Capers reach first-ever national final

Capers reach first-ever national final
The Cape Breton Capers earned a historic 2-0 victory over the UQTR Patriotes Friday afternoon in the first semifinal match of the CIS men’s soccer championship at TELUS-UL Stadium.

With the win, the AUS champions will play in the gold-medal final for the first time in program history Sunday at 2 p.m. EST. The Capers’ previous best result on the national stage came a year when they claimed the bronze medal.

Despite the loss, the Patriotes still have the opportunity to reach the podium for the first time when they play in the bronze medal game, also on Sunday, at 11:30 a.m. EST. Today’s duel marked UQTR’s first-ever CIS semifinal appearance.

Cape Breton head coach Robbie Chiasson was happy his team got the lead early in the game. “Getting the lead early, especially going against the wind, was a big boost to the team. Then it was a matter of seeing if we were able to maintain that lead because they really pressured us in the first half. We were pretty pleased to end the first half ahead 1-0,” Chiasson said.

“We were fortunate to get the second goal; it almost seemed to be the goal that sealed it. You could see there was a change after that,” he added.

Obviously disappointed with the result, UQTR coach Pierre Clermont talked about the strength of his opponents. “They came out with more intensity than us. They played a big first half, they had a lot more life than we did. In the second half, we gave it everything we had, but they had a solid back field.”

“I’m still proud of the guys, we worked hard all the way until the end, even when it was 2-0. We will bounce back to the bronze medal game. We want to play one last good match this season.”

Cape Breton was quick to impose its rhythm. Four minutes in, Ian Greedy of Lower Sackville, N.S., took a good shot to beat UQTR keeper Raphaël Bélanger-Vaillancourt.

The goal seemed to wake the Patriotes up as they came back with a couple of great scoring chances of their own but were unable to put a single shot on net. The Capers’ goal was actually the only shot on net of the half on both sides.

Greedy hurt the RSEQ champions in the second half. In the 59th minute, his second goal of the game seemed to kill UQTR’s hopes of a comeback. For many long minutes after that, the Patriotes had a tough time only getting out of their own end. Greedy even came close to completing the hat-trick but his strike from the box flew past the net.

In the last 10 minutes of the contest, Trois-Rivières attacked more frequently. In the 86th minute, Abdoulaye came close to cutting the deficit in half. His powerful shot was going straight into the top right corner but a spectacular dive by keeper Andrew Murphy preserved the shutout and secured his team’s spot in the final.