By Sean Rooney on March 20, 2018.
Two Medicine Hat-based indoor soccer teams finished on the podium at provincials this past weekend, including one on home turf and another that brought home a title.
While the under-18 boys Tier 2 Rattlers Athletic Soccer Club won bronze at the Family Leisure Centre Sunday, the under-14 boys Tier 2 Rattlers were in Edmonton and struck gold.
“It’s pretty special, it’s been a long time since we had a gold and especially in Tier 2,” said under-14 coach Hugh Lehr. “For the under-18’s to get bronze… is a big accomplishment as well.”
Tier 2 is a higher level than Tier 3 in soccer ranks, and Medicine Hat sent teams at both levels across the province.
Lehr had a good feeling about his crew before the first game, but nothing was handed to them.
“We won our last tournament in Edmonton, actually beat the first-place Calgary team 4-3 in the tournament,” said Lehr. “We were hitting our stride going in for sure.”
They faced that same Calgary team, the MSB Destroyers, on Friday and eked out a 5-4 win. After shutting out Edmonton SW Sting Saturday they still needed a win over a different Calgary team to close the round robin as a first-place team. Only the round robin winner advanced to the gold medal game.
They trailed 1-0 but won it 2-1.
“We scored with five minutes left,” said Lehr. “It was a hard-fought weekend for sure.
“Even from coaching them I was exhausted after every game.”
Kian Simon had two goals and Kelton Flaig the other in the final, while Carson Lansberry put up a wall in goal.
As for the under-18 boys Tier 2 team, it turned out the final minutes of their first game helped more than expected.
Medicine Hat scored four late goals in a 7-1 Friday victory, then lost their last two round robin games. But three of the four teams in their pool also finished 1-2, each beating the other, so goal differential was factored in and the Rattlers got to play for bronze.
They made the most of it Sunday, beating Edmonton Xtreme 5-4. Adam Khan had four goals for the hosts, Kyle Giesbrecht the other. Khan led the tournament with nine goals all-told on the weekend.
Elsewhere in the province, wins were tough to come by. In boys under-12 Tier 2 at Edmonton, Medicine Hat went 1-2. The under-16 boys were 1-1-2 in Calgary and the under-18 Rattlers girls went 0-3 in Lethbridge.
As for Tier 3 play, RASC’s under-12 boys went 1-3 in Calgary, the under-12 girls went 2-1 to take fifth with an 8-3 win over Springbank in Lethbridge, the under-14 boys were fourth with a 2-2 record in Edmonton, the under-14 girls went 0-2-1 in Calgary and the under-18 boys went 1-3 at the Family Leisure Centre.