Upper Canada College vs St. Michael’s College in the CISAA Championship; two neighbours, long-time rivals and the teams with the two best records in the Senior Boys First Division this season. Nothing could have been more appropriate. Even the weather co-operated, as the game was played on a cool, clear, sunny afternoon on the UCC Oval.
The only other meeting between these two titans this year was our first game of the season, back on September 23rd, Association Day. The result that day was strongly in our favour but we knew that it would have little bearing on this game and that St. Mike’s would be determined to win the day. Of course, we would be equally determined and the mood for both teams at kick-off was positive.
As expected, St. Mike’s came out strong, pressuring us and moving the ball quickly. They were able to sustain this for extended periods and much of the first half was played in our end. They had chances on several corner kicks but in the end, very little directly on net. Our defense held strong and the insertion of (always smiling 😉 Sean Langlois into our midfield gave us a lift. Gradually, we were able to penetrate more effectively into the St. Mike’s half. In the 25th minute, Langlois hit their post with a magnificent volley. Then, in the 28th minute, Hilli Goldhar dribbled into their area, was taken down and awarded a penalty. He took the shot himself but the St. Mike’s keeper guessed correctly and made a good save. In the 35th minute, St. Mike’s had one of their best chances of the half when one of their players volleyed narrowly over our net. Then, in the 44th minute, Mark Yatchew found Goldhar with a beautiful pass and Hilli went in one-on-one with their keeper and scored. After the restart, a resilient St. Mike’s quickly worked the ball deep into our end and in injury time, Captain PJ Bujouves made a goal-line clearance to preserve our lead. At the interval, it was UCC 1 – St. Mike’s 0.
The second half saw us begin much more positively. Our passing improved and we began to open the game up, creating more chances. Ben Broer and Thomas Santos on the right side were particularly effective. In the 64th minute, after some great ball movement by Goldhar and Oscar Brown, Langlois scored our second goal. But St. Mike’s came back hard. Mark Yatchew, fighting illness, was a rock on defense, but eventually had to be substituted. Daniel Cooper came in, and along with Theo Heintzman, Amen Ashebir and keeper Jeremy Zhang, made sure our defense held tight. In the 75th minute, as St. Mike’s were pressing, it was Justin Kim on a counter attack, who drove in on the left flank and put a blistering shot past the approaching St. Mike’s keeper. This, as it would turn out, was the final goal of the game (and a fantastic season) , as we held on to preserve the shut-out and the big win. Full time score: UCC 3 – St. Mike’s 0.
It was an outstanding finish to what has been a remarkable season: CAIS National Tournament Champions, a perfect 9 – 0 regular season leading to our 4th consecutive League Championship and finally our 3rd consecutive CISAA Championship. Astonishingly, in 17 games this season, we allowed only 5 goals: 3 in the league and 2 at CAIS. This is an achievement that has never been equaled! All Orca! …and some positive advice from Grandmother Mouse!
The team would like to thank our physio Rae Firmeza, our team parent Roz Heintzman and all the fans, friends and family members who came out throughout the season and especially for the Championship game. Your support made a big difference and has been greatly appreciated. The sun has finally set on this season but the many warm memories of ‘the beautiful game’ and this beautiful season will linger on.