Saturday, 12 November 2011

CIS Men's Championship - Friday games

After Thursday's busy first day at the CIS men's soccer Championships, another busy day was to follow, with all eight teams seeing action again. The day began with the two consolation semi-finals and those led into the two semi-final matchups.

The consolation semi-finals featured the McGill Redman and the Toronto Varsity Blues in the first game and the McMaster Marauders and Montreal Carabins in the second. The semi-finals featured the Saint Mary's Huskies against the Alberta Golden Bears. That was followed up with the host Victoria Vikes playing against the Cape Breton Capers.

The winners of the consolation semi-finals will play in the 5th place game Saturday at 17:30ET, while the participants of the semi-final matchups play on Sunday in the Bronze and Gold medal matches.

The opening game between the McGill Redmen and Toronto Varsity Blues was a disappointment for both teams, but the Redmen came out strongly and dominated the Varsity Blues throughout the first half. Toronto changed their goalkeeper for the match selecting Russell Moore over John Smits and though Moore played well, it wasn't enough to keep McGill off the scoresheet. In the second minute McGill's George Banks put the ball past Moore but it was called offside, keeping the game 0-0. McGill continued to press, tallying 12 shots in the first half alone.

Their pressure paid off in the 41st when Jeremy Hurdle curled a corner kick into the area that fullback Taren Roughead headed past Moore into the back of Toronto's net to give McGill a 1-0 lead. McGill almost doubled their lead two minutes later but the ball slipped just wide of the post. Both teams had a good number of chances in the second half of the very physical game but no further goals were scored and McGill moved on to play in the 5th place game.

The second game was between the McMaster Marauders and the Montreal Carabins. Montreal opened the scoring in the 27th as Felipe Souza pounced on a rebound given up by McMaster goalkeeper Angelo Cavalluzzo and put it into the back of the net. The lead held up until the 79th when McMaster's never-say-die attitude got them the equalizer. Anthony Costa put a cross into the area and Garret McConville headed the ball off a defender and into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1, and sent the game to kicks from the mark.

In the kicks, the first four kicks from each team were scored easily with McMaster's Costa, Gersi Xhuti, Muntazir Fadhel, and Paterson Farrell tallying and Maxime Laurey, Alexandre Mongrain, Jose Eduardo Herrera Lambur, and Kevin Chan-Yu-tin for Montreal. McConville stepped up for the Marauders and scored their fifth allowing Cavalluzzo the glory when he saved Arnaud Calve-Thibault's kick and gave McMaster the 1-1 (5-4) win and the other berth in the 5th place game.

With the consolation matches out of the way, it was time for the semi-final games with a berth in the CIS Championship game on Sunday on the line.

The first semi-final featured the Saint Mary's Huskies, the hottest men's team in the country facing off against the Alberta Golden Bears. Elvir Gigolaj was the difference in the game as he overcame Alberta's domination in the first ninety minutes. The opening half was controlled by the goalkeepers from each team, Alberta's Jay Vetsch and Adam Miller of Saint Mary's. They kept their defenders organized and kept the chances to a minimum.

The best chances for either team came in the second half with Alberta getting chances from Osmo Bimba's shot that was blocked by Huskies defender Chris MacEachern and then Scott Gilroys long shot that forced a good diving save from Miller. Saint Mary's got their best chance in the 74th when Gigolaj's header from the edge of the penalty area. Vetsch got his fingertips on it and touched it onto the crossbar.

The game went into extra time still knotted 0-0. Gigolaj changed that scoreline just before the end of the first half of extra time as he fired in a bullet from close range into the top of the net. Six minutes into the second half of extra time he doubled the lead after shrugging off two Alberta defenders and chipped Vetsch to give Saint Mary's a 2-0 lead and the win.

The second game featured the Victoria Vikes against the Cape Breton Capers. Played in front of a huge 3200 spectators, over 1000 more than the Vikes' quarter-final match, the Vikes were filled with confidence and drive and scored four minutes into the game as midfielder Cam Hundal put the ball through to Corey Sanford who centred it to Peter Richmond for an easy tap-in and 1-0 lead. They doubled their lead soon after in the 21st minute when Hundal carried the ball 40 yards down the pitch outrunning to defenders and firing it into the far side of the net.

Two minutes later the Capers were back in the game as striker Shayne Hollis was tripped in the penalty area and Silvano Rajkovic made no mistake from the spot bring the score back to 2-1, a scoreline that held until half-time.

The Vikes came out strongly in the second half with Hundal getting another good chance as he curled the ball just over and wide of the goal. Two minutes after the half started, Cape Breton had evened things up as Ian Greedy fired a low shot from the top of the penalty area and underneath Victoria goalkeeper Daniel Kilpatrick. The deadlock was finally broken in the 78th as Hundal broke down the right side again, beating three defenders and put a perfect ball across the area that Craig Gorman hammered into the back of the net.

The Capers mounted a valiant effort to tie things up again and only a trio of great saves from Kilpatrick kept the scoreline at 3-2 and gave Victoria the win in front of their home crowd and a berth in the championship final on Sunday.

The fifth place game kicks off Saturday at 17:30ET between the McGill Redmen and the McMaster Marauders. The Bronze medal game kicks off on Sunday at 14:30ET between the Alberta Golden Bears and Cape Breton Capers while the final goes between the Saint Mary's Huskies and the Victoria Vikes at 17:00ET. Saint Mary's is looking for their first trophy and Victoria their fifth.

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