It took seven shooters and a diving save from goalkeeper Dawson Weir, but Yukon did it.
Yukon’s male soccer team has set up a historic finish in dramatic fashion at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.
They secured a spot in the ninth/10th place match with a penalty kick-win over N.W.T. on Aug. 10.
The achievement comes a week after Yukon’s female team placed 10th in Winnipeg, a record finish for the territory, male or female.
“We’re proud to achieve that record,” said Yukon male team head coach Edgar Musonda. “At the same time the boys are really pumped up to beat (the female team’s) record as well, finish even better.”
“It was a tense one,” said centre midfielder Tyler Milton, minutes after the thrilling win. “I’m feeling pretty, pretty good right now. Yeah, really good right now. It’s an incredible feeling to tie the girls’ record, maybe even beat it if we can pull one off tomorrow.”
After finishing 90 minutes of play tied 1-1, it took seven shooters from each team for Yukon to win the shootout 6-5.
Simon Kishchuk, Matthias Hoenisch, Cody Amaral and Milton each scored to put Yukon up 4-3 in the shootout.
Then an audible gasp spewed from the stands as Yukon midfielder Ewan Halliday put his shot off the post. N.W.T.’s Austin Sleno responded by burying his shot into a top corner to even it out.
“We were up in the shootout, so we knew we could afford a little mistake there and still have a chance,” said Milton.
The two teams’ goalkeepers then scored on each other before Yukon’s Carl Knickle put in the go-ahead goal in the bottom right corner.
Weir secured the win with a diving right-handed save on a shot from N.W.T.’s Ethan McKay.
Yukon will face Saskatchewan on Friday in the ninth/10th place match.
The prairie province tied B.C. 1-1 and lost 4-0 to Nova Scotia to finish third in their pool, and defeated P.E.I. 2-0 to earn the chance to play Yukon for ninth.
“Saskatchewan is traditionally a very good (team), so we’re definitely going to have to be up for it,” said Milton. “I talked to some of the Saskatchewan guys in the hotel — they’re staying on the same floor as us — they’re nice guys and we’re looking forward to playing them.”
Yukon took a 1-0 lead over N.W.T. just 10 minutes in on a goal from Milton, volleying a long shot from outside the box into the top right corner of the net. It was his team’s first of the Games and Milton didn’t expect it, he said.
“It felt pretty good to score in regulation,” said Milton. “I’m not usually the goal scorer, so it’s a rare occurrence. I just have to enjoy it.”
“He did exactly what I asked him to do — to shoot from far,” said Musonda. “It was a fantastic goal as well.”
N.W.T. scored in the 66th minute to tie it.
Yukon faced two-time defending champion Quebec to start the tournament, losing 11-0 on Aug. 7. The Yukon squad then managed to keep Manitoba scoreless for a half before allowing five second-half goals in a 5-0 loss on Aug. 8.
“After two heavy losses, the boys did a fantastic job to defend well but also attack as much as possible,” said Musonda of the win over N.W.T. “We didn’t attack much in the first two games, but I think today we had a better game plan — getting the midfielders up, like Ewan Halliday and Tyler Milton. I think they did a good job pushing for a goal.”
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com