The game finished the same way it started, with an exciting penalty-shootout between capital-city sides.
But the result was different.
The Holy Cross Kirby Group Crusaders captured their third straight Johnson Insurance Challenge Cup Sunday, defeating their St. John’s rival, Feildians Stavanger Dental, 1-0 in the provincial men’s soccer championship final at Centennial Field in St. Lawrence.
After the game went scoreless through the 90-plus-minute regular session and 30 minutes of overtime play, the game went to penalty kicks, where Holy Cross held a 4-2 edge.
The championship tournament had started Friday with the 1-2 Page playoff game between Holy Cross, which topped the regular-season standings and second-place Feildians, That one had also gone past overtime, with the Double Blues downing the Crusaders 3-2 after fashioning a 3-1 victory in the penalty-kick shootout.
In Sunday’s final, goalkeepers Sam Hawco of Holy Cross and Braeden Sheppard of Feildians put in shutout performances for more than two hours of play. Hawco, who stopped two of four Feildians in the shootout, was named the playoff MVP.
Besides the outcome, the other noticeable difference between the Holy Cross-Feildians matches was the weather. Wind and rain had been the order of the day Friday, but conditions were much more pleasant Sunday, with a game played under clear skies.
But while blue prevailed in the heavens, it wasn’t that way on the pitch Sunday as the Red and Gold of Holy Cross pulled out the win.
It is the 20th provincial Challenge Cup for Holy Cross since Newfoundland began participating in the national Challenge Cup competition in 1967, with nine of the titles coming in the last 11 years. The Crusaders also won a Newfoundland crown in 1950.
Sunday’s result also means that the provincial Challenge Cup champion since 1992 has been either Holy Cross or St. Lawrence, with two exceptions, in 2003 (Mount Pearl) and 2004 (Marystown).
Feildians is left with just one N.L. Challenge Cup title, that one coming 50 years ago.
Provincial soccer Hall of Famer Ed Moyst, who had been part of that championship team in 1969, was on hand in St. Lawrence over the weekend, and he watched the Double Blues come oh, so close to repeating the feat a half-century later.
Their win Friday had sent Feildians directly to Sunday’s final. Holy Cross, meanwhile, cashed in its double life and headed to a semifinal game Saturday, where it defeated the host St. Lawrence Laurentians 2-0. The Laurentians had won Friday’s 3-4 Page playoff, eliminating the C.B.S. That Pro Look Strikers in a 2-1 decision.
Holy Cross’s latest victory means it will represent Newfoundland and Labrador when metro St. John's hosts the 2019 Toyota national championships Oct. 9-14.
The Newfoundland representatives will be in a pool with British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick.
Holy Cross has won three national medals, including gold in 1988, and the Crusaders came close to a podium finish last year, when they were fourth.
The Canadian men’s championship is being held in conjunction with the national women’s Jubilee Trophy competition, where this province will have two entries, local champion Holy Cross Avalon Ford and runner-up Feildians Greensleeves.
But while the local second-place finisher has a place in this year’s Canadian women’s tournament, there is just one Newfoundland team on the men’s side. That’s because the Northwest Territories is sending an entry, making for an even 10 provincial and territorial teams in the male event.
Over the Challenge Cup championship weekend, the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association handed out its senior male, awards for the 2019 season.
Challenge Cup finalists Holy Cross and Feildians dominated the selections, earning nine of 11 all-star selections and taking home all the individual awards.
Goalie: Sam Hawco. Holy Cross
Defender: Jonus Lunde, Feildians
Defender: Greg Reid, Feildians
Defender: Alex Pretty, Holy Cross
Midfielder: Felly Elonda, Feildians
Midfielder: Emmanuel Dolo Feildians
Midfielder: Jordi Slaney, St. Lawrence
Midfielder: Owen McAleese, Holy Cross
Striker: Tyler Forsey, Feildians
Striker: Jacob Grant, Holy Cross
Striker: Stefan Slaney, St. Lawrence
First place regular season: Holy Cross
Coach of the year: Jake Stanford, Holy Cross
Golden Boot (top scorer): Tyler Forsey, Feildians
Top defender: Alex Pretty, Holy Cross
Most spirited: Simon Pope, Feildians
Top goalie: Sam Hawco, Holy Cross
Rookie of the year: Jonus Lunde, Feildians
Top midfielder: Felly Elonda, Feildians
Regular-season MVP: Felly Elonda, Feildians
Challenge Cup champions
Provincial senior men’s soccer winners since 1950:
1950 - Holy Cross
1951 - St. Lawrence
1952 - St. Lawrence
1953 - St. John's
1954 - Corner Brook
1955 - St. Lawrence
1956 - Corner Brook
1957 - Guards
1958 - Guards
1959 - Guards
1960 - Grand Bank
1961 - Corner Brook
1962 - Grand Bank
1963 - St. Pat's
1964 - Feildians
1965 - Guards
1966 - St. Lawrence
1967 - St. Lawrence
1968 - St. Lawrence
1969 - Feildians
1970 - Grand Bank*
1971 - St. Lawrence
1972 - St. Lawrence
1973 - Holy Cross
1974 - Grand Bank
1975 - St. Lawrence
1976 - St. Lawrence
1977 - St. Lawrence
1978 - St. Lawrence
1979 - Holy Cross
1980 - St. Lawrence
1981 - Holy Cross
1982 - St. Lawrence
1983 - Holy Cross
1984 - Holy Cross
1985 - Holy Cross
1986 - Holy Cross
1987 - Lawn
1988 - Holy Cross**
1989 - Holy Cross
1990 - Burin
1991 - Burin
1992 - Holy Cross
1993 - St. Lawrence
1994 - Holy Cross
1995 - St. Lawrence
1996 - St. Lawrence
1997 - St. Lawrence
1998 - St. Lawrence
1999 - St. Lawrence
2000 - St. Lawrence
2001 - St. Lawrence
2002 - St. Lawrence
2003 - Mount Pearl
2004 - Marystown
2005 - St. Lawrence
2006 - St. Lawrence
2007 - St. Lawrence
2008 - St. Lawrence
2009 - Holy Cross
2010 - Holy Cross
2011 - Holy Cross
2012 - Holy Cross
2013 - St. Lawrence
2014 - Holy Cross
2015 – Holy Cross
2016 – St. Lawrence
2017 – Holy Cross
2018 – Holy Cross
2019 – Holy Cross
* Grand Bank won provincial championship, but an all-star team represented Newfoundland in national play
** Holy Cross won the national Challenge Cup championship