The indoor soccer season came to an exciting end with the finals of the fifth annual Oldtimers (over 35) Men’s Invitational Tournament on Sunday at the Canada Games Centre.
Though seeming like a blowout in the making early on, with two goals on two shots in the first 90 seconds of play, the final turned out to be a lot closer than it first looked.
After taking an early 2-0 lead, the Whitehorse Whites allowed the match to slip into a tie before two late goals gave the team a 4-2 win over Whitehorse Red. (Teams were made up from players from the local over-35 league.)
“I think we were tired, but that’s not an excuse because the other teams played as many games as we have,” said White captain Chris Stacey. “We knew they would come back against us with players like Justin Carre and Hiro (Miyahama). They are skillful players and they are going to create chances all the time.
“It’s not that we sat back and let them, but you can’t keep that 100 per cent intensity up the whole game.”
Scoring the first two goals for White was high-scorer Phil Jackson, who went on to score the game winner with 1:18 left in the second half to go up 3-2. Jackson led the team at the tournament, amassing eight over the weekend. Terry Markey scored White’s fourth goal.
“Phil has always been one of the top scorers in the league,” said Stacey. “Having him on our team is a big bonus. He’s got a wicked shot and loves to drill it from outside. If it’s not on target, it’s always pretty close.”
Red began their comeback early in the second half. After a steal off a pass from the White goalkeeper, sub George Maratos, Red’s Kevin Brewer found the back of the net on a tough angle. With just over five minutes left, Red’s Miyahama made it 2-2, scoring on a rebound off the side of the net.
“We didn’t make any more errors in the back and got our heads in the game,” said Red captain Justin Carre. “I think the first two attacks in the game caught us off guard.
“Then we started to play like we can play.”
Team White took first, winning four straight after suffering a loss to the visiting Juneau team – the only Outside team – in their opening match.
“The ferry was canceled, so they had to take a flight to get here,” said Stacey. “They got out of their vehicles and came right out onto the field to play us. We thought, ‘OK, we’re going to win this one. These guys are going to be slow and stiff.’ They scored seven on us, so we didn’t have our game plan in order.”
Juneau went on to play for third, but was pushed into fourth with a 5-2 loss to Whitehorse Blue.
After eight scoreless minutes, Team Blue ran away with the match, scoring five consecutive goals by halftime. Finding the back of the net were Ian Robinson with two, plus singles from captain Brad Martin, Jeff Ford and Sylvain Laferriere. Laferriere also produced three assists.
Team Blue began the tournament with a pair of losses, including a 4-2 one to Juneau, but a little too much Whitehorse nightlife – and Cuban rum, the Juneau captain admitted – held the team back in the game for third.
“I think the early morning, on a Sunday, played into it a little bit,” said Martin. “Everyone was out a bit last night. They’re visiting, so they had a good time.
“And I think we got used to playing with each other as the tournament went on, we started to find a system that worked for the guys that we had.”
Scoring for Juneau were Brad Robbins and sub Gordon Campbell from Whitehorse.
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