2017 Final Standings
Game 1 at KGV @ 4:30pm Friday
St. Lawrence vs Holy Cross
GORD CAST / FORE CAST : Not a lot of differences to choose from in this contest. In goal we have Holy Cross's Thomas Pieroway and the Laurentians John Douglas, the leagues top two goalies. However I would give a very marginal edge in 2017 to Pieroway. On defense, St. Lawrence are dominant, holding the leagues stingiest goals against with 12 goals in 23 games. Marc Pittman has been the Laurentians best defender. He has been complimented in the middle by newcomer George Lawton or now Alberta resident Clinton Edwards. I'm not so sure on Lawton's status due to citizenship issues; either way Clinton or Lawton, its a can't miss situation for St. Lawrence.The other two starters will be Shane Perrott and Daniel Crew. Holy Cross defense, led by all -stars Alex Pretty and Jeff Slaney, have had a great season but finding two other complimentary mates this season has been troublesome at times for Holy Cross. However, I do expect Sean Henderson and Andre Stanford to be their starters on Friday. The addition of Harry Carter from the NL Canada Games team will be a welcome addition to this position.. In mid-field, both teams could have game changers playing in this position. St. Lawrence's Jordi Slaney and Holy Cross's Owen McCleese are two of the best in the league and whoever dominates here could give their team a huge advantage. Laurentian's newcomer Marc Brefo has become one of my favorites but so is Mike Dunn of Holy Cross, both are skilfull and add a high level of physicality to their game which I love. Meanwhile, I give Dunn a solid edge in the goal-scoring department. I would have to think, should St, Lawrence add Sean Drew in the middle, this would give the Laurentians a huge edge. Drew knows where the net is. Up front Holy Cross are superior all the way. Jake Warren whom I expect is a MVP finalist, is the most complete player in the league.His partner, Tyler Kirby has made a name for himself this season, he is skillful and can find the back of the net. It's their quickness that mystifies their opponents. The addition of Jacob Grant will further solidify Cross's attack should they decide go with three strikers or use Warren as a win midfielder. If St. Lawrence lacks in one position, it's offensively. Laurentian's haven't had the one prolific goalscorer in 2017. Stefan Slaney has had an injury plagued season, while junior age player Brent Hennebury, who stole the show in 2016, does show glimpses of a good goalscorer, one shouldn't expect him to lead the way again in 2017. The area of goal-scoring has got to be a major area of concern for the Laurentians Finally, I'm sure you all may want me to say who I feel the winner of this 1vs 2 match is going to be? Well, I decided to flip a coin and it landed in favor of the Laurentians but hold on now , this game could go to overtime or even penalty shots. Still, I narrowly favor St. Lawrence by one goal based on their overall defensive structure.
Game 2 at KGV @ 8:00pm Friday
Mount Pearl vs Feildians
I'm not expecting this contest to be quite as close as the game one contest but who knows? In goal , I put Mount Pearl's Brandon Noseworthy and Feildians Braedan Sheppard on an even keel with each other. This season both of these experienced keepers have proven that they have arrived and are big-league stoppers. Actually, both have the ability to be a game- changer. On defense , it's Mount Pearl with the advantage all the way. Kevin Oram has had another all-star season. During the season he has been complimented with Matthew Hamyln and Andrew Murphy, both of whom are all-stars in their own right. The addition of newcomer Mike O'Brien has helped and now with Riley Bennett from the Canada Games, this could further strengthen the back-line. Then Mount Pearl also has Matthew Lahey and Brandon Coombs. The Feildians defense who are led by captain Greg Reid, who is one of the leagues best center-backs, will compete for the leagues best defender. The club hasn't really had a consistency of fullbacks in the back-end of the pitch throughout the regular season. However, I do like how Bobby Gamba ,Simon Pope and Dylan Jenkins have picked it up and have looked more comfortable as the season went along. One's got to realize defense is where championship teams are built from. In midfield there is no decisive winner between Mount Pearl and Feildians. Feildians may have a marginal edge with; Tyler Windsor, Carter Mackey, Ben Collingwood , Taylor Smith and Canada Games player Felly Elando. However, should Mount Pearl move Matthew Hamyln into mid-field the advantage would swing in their favor. Mark Reddy has had another solid season and so has Ryan Thistle. Up front there is no doubt the winner is Mount Pearl led by Tyler Forsey, who is my choice for the league MVP. Tyler is the best sniper in the league and he himself is capable of winning a championship. His 21 goals this season gave him more than half of his teams total goal production, His partners Ronaldo Morris and Scott Woodfine allow Mount Pearl to form a dynamic trio with Woodfine being the leagues best set-up man. Feildians who depended on Aaron Buckingham, Zach Hynes and Marek Nakonieczky for goals this season, no doubth will have increased in scoring punch with the late additions of Iiam Gamba and Emmanuel Dolo but will it be enough to put the Double Blues over the top? I'm not so sure, Feildians have not only have to prove to everyone they can win the big game they need to prove it to themselves. In concluding my assessment on Game 2, I feel it will be the experience and veteran leadership of Mount Pearl that will give them a victory. Furthermore, I predict Mount Pearl will defeat the loser of Game 1 and advance to the 2017 Championship. They very well may be this years dark-horse team.
Thank you to CBS Strikers FC
Corner Brook United
While now all the focus is centered on the final four, I would like to thank CBS Strikers FC team and Corner Brook United on making the Molson Challenge Cup league a true Provincial League. CBS Strikers are the leagues "Most Improved Team" while it is Corner Brook United who showed character in making five weekend road trips compared two for all others. It had to be extremely difficult for Western to travel knowing full well that they were out of the play-off contention in mid-season. I think it was CBS who showed the league that a team can turn around it's fortunes in one season.
Tyler Forsey - Leagues Top Goalscorer
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