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It was about as close as a final game could be.
While the Tigers came into Sunday’s Vancouver Island Field Hockey Association competitive division championship game as the favourite to hoist the trophy, they came up against a rather shorthanded UVic Vikes team determined to bring their ‘A’ game to the turf.
With both teams playing clampdown defence through much of regulation, the low-scoring, few-chances affair wound up 1-1 after four quarters, and went straight to a shootout.
Tigers’ Josh Brown ended it all and secured the cup for his team when he scored for a second time in the thrilling sudden death showdown, beating Colby Geber for the tiebreaking fourth goal.
Brown, perhaps Tigers most dangerous player when he is in the lineup, was held largely in check by the Vikes’ backs and midfield earlier, but was sprung free late with about six minutes to play in the fourth quarter. He sprinted into the D to Geber’s right and after a brief scuffle with a defender, fed trailer Javier Virk a short goalmouth pass that was tapped in for the 1-0 goal.
But the Vikes did not give up or hang their heads despite the late stage of the game.
Having earlier been denied on one of the best scoring chances of the second half, when Tigers keeper Tom Pennells cut down the angle facing Vikes star Johnny Jacoby head on, and kicked out Jacoby’s rocket, UVic kept pressing in the dying minutes.
To no one’s surprise, Jacoby was central in the play that led to the tying goal. Making the last of several quick runs down right wing in the game, he penetrated the zone almost to the backline, drawing a crowd of defenders, then fed player-coach Derrick Norton in front. Pennells worked to intercept the pass and both he and Norton went down, but the latter managed to get a low shot away that was just out of the keeper’s reach to make it 1-1 and ultimately send the game to penalties.
Coming off a 3-1 win over Rebels 1 in Thursday’s semifinal, Vikes came in as underdogs in their chances to hand Tigers only their second loss of the season (Vikes beat Tigers back in September). That status appeared solidified when they started the game with just one spare, while the Tigers had several reserves on hand.
Play was pretty even through the first half and when the buzzer sounded to end the second quarter with the game still scoreless, it likely played more into the hands of the Vikes than Tigers, who had previously outscored opponents 88-20 this season.
So, after regulation it was still anyone’s game, with each team sending five shooters out to try and beat the opposing goalkeepers.
Tigers scored on their first three shootout attempts, with Virk, Amardeep Sidhu and Brown tallying, with Vikes’ Jacoby and Norton replying. But things got interesting when UVic’s Ryan Knight scored and Tigers John Sharp shot wide, leaving it 3-3. Neither team’s fifth shooter scored, so the rotation came back to the beginning.
Jacoby tangled back and forth with Pennells but saw his shot hit the post, setting the stage for Brown to notch the winner.
The warmup to the final saw the four VIFHA rec division teams, Hawks, Rebels 2, Mutineers and Marauders compete jamboree style by playing each other once each in slightly shorter games with two 20-minute halves.
There were plenty of smiles afterwards for a fitting end to their 2021-22 season, one that saw various challenges due to COVID-19 health protocols.
Adding to the smiles was the provision of the curry lunch provided by the Hawks team, a well-earned treat for those who played and umpired – and even a handful of lucky folks on hand for the game.
– Don Descoteau
For a collection of photos from the competitive final and other games, visit Vancouver Island Men’s Field Hockey – VIFHA on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GVmensFhockey/)
UVic Vikes built a 3-0 halftime lead and held off a determined Rebels 1 squad Thursday (March 24) to win 3-1 to earn a spot in the Vancouver Island Field Hockey Association competitive division championship final.
The Vikes carried much of the play in the opening two quarters, getting a pair of goals from Caelen Ostrosser and a single from Devan Crawford.
Rebels built some momentum after the break, however, with midfielder Ross Whelan putting a shot behind Vikes keeper Campbell Southy to cut the gap to two in the third quarter.
Speedy Rebel Alex Moore nearly pulled his team within one in the fourth quarter, with a brilliant individual effort that resulted in the ball trickling across the front of the goal behind Southy but staying out. The play did give Rebels a short corner, but Vikes were able to sweep the ball out of harm’s way.
The win sets up a head-to-head battle with league champion Tigers in Sunday’s final, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at the UVic turf. Tigers have lost just one game all season, that being a 4-2 decision against UVic on Sept. 26, which seems another lifetime ago at this point of the season.
The final follows the four-team recreational division jamboree, which gets underway with two half-field games at 9:30 a.m. and continues with two more each at 10:30 and 11:30.
Spectators are welcome to come down and check out the action on this last day of the 2021-22 campaign.
In their last warmup before next weekend’s Vancouver Island Field Hockey Association competitive division championship game, Victoria Tigers once again showed their depth in recording a 5-1 win Sunday over Vikes on the turf at UVic.
