Ottawa - The York Lions reclaimed Ontario University Athletics (OUA) supremacy and lifted the Blackwood Cup for the fifth time in the last six years after shutting down the Carleton Ravens with a 3-1 victory in the provincial finale.
York started early on as Maurizio Ragone rifled a bullet into the lower right corner of Nick Jeff’s net, after a lost ball in the middle of the field, for a 1-0 lead. All-star and fellow Lion Jorgo Nika increased the gap with his first goal of the night on a beautiful header to the first post from a corner kick by Dyan Carreiro.
As Carleton tried to create opportunities the rest of the first half, the Lions tucked in at the back, stopping every Carleton attempt to head into the break with a 2-0 lead. “We knew Carleton’s offensive play and we tried to keep our composure and defensive shape”, said Jorgo.
Momentum shifted in favour of Carleton to start the second half; however, as only five minutes into the frame, midfielder Tristan St. Pierre unleashed a rocket to the Lions goal to shorten the deficit to 2-1 and put Carleton back into the game.
While it seemed that the Ravens were about to come with the equalizer, York’s Nika responded with his second of the night, taking the Ravens' defence out of balance in an orchestrated play. “I had the opportunity to score two goals, but the win is the team’s effort throughout the entire game,” said Jorgo.
While the Lions created three chances in the first 20 minutes of the frame, Carleton continued pushing forward with 14 attempts in the second half. Despite the chances, nothing materialized for the host squad, ultimately leading the game to end in a 3-1 final.
Despite the Ravens loss, Carleton will see action in the next couple of weeks at the U SPORTS Men’s National Championship along with the gold-medal winners at the Point Grey Campus at UBC on November 8 to 11.
Earlier in the bronze medal match, the Western Mustangs ended their season with a strong three-goal victory over the Ryerson Rams.
Belal Halbouni opened the scoring for Western with a one-touch finish to give the 'Stangs the first-half cushion.
From there, Western continued to find ways to take advantage of the Rams defensive spacing to total five attempts on goal compared to just two for Ryerson in the first frame.
Halfway through the second half, Mark Serjeant scored his first of the game to put himself on the scoresheet and extend Western's lead, connecting on a long shot from 35 yards to find the upper left corner of the net.
As Ryerson tried to establish possession of the ball, the Mustangs continued their gameplan to perfection. “We came to play our game, keeping the ball on the ground, which opened spaces that gave us few opportunities throughout the match,” said Serjeant.
The Mustangs' lead continued to blossom by the end of the second half when the ball slipped through the Rams' keeper on another lengthy shot by Serjeant, this time from the left side of the field that ended in the third and final tally for Western. “I was feeling great after my first shot, so when you work hard, things go in your favor,” said Serjeant.
“After a tough semi-final, we came back focused and showed a lot of heart and determination that ended in a strong finish for the team,” wrapped up Mustangs Head Coach Martin Painter.