Close call, but Holy Cross wins again

John Browne
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Takes third straight Challenge Cup title by beating Mount Pearl in a shootout

Matt Breen said he wasn’t thinking about anything when he stepped up and slotted the penalty kick that gave Holy Cross Kirby Group a 2-1 win  over Mount Pearl That Pro Look/Molson in the Molson Challenge Cup final decided by a shootout at King George V Park Sunday.

An estimated 2,700 spectators were on the edge of their seats as the teams exchanged penalties after playing to a 1-1 overtime draw.

Holy Cross outscored Mount Pearl 4-3 in the shootout to earn a third straight provincial senior soccer title and the right to represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the national championship next month in Quebec.

“I was nervous,” admitted Breen who, after beating Mount Pearl goalkeeper Vince MacDougall, whipped off his jersey and ran toward Holy Cross supporters as his jubilant teammates chased after him.

“We put in too much work to lose it this way (penalty shootout),” added Breen with a smile.

“Oh, what a feeling.”

Holy Cross ’keeper John Douglas, like MacDougall, was outstanding in the classic contest between two evenly-matched squads and he was anything but nervous in the shootout.

“I like penalties,” said Douglas, who is also known for roaming at times.

One of his better saves in the game came against Mount Pearl’s Rudy Norman four minutes before the end of regulation time when he ran well out of his goal and made a sliding stop.

“I’ve been thinking the past two weeks about it,” Douglas said about a possible penalty-kick situation.

Holy Cross had a great chance to end the game just before the final whistle, but Zack Wade’s header went inches wide of the net.

Mount Pearl’s Shawn Manning, who came off the bench, looked to have scored the winner two minutes into overtime, sending the ball into the goal with a stunning shot that gave Douglas no chance to save.

However, there is no golden goal in the Challenge Cup final, and Holy Cross, which had been finding it difficult to penetrate the Mount Pearl defence, got its own overtime goal by standout Ryan Yetman, with about 13 minutes left in the extra session and moments after a Mount Pearl defender had knocked a ball off the goal line.

Yetman got his head on the ball from a corner kick and put it past MacDougall.

The modest Yetman, named the playoff MVP, blamed himself for the Mount Pearl marker.

“That was my fault,” said Yetman who added his teammates “picked up my spirits after that.

“We knew we had to keep plugging and we did,” said Yetman, who called the victory “very special to me.”

Yetman said his team had to play well because Mount Pearl “didn’t leave us much choice. They played a fantastic game. That’s the best game I ever played against Mount Pearl.”

Holy Cross coach Jake Stanford said his team faced “a bit of adversity down the stretch,” including the loss of Mike Brushett in Friday’s 1-0 semifinal win over Feildians.

“We were a bit deflated despite (the semifinal win). We were a little too complacent, but credit Feildians for their effort,” said Stanford.

The Holy Cross coach said he wasn’t surprised at the closeness the final, superbly officiated by Mike Edmunds.

“When you get to the playoffs you seldom see blowouts,” said Stanford.

“Mount Pearl played us tough all season and it took everything we had to win.

“I think the maturity level of our leaders certainly helped, especially in the second half and overtime.”

Mount Pearl, which finished second behind Holy Cross in the regular-season standings, advanced to the final with a 3-1 overtime win over the St. Lawrence Labatt Laurentians Friday night.

Kevin Oram, who played brilliantly on the Mount Pearl backline, was a little angry and too distraught to talk after the match.

When approached by this reporter, Oram, whose missed attempt in the shootout opened the door for the Holy Cross winner on the very next kick, said sharply: “No b’y, get that (tape recorder) out of my face. I’m not joking.

“Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude,” Oram added, “but honestly, get out of here…seriously.”


Championship game (Sunday)

Holy Cross 2, Mount Pearl 1 ( shootout)

Goal scorers

“We put in too much work to lose it this way (penalty shootout). Oh, what a feeling.” Matt Breen

Sean Manning, Mount Pearl 92 minutes

Ryan Yetman, Holy Cross, 107 minutes

Shootout (Holy Cross won 4-3)

Holy Cross — Zack Wade, Mike Dunn, Scott Woodfine, Matt Breen; Mount Pearl— Rudy Norman, Shawn Manning, Brett Lepore


Holy Cross 1, Feildians Ernst & Young Orenda 0

GS: Holy Cross — John Hawco

SO: John Douglas


Mount Pearl 3, St. Lawrence 1 (OT)

