Campbell River Blizzard Ryan Williams dribbles the ball away from the Prospect Lake opponent during Saturday’s Island Cup match in Victoria.

Campbell River Blizzard Ryan Williams dribbles the ball away from the Prospect Lake opponent during Saturday’s Island Cup match in Victoria.

Blizzard weathered in Island Cup playdown

The Campbell River Blizzard soccer team took on Victoria in the B Cup Playdowns

It all came down to a goal post.

After a tremendous performance, the Campbell River U-14 Blizzard lost in a shootout on Saturday to Prospect Lake in Victoria.

With the shootout tied at 4-4 after five shots each, the Prospect Lake keeper made a fantastic dive to get his fingertips on the Blizzard’s well-placed sixth shot and knock the ball to the goal post and out. That save set the stage for Prospect Lake’s sixth shooter, who slotted his shot just inside the goal post and past the sprawling Blizzard keeper for the victory. With their win Prospect Lake has earned the one spot for an Island team in the Provincial Championships.

In the first half of the match, the Blizzard struggled to settle in to their game as they battled against a strong Prospect Lake side that had the wind at their backs. It took a Prospect Lake shot off the post and corner kick off the cross bar to wake the Blizzard up and get them into the game. Still, a large part of the first half was played in the Blizzard’s end, and if not for several brilliant saves by goal keeper Liam Stevens and the outstanding work of Marcus Savery, Drew Savery, Kamiya Iwamoto, and Max Bawks-Smith on the back line, the game would have been lost early in the contest.

As the game progressed the Blizzard showed more and more composure, and began to press back with some counter attacks led by Dace Harle, Ayden Costain and Dawson Jordan in the mid-field. However, the Blizzard surrendered a goal late in the first half when a Prospect Lake forward snuck through the Blizzard’s defensive line to knock in a strong punt delivered by the Prospect Lake goal keeper.

With the wind at their backs, a very determined Blizzard side started the second half with a great sense of urgency. While the Blizzard did manage some attempts on goal, the Prospect Lake back line was very stingy and did not allow many quality chances.

Meanwhile, with the Blizzard pressing hard, Prospect Lake pushed back with a number of strong counter attacks. When Prospect Lake did score again mid-way through the second half, it appeared that the Blizzard just weren’t up for the challenge. To their credit, Campbell River did not give up but dug deep and applied pressure. That pressure resulted in some undisciplined play by the Prospect Lake side, and free kicks awarded to the Blizzard. At this point in the game, centre midfielder Harle and the Blizzard’s centre back, Drew Savery, got down to business.

With fifteen minutes remaining, the Blizzard were awarded a free kick. While Harle and his magical left foot curled a lovely ball into the middle of the Prospect Lake penalty area, Drew Savery made a beautifully timed run and volleyed Harle’s cross past the Prospect Lake keeper. With that goal to buoy their spirits, the Blizzard doggedly attacked a stunned Prospect Lake side, and were again awarded a free kick.

And, again, Harle and Drew Savery put on a show for a very appreciative Campbell River contingent of parent fans. On this second free kick Drew Savery chose to use his head to redirect Harle’s second perfect cross into the depths of the Prospect Lake net. After this second Blizzard goal the Prospect Lake side redoubled their efforts for the final ten minutes of the game, but to no avail. The defensive efforts of the Campbell River side, together with the threat of counter-attack by the Blizzard’s very speedy Jack Patterson, stymied all attempts by Prospect Lake.

Twenty minutes of overtime saw both sides getting some chances, but no results. So, with the game tied at 2-2, the teams entered into the shoot out, which Prospect  Lake won 5-4.

The Blizzard are to be commended for a very classy performance in the game. They represented their community and their club very well in their efforts, and hope to be successful in their Island Cup final match on May 12 in Nanaimo. The Blizzard would also like to thank their sponsor, Griegg Seafoods.

Campbell River Mirror