or five great scoring opportunities. They didn’t quit. They kept on fighting. “
See Antulov post game here
Despite the loss, both coaches felt TRU’s showing has put the program on the national map. “ I look at the last two weeks, we have beaten the last three national champions,” said Antulov. “ We took the number one team to double overtime. I thought we gave them a very good game. They are a very, very good side. There is no question about that. We gave them a real solid battle and fought right till the end.”
“So much for the athletic director, the coach, the players and the community to look forward to here,” Morley stated about the WolfPack’s development. “ They knocked York out last nite, they took the number one team in the country to double overtime. Holy Smokes, if this is just the beginning they are going places.”
The Capers will meet up with the University of Montreal Carabins in Sunday’s 2 PM PDT finale. The Bronze medal match will be a “Canada West battle’ as the league champion UBC Thunderbirds will face off with the WolfPack. Those two teams met in the Canada West semifinal with UBC winning 3-1. That match is set for Sunday at 1 PM PDT.
The consolation final will see the two Ontario teams—York and Carleton facing off. That will have a 1:30 pm PDT Remembrance Day date.
PLAYERS OF THE MATCH:
TRU: Mitchell Popadynetz
CAPE BRETON:Caelan Budhoo