Sr. Pharmasave wins title in thriller
Mike Ohman rose to the occasion when it mattered most.
Ohman’s goal sealed a 4-3 penalty-kick shootout victory for Senior Pharmasave over International Travel Services in the championship game for the men’s division of the Borderland Soccer League last Thursday.
“That spot in the penalty kick area where they place the ball is not ideal for taking kicks. It’s easy to miss the shot because of the ground. You’ve just got to strike and hard and hope the goalkeeper doesn’t guess where you are going,” he added.
Ohman scored in the 33rd minute to put Senior Pharmasave in front. But International Travel Services, who beat Senior Pharmasave on the last day of the regular season to steal first place, netted the equalizer on the strength of a goal by Cameron Gobeil seven minutes into the second half.
That led to the five-against-five shootout, with Ohman’s marker the last of three successful shots in a row for Senior Pharmasave.
“I don’t know about (getting) revenge,” said Ohman about vanquishing ITS. “It’s just a privilege to be able to play. But winning is always sweet.”
Goalkeeper Tristan Hutton got Senior Pharmasave off to a terrific start in the shootout, stonewalling ITS shooter Ben McBride with a brilliant diving save.
“I read him as to where he was going,” said Hutton about McBride. “His hips were pointing to the right corner and he lifted his eyes on the run-up when he shot and looked where he was going to go. I don’t wait for the guy to kick it before I move or you’ll never get there in time.”
Mike Webb followed with a howitzer past Whitburn on Senior Pharmasave’s first attempt to give the more experienced crew the lead. But after Jamie Veldhuisen tied the shootout for ITS, Senior Pharmasave’s Simeon Nussbaumer sailed one high over the net to put ITS back in business.
But that was shortlived, as Gobeil stepped up for ITS’ next shot and proceeded to send the ball wide of the left post, shifting the momentum back into Senior Pharmasave’s favour.
“Once they had that miss, I knew that our last three penalty kickers were pretty good and I was pretty confident,” said Hutton, who won his first league title after having played since the 2000 season.
Steve Hands proved Hutton correct with his goal that made it 2-1. Maxwell Williams tied it for ITS, but Allan Albao replicated his shootout success from Tuesday’s semifinal win over defending champion Manitou Forest Products to put Senior Pharmasave up once more.
Gavin Moorhouse made good on his shot with ITS standing on the edge of the cliff. But then Ohman sauntered up and pushed the green-and-white brigade to their doom.
“It’s good for us old guys to be able to pull this off,” said Ohman about his squad, which was only assembled before this season.
“We had guys come out of retirement to play on this team, or what may as well have been retirement since they hadn’t played in four, five years,” he added.
“It was fun, but there was a lot of pain involved,” added Hutton, who was Exhibit A in that department this season after missing five weeks of action with a bruised rib.
“A lot of guys got hurt and we were nursing a lot of injuries entering the playoffs. It’s different for an older team. You get hurt easier and the recuperating time is longer, not like for these young guys,” he added.
“I’m proud of the guys that they stayed within their limits and abilities.”
After the game, the division’s year-end awards were handed out, with Ian Friesen of ITS being named Most Valuable Player.
Whitburn was chosen as top goaltender for his league-leading six wins and five shutouts, while Veldhuisen was selected Rookie of the Year.
Williams and Mark Faragher of Senior Pharmasave shared the Most Sportsmanslike honour, while Tim Metke of Pharmasave earned the Heart and Soul Award.
Ahmadou Idrissou was also recognized as the Golden Boot Award winner, as the Manitou sharpshooter led the circuit with 18 goals this season.
In the bronze-medal game on Aug. 14, Manitou hammered La Place Rendez-Vous Voyageurs U-18 squad by a 7-2 count.
Kyle Herr lit up the Voyageurs with a hat-trick effort, while Chris Sinclair added significant support with a two-goal outing.
Chris Faragher and Idrissou added singles, while Tyler Ruppenstein and Jacob Bolzan replied for La Place Rendez-Vous.