The perfect ending to a storybook season.
The West Side Monarchs capped off an undefeated season in the Corner Brook Molson Senior Men’s Soccer League with a 3-1 victory over the Northridge Curling Rangers in the final showdown Saturday at Wellington Soccer Field.
The victory gave the boys in yellow a third straight senior men’s soccer playoff crown after going through hills and valleys of a drought that lasted for 20 years.
Ryan Dawe was the offensive leader for the winning side with a two-goal game, while seasoned veteran Clarence Bennett delivered a highlight-reel goal to open the scoring to swing the momentum in favour of the defending champs.
Ryan Rose scored in the dying minutes of regulation time to spoil keeper Mark Woodman’s shot at a shutout to close out the season.
“Everyone is pumped to end the season on a good note,” Monarchs player/coach Cory Mosher said, while still noting an unfortunate injury to Rangers’ Matt Noseworthy during the game put a damper on the victory.
Noseworthy, just 12 minutes into the game, suffered two broken bones in his leg after colliding with a Monarchs player on a tackle around the centre of the field. Players from both sides made the promising Rangers forward comfortable as he lay still on the grass waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
The quietness, fighting through the swirling wind that prevailed during the game, was broken when fans and players gave a warm applause for Noseworthy when he was leaving the field on a stretcher in the hands of the first responders.
Noseworthy was expected to undergo surgery Monday.
“We had an undefeated season and got the championship, so it was a good summer.”
Bennett, no stranger to coming up with big goals in big games, drilled a long shot from 35 yards out at 35 minutes that sailed high over the six-foot-two Nick Taylor holding down the Rangers net.
Dawe scored his first of the game when he pounced on a rebound from a Pat Fewer direct kick and fired it into the yawning net. The play was a result of keeper Nick Taylor receiving a red card and removed from the crease for putting his hands on the ball outside the 18-yard box to make a save.
Dennis Bellows was in goal for the direct kick after Taylor was removed and Brad Burton filled in for the balance of the game as the Monarchs kept pushing forward despite taking a territorial edge in play with two goals on the board.
Dawe scored his third goal at 60 minutes when he broke through a couple of defenders and fired a shot that Burton slowed down with his right hand, but not enough to stop it from trickling over the goal line.
Rose scored later to put the Rangers on the scoresheet, but it wasn’t enough as time ran out on the blue and white who had earned a berth in the final by racking up a string of wins while facing elimination after a fifth-place finish in the regular campaign.
Mosher had high praise for the opposition, pointing out that the Rangers are always a tough team to play against come playoff time and he gave them props for putting up a great battle.
“It was a good, desperate, hard-fought game,” Mosher said. “Even though they didn’t have the best regular season, when it comes to the playoffs you can never count them out, no matter what.”