CORNER BROOK The Steers Insurance Curling Rangers have taken a series lead after winning a game they never trailed.
Chris Grant and Colin Lynch each scored twice to power the Rangers to a 6-4 triumph over the West Side Monarchs in Game 1 of the Corner Brook Molson Indoor Soccer League best-of-three final.
Tyler Gallant and Dennis Bellows added single markers to the winning tally.
Mark Fitzpatrick, Eddy Traverse, Pat Fewer and Jeff Young replied in the losing cause for the Monarchs.
The Rangers broke out to a 2-0 lead, before the Monarchs got back in the game with a goal of their own before half-time. The two teams traded goals to start the second half, but the Rangers eventually snared a 5-2 lead. The Monarchs got one back to make it 5-3, but the Rangers went up 6-3 to take a stranglehold on the contest. A late Monarchs goal made it a 6-4 final.
“We stuck to our game plan really well right from the start, which was all about tight defence and marking our men,” said Rangers’ Eric Bourgeois. “We did a good job of that and a good job of communicating with each other.”
That attention to defence may be a lightning rod for the defending champion Rangers success in the indoor game, which is usually a goal-fest, at least with regards to soccer.
“Indoor used to be a big parade of goals, even the last couple of years,” Bourgeois said. “But us and the Monarchs play a very similar defensive style where we wait for our chances.
“Yeah, the score was 6-4, but it wasn’t as high scoring as a lot of other games we’ve seen up here,” he added.
Bourgeois lamented letting the Monarchs back in the game every time his side had a chance to plunge the dagger, something he said his side will be wary of when the series resumes on Sunday.
“They scored on their opportunities, but they were opportunities we gave them,” he said. “We were either losing our man or just not being tight enough, so it’s something to keep an eye on for Game 2.”
Monarchs player Jeff Organ pointed at the 2-1 half-time score as a more accurate indication of where the two teams stand.
“Not to make excuses, but I don’t know if it was where we played an outdoor game (on Wednesday) and we had to get back at it playing here (on Thursday),” he said. “The second half it seemed like we were completely flat and they still had energy.
“I give them credit, they made some good plays to score their goals,” he added. “But it just seemed like they had more jump in the second half than we did.”
As attention now turns to Game 2, Organ believes a better start could produce a happier ending for his team.
“We need to come out and get that first goal,” he said. “Put the pressure on them right away and make them come back on us. Hopefully then we can keep the pace going for the full game.”
Even though the more prestigious outdoor league’s regular season started Wednesday night with a 2-2 draw between the Monarchs and CB Dominion Under-18s, the indoor league title still has worth, according to Organ.
“It’s been years since we won indoor,” he said. “It’d be nice to win it to give us some confidence heading into the outdoor season. It would start us on a positive note.”
Now that the Rangers have a chance to wrap up the indoor championship Sunday before they take to the field for the outdoor opener on Monday night, they’re hoping to make like a mediocre comedian and get ‘er done.
“We want to put it to bed badly,” Bourgeois said. “We’ve got a full (outdoor) schedule starting next week, so it’s time to clew this up.”