Having lost just once all season, that being a 4-2 decision at the hands of the same UVic side way back on Sept. 26, Tigers have proven the dominant team in the division since, outscoring opponents 88-20 overall and staking their claim to the champion’s trophy.
Their final win of the regular season saw them get two goals each from Josh Brown and wiley veteran T.J. Parhar, and a single from Javier Virk.
Tigers keeper Tom Pennells kicked out all but one Vikes shot, that coming off the stick of Arthur Valdivieso.
The second-place Vikes will take on Rebels 1 in the divisional semifinal this Thursday (March 24) starting at 6:15 p.m., with the winner advancing to meet Tigers in the final on March 27 at 12:30 p.m.
Recreational division play Sunday saw a shift in the schedule, with the cancellation of the middle game of the day between Rebels 2 and Hawks.
Hawks were invited to fill out the rosters of the Mutineers and Marauders, who were scheduled to go head to head in the opener. With the Sailors clubmates managing just over one full team’s worth of players, the group took on an intact Hawks team in an exhibition game.
The four rec teams can look forward to a return to the all-team jamboree for their final day of play next weekend, followed by the always anticipated lunch put on by Hawks club and their supporters.
The public is invited out to catch some of the top men’s hockey talents in the region for the competitive final, which has not been without its upsets in previous years, but always proves entertaining.
On the first day of the spring equinox , Hawks proved a little more adjusted to the earlier start and got back on the winning line Sunday, handing the Mutineers a 5-1 loss in Vancouver Island Field Hockey Association men’s league play at the UVic turf.
Hawks (5-7-0), their lineup boosted by a handful of non-designated Tigers players, got a pair of goals from Javier Virk and singles from Amit Dillon, Vardeep Gill and Yashpal Bassi.
The Hawks were coming off a 7-4 loss to Marauders the week before and restored their five-point margin over Marauders with the win.
Thomas White redirected a bouncing pass from Mark Baggott in the second half for the Mutineers’ lone goal. The green guys’ record dropped to 2-2-2 with the loss.
Game 2 on the day saw Rebels (8-2-1) pad their division lead with a 5-0 shutout of Marauders (3-7-1). Coming off a 1-1 tie against Mutineers last week, the Rebels benefitted from the steadying influence of veterans Chris Wilson and Jim Knight in the back and Chris Davis in the middle – all absent last week.
Chris Dahl led the attack with a pair of goals on the day, while Davis, Dale Kirk and Kevin Dahl added singles. Felix Randall posted the shutout in the win.
Competitive division action saw Tigers defeat Rebels 9-5 in the final game of the day.
Josh Brown exploded for four goals to led the offence for Tigers, who also got a pair from Javier Virk and singles from Sahjun Sehmi, Sunny Kahlon and Peter Zimunya. Rebels tallies came from Gavin O’Halloran, with two, and Alex Moore, Michael Bryan and Mike Cleverly, with one each.
Next week’s action (March 20) sees clubmates Marauders and Mutineers go head to head at 9:30 a.m., followed by Rebels 2 vs Hawks at 11 a.m. and Tigers vs, UVic Vikes at 12:30 p.m.
Tigers have topped the Vancouver Island Field Hockey Association’s competitive division table since the outset of the season, largely through having a lot of weapons in their arsenal.
That depth was on display Sunday in a 9-2 win over Rebels on the UVic turf, as Judas Perera, Javier Virk and Josh Brown found the net twice each to pace the attack, while singles came from Gurjot Bedi, Sunny Kahlon and Amit Dillon.
Michael Bryan and Sean Bryan tallied for the Rebels against Tigers keeper Tom Pennells.
In rec division play, the Hawks started off the day with a 6-1 win over Rebels 2, led with three-goal performances from Javier Virk and Hardeep Grewal. Newcomer Gavin O’Halloran, a former Jokers player from the mainland, was the lone Rebel to beat Hawks keeper Iqbal Virk in the contest.
The recreational inter-club Sunday saw Marauders and Mutineers play to a scoreless draw. While the first half saw both teams take a rather cautious approach, the shorthanded Marauders, boosted with the addition of Ross Whelan in the midfield – which drew them even in terms of numbers – enjoyed the run of the play in the second half. Pennells and the Mutineers defenders had to be sharp, with the Marauders creating and looking to pounce on numerous loose balls in front of the net.
This Thursday at 6:15 p.m. the UVic Vikes return to action with a game against Rebels 1, while Sunday play March 6 sees Mutineers and Rebels 2 lead things off at 9:30 a.m., followed by Hawks vs. Marauders at 11 a.m. and Tigers vs. Vikes at 12:30 p.m.