The St. Lawrence Labatt Laurentians stopped the Holy Cross Kirby Group juggernaut cold Saturday in one of the most intense, nasty Molson Challenge Cup games in recent years.
The game, played at King George V Park in St. John’s, produced seven goals and 12 cards as the Laurentians won 4-3, handing the defending champion Crusaders their first loss in eight games this season.
Referee Jim Edmunds had his hands full in keeping control of a hard-tackling, fierce match which saw three players red-carded.
Jordi Slaney paced the Laurentians with a pair of goals. Paul Slaney and Sean Edwards each scored once.
Jake Warren, Mike Dunn and Corey Moore replied for Holy Cross.
“The rivalry was renewed today,” said Paul Slaney who was a thorn in the Crusaders’ side all game long.
The gritty Slaney was in the face of Holy Cross rookie goalkeeper Brandon Noseworthy the entire match and a brief confrontation set the tone early.
The Laurentians striker slightly bumped Noseworthy as the latter handled the ball on his goal line three minutes into the game. Three Holy Cross players, led by defender Chris Pope, made their objections known to Slaney, who said after the match that he wasn’t picking on the 18-year-old keeper.
“It doesn’t matter who is in net. He’s a good young goalie, but you want to let him know he’s playing a man’s game. Still, added Slaney, “he stood his ground.”
Half an hour later, Noseworthy dropped to his knees to stop a shot. He just managed to keep the ball from going across the goal line, but a St. Lawrence player, in an attempt to pounce on a possible rebound, wound up landing on Noseworthy. He was immediately pulled off the Holy Cross keeper roughly and that’s when several players on either side began aggressively pushing and shoving to the point where it looked as if it was going to get out of control.
After peace was restored, Edmunds tossed two players — Brian Reddy of Holy Cross and Boyd Roul of the Laurentians — out of the game.
Finally, at the 52-minute mark, Noseworthy decided he had taken enough and tossed Slaney to the ground after the Laurentian forward got too close again. The Laurentians were able to boot the ball into the net with Noseworthy out of position for a 3-2 lead. To add insult to injury, Noseworthy was yellow-carded for his clash with Slaney.
St. Lawrence goalkeeper John Douglas, who was roughed up near the end of the game, came up with a terrific save at the 60-minute mark on a shot by Jake Warren.
Then, at the 75-minute mark, Jordi Slaney headed the ball past Noseworthy for his second goal of the game giving the Laurentians a 4-2 advantage.
Holy Cross never quit and Corey Moore pulled the Red and Gold to within one goal of the Laurentians with a long, thundering drive at 80 minutes.
St. Lawrence played the last nine minutes two men short after defender Marc Pittman picked up a second yellow card and an automatic ejection.
The Laurentians were more than pleased with their overall effort.
Paul Slaney said St. Lawrence “made a statement,” with the win over Holy Cross before adding, “We proved to everyone in Newfoundland that we are serious contenders this year.
“You always want to play hard every game,” said Slaney. “It was a little chippy at times but, all around, it was a good game. It was an entertaining game for the fans, for sure.
“It’s always going to be a hard game between Holy Cross and St. Lawrence.
“It’s going to be a good season,” Slaney added with a smile.
St. Lawrence doubled the Conception Bay Auto Strikers on 4-2 Sunday to complete a sweep of their two-game weekend road trip.,
St. Lawrence 4, C.B. Auto Strikers 2
Paul Slaney, who was named the Molson Challenge Cup player of the week, Jordon Caines, Clinton Edwards and Adrian Mulder scored for the Laurentians. Scott Elliot and Chad Seymour replied for the Strikers.
C.B. Auto Strikers 3, St. John’s U18 Hyundai 0
Chris White scored twice for the Conception Bay South side, while Mike Prowse scored once. Adam Coleridge posted the shutout.
Team GP W L T Pts
Holy Cross Kirby 8 7 1 0 21
St. Lawrence 6 3 1 2 11
Mount Pearl 6 3 2 1 10
CB Strikers FC 8 3 4 1 10
Feildians 6 2 4 0 6
St John’s U18s* 6 0 6 0 0
* Playing on an exhibition basis only
Name Team Goals
Steve DeLong Holy Cross 12
Jon Hawco Holy Cross 8
Sean Edwards St. Lawrence 5
Mike Brushett Holy Cross 5
Pat Reddick Holy Cross 5