Seen here in a game earlier this season, Dan Citra was one of LMG’s top performers in Powell River last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Seen here in a game earlier this season, Dan Citra was one of LMG’s top performers in Powell River last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan LMG escapes Powell River with three points

Wins are hard to come by at Timberlane Park

Cowichan LMG head coach Ryan Flynn knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game when his team travelled across the Georgia Strait for a Div. 1 men’s soccer match against Powell River Villa last Saturday.

Powell River isn’t among the top teams in the Vancouver Island Soccer League — Cowichan sits second overall and Powell River is ninth — but Villa is always hard to play against at home.

“I can honestly say it wasn’t an easy one,” Flynn said. “We’ve had easier games this year against tougher opponents.”

In the end, Cowichan escaped with a 3-2 victory.

“It was a good, greasy game,” Flynn reported. “Not pretty. It’s hard to get points in Powell River, so it was nice we got all three. That’s for sure.”

Jordan Korven scored his first of the season, Dan Citra had his fourth, and Jordan De Graaf notched his sixth in four games with Cowichan and ninth overall, but the heroes of the match also included Connor Crichton and Conor Williams, who were called up from Div. 3, and backup goalkeeper Taylor Joe. Crichton played 90 minutes at centre midfield, while Williams, who thought he was only on the trip to drive the team bus, ended up playing 20 minutes after Cowichan went up 3-2.

“Defensively, he helped seal the game up,” Flynn said of Williams. “He wasn’t expecting to play, but I thought we might as well call him up anyway.”

Joe made the start in net, seeing his first action of the season. A couple of easy saves helped him ease into the match, but he made some big stops down the stretch and earned the hard hat as Man of the Match.

“He gave us a chance to win,” Flynn said. “That’s all you can ask from a backup goalie. He’s a guy who comes to every training session, and the guys like him.”

With five wins, one draw and one loss, LMG is one place back of undefeated Lakehill and one point up on the third-place Victoria Highlanders, but the Cowichan club has a game in hand on both teams. LMG will play host to Bays United at the Sherman Road turf this Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Bays, which boasts former Cowichan sniper Paddy Nelson, who is tied with De Graaf and Lakehill’s Blair Sturrock for the league lead, sits a shocking sixth in Div. 1.

“This is the lowest I’ve seen Bays in the standings this late in the season,” Flynn noted. “They’ve scored a lot of goals, but they’ve given up quite a few. It’s surprising to see.”

It’s not a game for Cowichan to look past, but Flynn is confident in his team.

“All we have to do is shut down Paddy and score more goals than the other guys and we’ll be fine,” he said.

In Div. 3, three different players scored twice and Braeden Nash recorded his third clean sheet of the season as Cowichan Oak FC won 8-0 over Nanaimo United at the Sherman Road turf on Friday night.

Connor Crichton opened the scoring in the second minute, and Luca Klotz added another two minutes later. Stevan Zoric scored his first of the season in the 22nd minute to make it 3-0. When the dust settled, Klotz and Zoric both had two goals, and Alex Smith had a brace to take the league scoring lead with eight on the season. Brandon Tolfo rounded out the scoring for Oak, who travel to Finlayson turf this Saturday for a road match against Castaways FC.

In Div. 4, the Cowichan Fury won 2-0 over Nanaimo United in Nanaimo last Saturday. Riley Wainman scored on a penalty kick and the other goal was an own goal. Alex DeGraaf had the shutout for the Fury, who play host to Prospect Lake this Saturday at 6 p.m.

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