The Cape Breton Capers are back on top.
The tournament favourites pulled through on Monday, scoring early in extra-time to beat the surprising UPEI Panthers 2-1.
“These guys want to put a banner up in the school,” said Capers head coach Robbie Chiasson. “The more success you have, the more people become aware of your program and better players want to come to your school.”
Cape Breton opened the scoring in the second half after a tight and careful first forty-five minutes.
Shayne Hollis found space on the right wing and caught ‘keeper Tim Kalinowski in two minds. The UPEI goalkeeper wanted to come out to challenge Hollis, but changed his mind and retreated back into his box, making it very easy for Hollis to find a corner.
The Panthers couldn’t generate much offense at all, and looked to be going to Langley disappointed when Jimmie Mayaleh scored in the 87th minute with a wonderful curling shot that Chris Tournidis had no hope of reaching.
“What can I say,” said Tournidis after the game. “Can’t do nothin’ about it–that’s just a world class finish.”
Mayaleh was ecstatic with his equalizer, ripping his shirt off in joy depsite its being November. Unfortunately, the celebration carries an automatic yellow card, which would be a problem for Mayaleh.
Off the ensuing kick-off, Mayaleh followed up his superb strike with a mindless tackle on Keishen Bean before the Caper could even get out of the centre circle. Referee Jose Ferres had no choice but to book Mayaleh again, ending Mayaleh’s game just 45 seconds after he had scored a great goal.
Cape Breton are hard enough to play with 11 men, let alone 10. Straight off the extra-time kick-off, Keishen Bean benefited from the extra space and found a seam to goal, where he chipped a shot over Kalinowski to win it.
Both teams will play at nationals on Thursday.
“I don’t think we refocus,” said Chiasson, “I think we ride the momentum from this tournament into nationals.”
“They came out with a game plan to stop us playing the way we like to play,” said Caper midfielder and tournament MVP Andrew Rigby. “We try and play a passing game and they broke that down. It’s good that we got the result, but going into nationals, we need to be playing a lot better.”
“Our team showed a lot of character,” said UPEI coach Lewis Page. “They kept fighting right to the end.”
Mayaleh will miss the first game of CIS nationals with a suspension for his red card.