Freemen Win Fourth Consecutive MCAC Title
Kaiten Critchlow earns player of the game award as Providence wins MCAC Championship
Andry Giesbrecht recorded a goal and an assist, Brennen White earned the blank sheet, and the Providence Freemen won the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Championship banner Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 victory over the Canadian Mennonite University Blazers.
The MCAC Championship featured a re-match of last year’s final that saw CMU fall to Providence 2-1 in a game that needed overtime to be solved. With the history, rivalry, and a title on the line, today’s game was expected to be a competitive and physically demanding match-up, and the teams did not disappoint.
The Freemen took control of the play right from the opening whistle as they mounted attack after attack. Providence created numerous scoring opportunities but remained unable to put the finishing touches on their efforts for most of the half as the Blazers kept a tight defensive strategy. However, in the 37th minute, after stopping a counter-attack from the Blazers, the Freemen moved the ball up the right wing and then onto the foot of Mario Giesbrecht. Mario then showed MCAC fans why a CCSN blogger referred to him as a ‘Bulldog’ as he battled and accelerated past a CMU defender and then fed a pass into the penalty area that his brother, Andry, made no mistake in finishing.
Behind by one, CMU brought in their long-throw specialist to try and create problems for the Freemen defense, but they once again stepped up and remained ahead of the challenge. The half finished with Providence leading 1-0.
CMU then came out stronger in the second half and started to control play for the first part of the half. However, the pressure didn’t amount to scoring opportunities as the defense prevented any shots on net and keeper Brennen White scooped up any through balls and crosses into the penalty area.
Coach Ward, seeing the change in pressure, then substituted the always energetic freshman forward Brendan Wiens into the game to create a spark for his squad. The move paid off within minutes as Andry Giesbrecht cut across the middle, caught the attention of the defenders, and then sent a through ball down the right side that Wiens ran on to and put behind the CMU keeper. The game then finished with both teams attacking aggressively, but the score ended at 2-0 which was enough to give the Providence Freemen their fourth consecutive MCAC title.
Individual awards were also handed out after the game as player of the game awards were given to CMU defender Jeff Klassen and Providence defender Kaiten Critchlow. The tournament MVP was also presented following the match as “The South American Sensation” Andry Giesbrecht earned the honour totaling 4 goals and 2 assists in the 2-game tournament.
Providence Freemen head coach Martin Ward left the game impressed with both the way his team played and with the way that CMU stepped up their play in the championship game.
“I think it was good for us to have a good, hard game,” Coach Ward said. “CMU always seems to raise their performance in the championship game, and they did again today.”
“It was good to win the championship, I thought everyone played well and contributed to the win. It was a hard game too, and that’s what we needed. It makes us realize that we need to continue to work hard as we enter next weekend.”
Game Stats: Andry Giesbrecht 1G 1A, Brendan Wiens 1G, Mario Giesbrecht 1A
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