October 25, 2015
Leesiders battle Blue Notes for championship berth
After 5 weeks of intense, back-and-forth battle, the league table still held a lot of suspense. The Ports secured a spot in the league championship match with wins on week 5, but the Leesiders and Blue Notes were only separated by a single win. Either team could advance, given a number of scenarios, but if the Leesiders could muster a win against the Blue Notes in the first match of the day, they stood a very strong chance of advancing. Paddy Power had the teams at even odds, and who would earn the right to face the Ports was anyone’s guess.
Are you a Red or are you a Blue?
The highly anticipated match between the Blue Notes and the Leesiders kicked off the day. If they had any hope at making the championships, the Leesiders were in a must win situation. The Notes on the other hand could suffer a loss to the Leesiders, but still earn a spot in the big dance, if they could top the Ports by a lot of points later in the day.
The match started at a frenetic pace, with both sides mounting intense attacks, but the defense was tough on both sides of the pitch and scores just would not come. It was Joey Whalen, for the Blue Notes, who finally knocked one over the bar to open the scoring. In response, Leesiders Corbett Ouellette and Grant Gill put on a blocking clinic, slowing the Notes’ attack. The highlight of the early part of the half came when Ryan Buckley’s massive puck out lodged the sliotar in Coby Baker’s helmet. Chaos ensued, but the match was soon back under way. It was Grant Gill who found the first point for the Leesiders, but his schoolmate, Joey Whalen, had all the right stuff, pucking two more over the bar to give the Notes the halftime lead 0-4 to 0-1.
The opening minutes of the first half looked to favor a Blue Notes’ victory when Alex Pinkston put a stunning point over the bar. The Leesiders, down considerably at this point, reorganized and tried to find an answer. And it was an answer they found when Matt Baxter brought the crowd to their feet with a stunning shot for a goal. Grant Gill kept the scoring going, snagging two more points for the Leesiders, while the red side continued to do work on defense and prevented all Blue Notes’ scoring attempts. With the score level at 0-5 to 1-2, it was the captain, Corbett Ouellette, who rose to the occasion, hitting a fine point to give his side the lead and ultimately the win. Blue Notes 0-5 (5) to Leesiders 1-3 (6).
The Notes look for a back door into the Championship
Now level on league points with the Leesiders, the Notes would need to go on a scoring rampage against the Ports to overcome a substantial score differential of -65 points in order to play spoiler to the Leesiders’ near-certain appearance in the championship match. The Ports, down several players, opened the scoring when Nick Chamberlain put the sliotar over the bar. That would be the end of their success in the first half, as the Blue Notes’ defense prevented any more scoring from the Navy and Gold side. Cody Murdock and Joey Whalen took full advantage of the weakened Ports, scoring 3 goals between them. A lovely point from the reptiphile Oak Reynolds complimented their efforts. At the half, the score favored the Blue Notes by a margin of 3 goals.
The Ports must have had a rousing call to arms at the half, because they came out attacking with a newfound energy. Nick Chamberlain, in a mirror of his opening drive in the first half, notched a quick point for the Ports. This was just the beginning of their comeback, as Bill Little pointed, followed by goals from Chamberlain and Captain Brendan Rauer. The effort, however, simply wouldn’t be enough as the Ports came up short of victory at the full-time whistle. Blue Notes 5-2 (17) to Ports 3-3 (12), and though the Blue Notes savored the victory, their enthusiasm was short-lived. Their inability to score 60 additional points ensured that the Leesiders would dance in the big show against the Ports in one week’s time.
A preview of the championship, perhaps
The final match of the day saw the Leesiders come off their rest break to face the Ports. Would this be a glimpse of the championship match? The Leesiders certainly hoped so, as they came out firing. Points and goals and points and goals came from all over the red side with the scoring going down like this: Grant Gill point, Liam Barry goal, Grant Gill point, Grant Gill goal, Matt Baxter point, Coby Baker point, Corbett Ouellette point, Chris Davis point, Corbett Ouellette point. What did the Ports have to say in response? Nothing! At the half it was Lees 2-7, Ports 0-0.
Once again, the Ports had a rallying cry at halftime and brought a little more heat in the second half. Nick Chamberlain found the back of the Leesiders’ net, and was really the man of the half and he struck in another goal and a point for his beleaguered side. Coby “who needs hands when you can catch a sliotar with your helmet” Baker put forth a strong effort for the Leesiders, but Katie Sampuda would have none of it, holding Baker to just one second-half point. Chamberlain continued his march for the Ports, but it wouldn’t be enough to match the Lees efforts, who continued their scoring streak with: Ouellette point, Baker point, Ouellette point, Ouellette point, Rayne Leonard goal, Ouellette point, Baker goal, Leonard goal. Final score Ports 2-1, Lees 6-12.
Player of the Week
Although they couldn’t celebrate securing a shot at the championship, the Blue Notes were able to hoist front man, Cody Murdock, onto their shoulders as he was recognized as “Player of the Week.” A special recognition goes out this week to the double-goal scorer Rayne Leonard who successfully defended her thesis and will now be known as Masterful Rayne Leonard. Congratulations to both!