Coach's Corner

Laurentians impressive in Surrey, British Columbia

Southern Gazette October 31.2006

By Gord Dunphy

Laurentians impressive in Surrey, British Columbia

At the National Challenge Cup in 2006, the St. Lawrence Laurentians performed well. I have no reservations about saying this … I applaud the determination and the dedication of all players who performed on this team.

Your achievement at this level of competition made the town of St. Lawrence, the St. Lawrence Soccer Association, the NLSA and all present and former Laurentians very proud.

The Laurentians who compiled a record which stood at two wins, two ties and one loss illustrated the Laurentians were close, but now must concentrate on finding ways of not relinquishing first period leads. Basically with the format of one point for a tie and three points for a victory, a tie is inversely a loss.

Having said this, I’ll give you a game-by-game assessment of the Laurentians’ games played at this year’s Nationals Challenge Cup Soccer.

Game 1: St. Lawrence Laurentians - (2 ) vs. Quebec-Sélect Trois-Rivièrs -(2)

First Period: The Laurentians opened up the first period totally dominating Quebec and were rewarded by first-half goals from midfielders Paul Slaney and Rudy Norman. The Laurentians looked good in this half, winning all their 50/50 battles. In the first period the Laurentians’ midfielders – Paul Slaney, Ryan.Slaney, Rudy Norman and Adam Loder – dominated the game.

Second Period: After the 60-minute mark, the Laurentians went into a defensive shell. By now Coach Derek Strang had subbed in Corey Walsh and Brent Kelly to give them some fresh legs up front, but it was to no avail. The Laurentians were focusing totally on defence but there was no way could the Laurentians withstand Quebec’s constant attack and as a result Quebec’s Moussavou Nzamba, broke through the Laurentians’ defence and scored two second period goals.

Coach’s Corner Comments: A factor in the outcome was the second Quebec goal scored at the 96-minute mark of the game. Six minutes of referee’s time with few stoppages of play? But the end result was this was a very crucial game and the Laurentians allowed a 2-0 lead slip away. If one is to be a medal contender in these tournaments, this must not happen regardless of any situation.

Game 2: St. Lawrence Laurentians - (1) vs. Saskatchewan - Regina - Milan Puma-(1)

First Period: The Laurentians were a powerhouse in this period. Alec Turpin dominated the Saskatchewan backs. The midfield looked good and the Laurentians’ backline was too powerful for the Regina strikers. It was basically an open net given to Richard Kelly, setup by Alec Turpin that gave the Laurentians a well deserved 1-0 half-time lead.

Second Period: The Laurentians, for whatever reason, seemed to concentrate on defence rather than offence. As a result Saskatchewan took advantage and scored on a rebound with Regina’s Karl Dahle tying the score. It was John Douglas who would become the star of the game as he made several outstanding saves in the final 20 minutes of the contest. He had a ‘superb save’ on a penalty shot – one of the greatest saves I have ever seen a Laurentian keeper make. This save kept the scored tied and gave the Laurentians one point for their valiant effort.

Coach’s Corners Comments: Again the Laurentians failed to maintain a lead and if we are to contend for Gold ,Silver or Bronze, we must win those games.

Game 3: St. Lawrence Laurentians - (2) vs. New Brunswick Strikers - (0)

First Period: For the third consecutive game, the Laurentians dominated their opponent in the first period and scored the opening goal. As in Game 2, Richard Kelly scored the first goal, his second goal of the Nationals, scoring from another beautiful setup from Laurentians striker Alec Turpin.

Second Period: During the second period the Laurentians outclassed New Brunswick, scoring a goal at the 68 minute mark on a penalty shot taken by Rudy Norman. This was Rudy’s second goal of the Nationals with both of his goals coming off penalty kicks.

Coach’s Corner Comments: This contest saw the Laurentians putting in a solid effort, controlling the game from the opening to the closing whistle.

Game 4: Lawrence Laurentians - (1) British Columbia - Sapperton Rovers - (2)

First Period: This was the second time in this tournament the Laurentians were playing on artificial turf, at the main venue of Newton Athletic Park. As in their first game, the Laurentians again looked very sharp. Taking full advantage of their skills, the Laurentians opened the scoring at the 22-minute mark with a great goal by Adam Loder. Then in the dying minutes, tragedy struck the Laurentians’ Alec Turpin was red carded on what I would deem a suspect red card to say the least.

Second Period: The Laurentians, a man short, played a solid defensive system but they couldn’t hold off the sustained B.C. attack and it was at the 75 minute mark on a strike by the Sapperton Rovers’ Stephano Pannu, creating a 1-1 tie which held for the remainder of regulation time thus sending the contest into overtime.

Overtime - Golden Goal: He shoots! He scores! It took the British Columbia representatives less than 45 seconds to score. The Laurentians simply weren’t focussed at the start of OT.

Coach’s Corner Comments: The turning point of this game was the red card to Alec Turpin. This combined with the fact Richard Kelly had to return home due to work commitments didn’t help the team.

Game 5: St. Lawrence Laurentians - (1) vs. British Columbia - Vancouver Firefighters - (0)

First Period: The Laurentians started this contest without four regular players – Alec Turpin, Blair Aylward, Richard Kelly and Adam Loder. But their replacements played with heart and held their own, holding the Vancouver squad to a 0-0 score at half time.

Second Period: The Laurentians gave it their all being equal throughout the contest. The climax of this game occurred in the dying moments of the game when the Laurentians star goalkeeper John Douglas, was red carded. Then Douglas’s understudy, Kent Pittman, went into the Laurentians’ net for the remainder of the contest and kept the score at 0-0 after the completion of 90 minutes.

Penalty shots: The Laurentians then put Clinton Edwards in goal and not only did Edwards stop two B.C. penalty shots, but he scored one of the four St. Lawrence penalty-shot goals. Ryan Slaney, Rudy Norman and Blair Aylward added other penalty-shot goals to give St. Lawrence a 1-0 victory.

Coach’s Corner Comments: The Laurentians competed in this contest to the very final whistle as the score indicates. The final outcome also illustrates teams and coaches compete to win. Laurentians must build for 2007/08: The Laurentians must now build for Nova Scotia in 2007, and for Newfoundland and Labrador in 2008. With the possibility of two former star players, Mike Howlett and Andrew Perrott, returning to the 2007 line-up, this should boost the Laurentians. There are hot rumours of the addition of David and Darrell Steward, along with Colin Power wearing the Laurentians’ Blue in 2007/08. These players, combined with wide-ranging physical training, may bring ‘Gold’ at last to the ‘Soccer Capital’.

Dunphy’s Details: Coach’s Corner 2006 Award Winner – Rudy Norman.

Congratulations on a job well done this season to the St. Lawrence Masters - Eastern Canadian Champs; Under-18, St. John’s Capitals - (5th seed - National) and Marystown Central High – ‘4A’ Provincial High School Champs.