Laurentians Mid Season Report Card
So far in 2017 the Laurentians are holding their own in the regular season play. Let's not forget that the Laurentians finished 3rd in the regular campaign in 2016. This all occurred in 2016 after the Laurentians were in 2nd place until the last contest of the season, where Mount Pearl upended Holy Cross, thus permitting Mount Pearl to clinch 2nd place.
Marc Pittman - Back on stream
Captain Marc Pittman, after some early season struggles, is again leading the Lauentians back-line after winning the 2016 Jeff Babstock Award for the leagues best defender. He has become much more settled than he demonstrated in the early goings of the season. Mark is now complimenting newcomer George Lawton to the extent that those two are the best one-two combination in the league. In the middle- third of the field there is no doubt Jordi Slaney is the Laurentians main man but I have to add I like this Mark Brefo guy. He is a good solid quality player. This guy has strength and power, with a sort of polite mean streak in him. He may even assist you back on to your feet while just after bolting you over.
There's work to be done
At this time I don't feel everything is all good in the Laurentian camp. I do feel the Laurentians have a few concerns to address. Number one priority, will Laurentians ace goal-keeper John Douglas be in top form come play-off time? I'll be the first one to admit that John Douglas won the 25th Challenge Cup in 2016 for the Laurentians with his heroics he performed against Holy Cross in the semi-final contest. However in 2017, John has spent a lot of his energy with the NL Games team as an assistant coach. The time has now arrived for John to steer the Laurentians ship in preparation for Labor Day Weekend Play-offs. Then there's got to be another concern for coach Derek Strang and Dr. Paul Slaney, it's the Laurentians lack of goal-scoring. The 2016 "Wils Molloy Golden Boot Award" winner ,Stefan Slaney has struggled in 2017 to find the back of the net. I see the Laurentians are now experimenting with putting Clinton Edwards up front to see what fortunes he will have in the offensive third of the field.... should be interesting.
Home Field Advantage
The Laurentians have eight games remaining to the regular season and strangely enough they are all at home. The Laurentians opened the season playing during the months of May and June mostly on the road and now comes the home field advantage. This coming weekend the Feildians are visitors to the mining town. Over the years the Feildians can be troublesome to the Laurentians but the Feildians as of late are collapsing like the ice-bergs off Newfoundland shores. With what was once looking like a very promising season for the Feildians in 2017, is now all of a sudden in a tailspin. The Double Blue series will be followed by a July 29/30 series when Corner Brook United makes their annual visit to the Burin Peninsula.This series should allow the Laurentians to use some of their youth and allow rest to their injured players but one must never take their opponent for granted. The following weekend of August 6 and Aug 7, the Big Red Machine visits the Soccer Capital on St. Lawrence Day which begins the start of the 2017 St. Lawrence Homecoming. There is no love lost between these two teams but one must realize there is a lot of respect between these two arch-rivals. I would promote the Laurentian vs Holy Cross series as a "can't miss series". Finally the Laurentians will play CBS in their final two outings of the regular season. CBS could very well give the Laurentians a good challenge at home. After all the Laurentians only defeated CBS 1-0 on a PK in their first match of the season and then the two squads played to a scoreless draw in their second contest played at Topsail Field. CBS are the most improved team in the league this year and are capable of pulling an upset.
On behalf of the entire soccer fraternity of Newfoundland and Labrador, my deepest condolences and sympathy goes out on the passing of Dave LeGrow who was a former NLSA executive, Hall of Famer and MPSA Executive/Hall of Famer