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No penalty shootout was required this time, but the Tigers needed all hands on deck defensively to repeat as Vancouver Island Field Hockey Association champions Sunday on the UVic turf.
The runaway regular season champions held off a determined fourth-quarter charge from the UVic Vikes and won a nailbiter 3-2.
After the game was scoreless through one half, Tigers opened up a 3-0 lead by the end of the third quarter. Josh Brown scored first off a broken penalty corner play, Javier Virk made it 2-0 by drilling a shot to the far post, and Hamraj Sidhu scored the eventual winner on an open tap-in.
But the Vikes weren’t about to give up.
Having struggled to get enough players out in recent weeks, the student squad had a full complement out Sunday to face the vaunted Tigers. After the Vikes’ Grant Simpson scored to cut the margin to two goals with just over six minutes to play, teammate Finley O’Callaghan made it a one-goal game by beating Tigers’ keeper Tom Pennells with a reverse-stick goal a minute or so later.
Despite the late charge, time was not on Vikes’ side, as Tigers tightened up on D and absorbed two yellow cards late to preserve the victory.
The competitive final followed the season-ending recreational division seven-a-side jamboree, during which the three teams split into four sides to play three half-field games.
Visit the Vancouver Island Men’s Field Hockey — VIFHA on Facebook for more photos from the competitive final.
— Photo by Jim Knight
Vancouver Island Field Hockey Association competitive division playoff action began with a bang Sunday on the turf at UVic, as the second-place Rebels took on the Vikes in one of two semifinals.
Despite being down a man from the start and often being put back on their heels by a tenacious Rebels attack, the Vikes scored first and hung on to win 2-1 to advance to the March 26 championship final.
With the teams tied 1-1 at the half, the winning goal came midway through the third quarter, when Finley O’Callaghan ripped a crushing back stick shot from the top of the D that found the top corner behind Rebels goalie Felix Randall. From there the Vikes were in prevent mode and staved off several good scoring chances by the Rebels.
Working to break free in the Vikes D late in the fourth quarter, Rebels midfielder Sawyer Ross got a shot off that appeared labelled for the lower right corner. But Vikes keeper Colbey Geber was equal to the task and flashed out his right pad to steer the shot away.
The last best chance for the Rebels came on the game’s final play, a short corner penalty. With a multitude of red shirts gathered in anticipation at the top of the D, the Vikes were able to withstand the assault and preserve the win.
Caelan Ostrosser for Vikes and Rebels Ben Wheatley traded first-half goals.
In the first vs. fourth place game, the defending champion Tigers were held largely in check by the re-formed Mutineers in the first quarter, but came to life in the second. They tallied twice to take a 2-0 lead into halftime, made it 3-0 shortly into the third quarter and rolled to a 6-0 victory.
T.J. Parhar and Javier Virk scored twice for the winners, while singles came from Shawn Kalar and Parm Sahota.
Next Sunday’s title game at 12:10 p.m. follows the final rec division jamboree day of the season, which starts at 10:30 a.m.
The other game played March 19 saw the Rebels 2 defeat Marauders 5-0.
Find a full selection of photos on the Vancouver Island Men’s Field Hockey – VIFHA page on Facebook.
The first go-round for the combined Mutineers-Vikes team proved successful Sunday as the squad posted a 3-2 win over Rebels 1 in Vancouver Island Field Hockey Association competitive division play at UVic.
Thrown together to cover off player shortages for both sides for the final three games of the regular season, the team had the benefit of a few reserves to spell off teammates pushed all game by a spirited Rebels side on the day.
Vikes Finlay O’Callaghan and Grant Simpson scored once each in the win, while Mutineer Stuart Wylie added the other goal. Gavin O’Halloran, a factor on the attack all game, tallied twice for the Rebels.
In the opening game of the day, Hawks gained momentum in the second half with a couple of soft goals and rolled to an 8-1 recreational division win over Marauders. Gursharan Kalar and Amit Dillon scored a pair of goals each for the winners, while Gurcharn Athwal, Rajiv Dillon, Bobby Virk and Amar Bajwa added singles.
Kirn Khaira bagged the lone goal for Marauders.
The league continues its march toward the playoffs next Sunday (March 12), when Hawks take on Rebels 2 in rec play at 10:30 a.m., followed at noon by Tigers vs. Mutineers/Vikes.
With snow and chilly temperatures prompting UVic to close the main field hockey turf after an early Sunday morning check, all scheduled Feb. 26 Vancouver Island Field Hockey Association games are cancelled.
The next scheduled games happen March 5.
Anyone looking to give back to the sport of field hockey in the form of volunteering to help grow the game is asked to consider coaching in the 2023 Victoria junior spring league, which gets underway in early April.
Junior league technical director Ali Lee says efforts will be made to keep friends or teammates together in coaching assignments. That said, she notes it is more important to balance out the experience level of coach partners in each age group, and to maintain consistency across the programs.
“Coaches are expected to follow the same practice plans each week as their peers, so that on the field you will see all teams doing the same sessions,” she says.
There are certification requirements to get involved as a coach, including completion of online and in-person courses. Individuals may have already completed some of these, but here is a list of requirements for the various positions:
- Mandatory for all coaches/volunteers are all three Safe Sport courses, including Making Ethical Decisions (MED), SafeSport and Making Headway in Sport.-
- Head coaches must have completed the Coach Initiation in Sport and Field Hockey Canada’s Community Course-
- Assistant coaches need the Coach Initiation in Sport, while the FHC Community Course is optional.
Interested parties are asked to click on this link https://forms.gle/2jKQdYXPHwB1XeNX7 and fill out the electronic form to get started. Those who sign up will be contacted and informed which courses they need to take before the season begins.
Two in-person MED courses will be scheduled for late February and early March. The other courses can be completed online. Costs incurred for taking the Coach Initiation in Sports course will be reimbursed.
For more details, visit http://victoriajuniorfieldhockey.ca/clubs/393/pages/182500
— Photo courtesy Armando Tura