It didn’t take long for NWT’s boys soccer team to feel the sting of the Yukon’s offense at the Western Canada Summer Games on Sunday.
Meeting on the pitch to see which team takes fifth and which goes home last, the Yukon took an early lead en route to a 4-1 win over NWT.
“I thought we played pretty decent for the most part. We let in one sloppy goal, but that happens,” said Yukon captain Owen Hedstrom-Langford. “I’m happy we came away with the ‘W’ though.”
Yukon’s Belgie Nunez-Zuniga gave his team the lead, scoring on a penalty in minute 6. Teammate Michael Wintemute then got the game-winner on a partial breakaway, rifling a shot through the grasp of the NWT goalkeep in minute 16.
“The boys really showed their class this week and our play was getting better and better, and this was a nice way to finish, with a win,” said Yukon head coach Jake Hanson.
Yukon then increased the gap to 3-0 midway through the first half. Hedstrom-Langford sent in a long shot from midfield, going through the NWT keeper’s hands and off the crossbar. Kieran Halliday, who also represented the Yukon in tennis during Week 1 of the Games, knocked in the rebound.
At 3-1 in the second half, Nunez-Zuniga scored his second of the match, tucking a shot in the top, left corner of the NWT net in minute 47.
As nice as it was to pick up some goals and a win while at the Games, keeping eventual silver medal winning BC to just two goals in a 2-0 loss on Saturday was his team’s most noteworthy accomplishment, said Hanson.
“That will probably be our highlight from the Games,” he said. “It was an incredible result. The boys allowed a goal about four minutes into the first half and got a quick goal at the start of the second half, otherwise the boys played quite well, defended well.
“In the last 10 minutes actually started to turn the table on BC. We almost sprung a player through for a breakaway at the end and started to go at BC. So it was a pretty unexpected finish.”
“I thought we did better against BC, played better defensively,” said Hedstrom-Langford. “BC was much better.”
Yukon opened the Games with a 6-0 loss to Manitoba on Friday.
Like in their match against BC, Yukon let in an early goal before starting to click. It was only in the second half that Manitoba distanced themselves on the scoreboard, knocking in five goals in the final 20 minutes of play.
“The boys had battled so hard to keep it close, and sometimes it’s hard to sustain the effort after it’s 2-0 versus 1-0,” said Hanson. “But we had great play from all our positions.
“We had four 97s, which are two or three years on the young side, and they came and played key roles at moments, even against BC. It was a real team effort, and our captain Owen Hedstrom-Langford, in the sweeper position, really locked the back line for us.
“To be able to play at the Western Canada Games and only allow an average of three goals a game against some of the big provinces, says a lot about the way our back line defended.”
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