In what was fore-casted to be the biggest games of the season in Molson Challenge Cup regular schedule play turned out to be exactly that. Holy Cross, who are currently on a four year tear and heading to be named "Team of the Decade, proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they again will be the team to beat in 2013. Yes, they do have a couple of losses this season and at times their play has been rather inconsistent, but they showed this past weekend, when push comes to shove, they are a very very solid team.
This past weekend St. Lawrence celebrated St. Lawrence Day on Saturday, August 3. Also Saturday marked the beginning of the 2013, " St. Lawrence Home Coming" celebrations. So what better way to start the celebrations in the former mining town, than to have Holy Cross there in the mix. Traditionally, St. Lawrence have been big rivalries of Holy Cross and nothing has changed that way of thinking today. The Laurentians fans have a lot of respect for Cross , and the town just love to beat the red and gold.But I'm not so sure the community looked at Holy Cross's new black uniforms they donned on Sunday with the same respect. I feel you just don't play around with your traditional team colors. Can you imagine the Laurentians in a black uniform ? No, I can't and those sorts of things just shouldn't happen.
Game 1: HC:4 vs St. Lawrence:3
In Saturday's match, fans witnessed a bit of it all. Cross played brilliant in the first half and so did the Laurentians goalkeeper, John Douglas. That was probably the best half Cross played the past five years. It was also the best that Douglas has played in a Laurentian uniform. Douglas held Holy Cross to just a mere one goal for a 1-0 half time lead. Steve Delong did manage to get a goal at the 20 minute by beating Douglas but before he scored on a 20 yard shot he virtually undressed the entire Laurentian back, showing why he was league MVP in 2012. The second half was a big difference. St. Lawrence scored just 4 minutes into the half on a major blunder by keeper Noseworthy. Then the match became an offensive affair. Current Laurentian MVP, Sean Drew scored at the 55 minute mark. Brian Reddy replied for Cross at the 56 minutes. At the 65 minute mark four players were red carded , two from each team plus St. Lawrence were awarded a PK. Holy Cross's Andrew Stanford's replacing Noseworthy in net made a superb save off Clinton Edwards to keep the score at 2-2. Then at the 83 minutes Paul Slaney made a solo play of his own on Cross's backline and scored a beauty at the 83 minute mark. However, St. Lawrence could not hold to this 3-2 lead and Cross stuck for two late goals in referee's time, one coming from Jon Hawco and the winner scored by Tyler Forsey at the 90 minute mark.
Game 2 - HC: 2 vs St. Lawrence: 1
How much can the body withstand or can the soul digest after Saturday's match. Well folks there was yet more to come. St. Lawrence took to the field with only 13 bodies dressed. Holy Cross had brought in their back-up keeper, Luke Vaslet. St. Lawrence were forced to go to their back-up keeper, Patrick Slaney. Douglas was sitting because of accumulation of 4Y's. But the show went on. Both teams played rather conservative, very technical. Each were looking for and trying to force their opponent to make a mistake and that's exactly what happened. Stefan Slaney was left unmarked in the Holy Cross box area and scored on a header at the 27 minute mark for a Laurentian 1-0 lead and this lead held at half time. In the second half play was still rather fragile , it somewhat continued back and forth with very few scoring chances. But this changed as time went on. Cross tied the game at the 59 minute mark when Jake Warren scored. Holy Cross, who are fit as a fiddle and are a pleasure to watch in the latter stages of any match, again didn't disappoint their fans in this match . They put all their wheels in motion and stated running in 5th gear just when the Laurentians started gearing down. Although Holy Cross were down a man , it was the last 15 -20 minutes of this game Cross showed why physical fitness is such an important element of soccer. Cross again scored the winner in referee's time for a 2-1 victory.This time it was Pat Reddick doing the damage to the Laurentians.
What really count? It's Labor Day
The Laurentians could possibility have one more shot at Cross this season and that can only happen on Labor Day and it's not a given either.Last season both Cross and St. Lawrence split their four games. Both of them won two games each. This season Cross have a slight edge . Cross defeated St, Lawrence twice, lost once and the clubs tied each other three times. But the reality of it all , none of this really matters. It's who wins on Labor Day weekend that counts.
IT"S GOING TO BE VERY INTERESTING !!