Grande Prairie, Alberta
Indoor soccer is a lot like hockey, says Jake Hanson.
So the Yukon juvenile coach was happy to have goalkeeper Michael Hare, who’s also a hockey player, in net for the juvenile male indoor soccer finals at the Arctic Winter Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta.
“The crossover between sports helps here because indoor soccer is hockey in essence,” said Hanson. “You’ve got three lines, boards and short shifts like hockey.”
Playing Team Yamal-Nenets of Russia, Yukon’s juvenile males won silver after losing 4-1 in the final on Saturday.
Yamal-Nenets employed an uncommon strategy throughout the tournament, with their goalkeeper playing out of net; they used him as an extra attacker on the field, much like in a power play in hockey.
“It’s only useful in the indoor game,” said Hanson. “I’ve seen the Russians do that at several Arctic Games now. It’s quite an advantage to have a goalie that’s as good as the players on the field, so they definitely used that technique to their advantage in a game.”
Scoring for Yukon in the finals was Belgie Nunez-Zuniga, his sixth of the Games.
Yukon also lost 3-1 against Yamal-Nenets in their first encounter during the round-robin, with the Russians using a less aggressive form of their strategy.
“We didn’t see the goalie come in that deep when we played them, but I had seen them do that – quite honestly, it’s very difficult (to counter),” said Hanson. “They’re smart, they have good techniques so they don’t give up possession easily, so it’s a bit of a cat-and-mouse game.
“In the second half we went into a diamond (formation) that allowed us to take away their point shot.”
Yukon advanced to the final with a 3-1 win over Team Greenland. Scoring for the Yukon were Tristan Olynyk and Kurtis Hills, Yukon’s tournament high-scorer with eight goals, putting in two.
“Kurtis was probably the most valuable player in the tournament,” said Hanson. “One-on-one, his attacking ability made him the most dangerous player in the tournament.
“He scored key goals at key moments.”
end Games in OT
All three of the other Yukon soccer teams reached bronze medal games, with all three going to overtime.
The juvenile female team was down 3-0 to NWT in the bronze game with three minutes and 50 seconds left, but managed to tie the game to push it to overtime before losing 4-3. Scoring for the Yukon was Camille Galloway with two and Megan Lanigan with one.
In the junior female bronze game, Yukon lost 3-2 to Alberta North when Yukon player attempted to clear the ball, accidently shooting it off the face of an opposing player and into her own net.
Putting Yukon on the board were Katherine Lowey and Jaime Whitty.
Yukon’s junior males won bronze with a 3-2 overtime win against NWT, with Walker Ewing, who had the hat trick in the game, scoring in the second overtime.
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