Heroic Vikes outlast tenacious Rebels to earn spot in VIFHA title game
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.