GS: Mount Pearl — Justin Pickford (2); Kevin Oram;

St. Lawrence — Sean Edwards

Molson Challenge Cup Awards

Bobby Breen Memorial Award: (First place, regular season), Holy Cross                             

Ed Moyst Rookie of Year Award: Mike Dunn, Holy Cross                                                                       

Jim Goff Most Spirited Player Award: Justin Pickford, Mount Pearl                                                         

Jeff Babstock Top Defender Award: Clinton Edwards, St. Lawrence

Wils Molloy Golden Boot Award: (Most goals), Jon Hawco, Holy Cross (16 goals)                                                                   

Dick Power Memorial Award (MVP regular season): Jon Hawco, Holy Cross                              

Gerard Quirke Memorial Award: (MVP of Challenge Cup championship game) Ryan Yetman, Holy Cross

2011 Molson Challenge Cup All- Star Team

Goalkeeper:  Chris Hayes, CB Auto Strikers

Defenders: Clinton Edwards, St. Lawrence; Chris Pope, Holy Cross; Jon Kelly, Mount Pearl; Jeff Slaney, St. Lawrence                                                                                                                                                           

Midfield: Ryan Yetman, Holy Cross;  Rudy Norman, Mount Pearl; Jon Hawco, Holy Cross; Jake Warren, Holy Cross

Forwards: Justin Pickford, Mount Pearl; Jay Babstock, Feildians

Alphonse Warren Memorial Award (All-star coach): Jake Stanford, Holy Cross

Organizations: Stanford.The Holy Cross, Molson

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec

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Recent comments

  • Powers Pond
    September 08, 2011 - 10:14

    Ex Mount Pearl Soccer Player. Why the need to call out Farmer?? Personal grudge? Did you get cut from teams he may have made? Mark is a hard worker and a team player. And will continue to play in the years to come because of his drive and love for sports. Hey I will be the first to admitt that Mark can be a bit sour on the playing field sometimes. But thats who he is. Take it or leave it. I guess it makes you feel good to come on here and just blast people for no reason. Do up your top ten list for me please? Get your hate on! Mount Pearl seems to be an easy target these days.

  • Ryan
    September 06, 2011 - 16:05

    Hear goes John Browne with his pro Cross rhetoric. If that was Zach Wade or John Hawco that told you to fly to F, you can bet it wouldn't be printed. What poor journalism. We need a new voice to monopolize sports writing in the city. Pitiful.

    • Ex Mount Pearl Soccer Player
      September 06, 2011 - 23:52

      Pitiful??? I have seen Mark Reddy whine like a huge baby over the stupidest of things. I've played soccer and hockey with him and I can tell you that without naming names, if the Mount Pearl soccer and hockey associations were make a top 10 list of theatrical whiners, he would be on it. His ego is always on but when he loses a game (no matter what the league, sport), he turns into a vicious unsportsmanlike person with whom I have no respect for.

  • Steve
    September 06, 2011 - 12:59

    Why would you even write what Oram said to you coming off the field? Why not just interview someone else, or not say that at all? Its brutal that you printed that. Shame on you.

    • HC Fan
      September 07, 2011 - 07:49

      What's the harm in printing it? It show's how frustrated the player was and how he tried to keep his cool even though he was upset. I don't think it puts a negative light on the player at all. It just shows his emtions and I'm sure that anyone who has ever played a sport can empathize with the emotion and struggle to keep it under control when someone approches you like that. I think those few lines add a lot to the article, showing how important these games are to the players.

  • Doug
    September 06, 2011 - 12:10

    Mount Pearl made the mistake that so many teams make in tight situations. When they took the lead, they went into a defensive shell playing "not to lose" rather than pushing for a second goal to seal the win. For long stretches of the second overtime period, Mount Pearl never had anyone much higher than the 18 yard box allowing Holy Cross to all but one defender deep into the attack. If this was a deliberate strategy instituted by the coach, then it was an even bigger mistake than some of the poor substitutions.

  • Pearl Fan
    September 06, 2011 - 08:00

    My team lost, but that does not diminish the entertainment and excitement of the day. I only paid $5 to spend a glorious Sunday afternoon watching two teams battle hard. It was not a game of possession or finesse. It was more punt it, chase it, and win the ball through brute force! Well played by both sides! Congratulations Holy Cross! Represent us well at Nationals and do us proud!