With the teams deadlocked in a scoreless draw in a game for all the marbles in the B.C. Indoor Soccer League men's division playoff final, Subway captain Thahn Vo decided to give his goaltender a break.
He ruled out the possibility of putting him through a shootout pressure-cooker.
In a game played Saturday at the Northern Sport Centre fieldhouse, Vo stripped the ball off a Pilsner Bunnies opponent just south of the centre line and ran until he got to within a few metres of Bunnies' goalie Mitch MacFarlane. Then with a flick of his left foot, Vo scored the only goal of the game with about a minute left in the first overtime period.
"I took the ball up from the middle of the field and Sukham (Sapun), he opened the field for me, and I saw the goalie go out and I kicked it in the corner," said Vo.
"We had to work hard the whole season to take the league and now we take the playoffs."
The Bunnies' best chance to get on scoreboard came halfway through the first half when Jonathan Richards got his hands in the way of Rob Pozer's bullet drive from close range. The guys from Subway came out strong in the second half and Sam Batarseh beat MacFarlane but grazed the post with his shot.
MacFarlane was a busy guy holding off Subway shooters in the crease and out of it.
He showed his speed and agility when he won a footrace with Amedee Cimana and dove to get to a loose ball to take away another Subway chance late in the second half.
Alessandro Delsole and Brett Warkentin each had chances to score the equalizer on Subway goalie Richards early in the second five-minute OT session. Not long after that, Delsole sailed a penalty-kick shot high over the crossbar, which had Richards breathing a lot easier.
"Every time we play Pilsner it's back and forth, usually one- or two-goal games - their strikers always have good chances. We make mistakes and they come on odd-man rushes," said Richards.
"I had the pressure of trying to have to make that save when they're coming on a 3-on-2. But the guys have confidence in me and they know I can handle it and we're able to counter on that. That's the only way we can beat this team is to counter them. We're just so even."
It didn't help the Subway cause that they were shooting on a CIS goaltender. MacFarlane plays outdoor soccer for the UNBC Timberwolves.
"They have a university goalie and we always have to be on our best form to try to beat him with a chip," said Richards. "You're not going to beat him from out long."
Subway won the season series with Pilsner with two wins a tie and a loss. It was anybody's game until the late stages of the final.
"It doesn't get much closer than that, 1-nil and missing a (penalty kick) - it's as tight as it goes," said Pozer. "They played really well and it's been a good season for us. A couple guys on our team have never played high-level. It's been fun."
In the women's Division 1 final, Carly Shaw-MacLaren got her foot on a well-placed corner kick from Patricia Miles 10 minutes into the second half to give Traxler Haines Lawyers a 2-1 win over the Young Matildas. Steffanie Becker also scored for the Lawyers, who also won the regular season Div. 1 crown. Shonda Couroux was the lone Young Matildas shooter to beat goalie Carmen Murguly.
In the women's Division 2 A-final, Accelerated Physiotherapy waltzed to a 5-0 win over Westcana Electric. Lori Maki scored two goals and Judy Clarkson, Daniela Johnson and Janice Kozak each fired singles. In the Division 2 B-final, Northern Interior Flooring Installations topped Global Securities 1-0 in a shootout. Deb Derouin scored in the fourth round of the shootout, while Sheila Rennie was perfect in net for NIFI, which had just six players, the bare minimum, for the final.
"We had no subs, everybody was either writing final exams or working - we normally don't play on the weekend," said Rennie. "We actually were going to forfeit."
"It was tiring," added Derouin.