They’ve faced the Hazelton Strikers in the finals in countless tournaments before this one, so why would Terrace Riverboat Days be any different?
The Prince Rupert Football Club (PRFC) United made it all the way to the championship game in the eight-team tourney and their opponents were none other than the Strikers in the men’s open division.
But unlike previous matches this summer, PRFC couldn’t topple their opponents and lost 2-1 in extra time.
“It was a pretty good exchange. There was a lot of technical play at first and then basically we played back and forth,” said manager James Brown.
“We had a number of chances to win the game, but they were also pretty good at moving the ball up.”
Hazelton opened the scoring on a scramble in front of PRFC goaltender Rampi Gill before Rupert struck back on a goal by Jurgen Wagner, who used his teammates to his advantage.
“[Wagner is] a young player on our team, he did pretty good. He had a real nice goal from a header set up by Marcel Barrelon,” said Brown.
A few athletes were down for the count by the final day as well due to some higher temperatures and the wear and tear of the tournament.
“Some of them were cramping up, but no excuses. [The match] just went back and forth. We had fun.”
Facing seven other teams from the Northwest, the Terrace tourney features some of the best competition this area has to offer. Included in the contests, among others, were two teams from Terrace and one from Kitimat, Gitsegukla, Greenville and Kispiox as well as two from Hazelton.
“I thought it was a real clean game; a little bit of physicality but … we never had any confrontation. Everyone was there to compete. I thought it was one of our better games of the year. It could have gone either way,” said Brown.
The Strikers scored in the first half of extra time to put them up for good at 2-1, and gave Prince Rupert its second second-place finish this summer, to go along with two championships.
They’ve won $10,700 in four tournaments and collected $1,200 from Terrace’s tourney.
Along with the United, Fabio Pomponio’s master’s division team of players aged 35-plus fared decently but fell along the way to the finals in their first big tournament.
“They seemed to be in good spirits,” said Brown.
“It’s always nerve-wracking figuring out what your lineups are going to be especially when you slap together a team, but we tried to help them and give them advice.”
The next scheduled tournament for the United is the Labour Day weekend competition in Prince Rupert.