The Vancouver Island Masters 2022/23 all-star team visited the Fraser Valley all-stars on Jan. 7 after a few years without what’s typically an annual affair thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
”We started out a little slow,” said player/coach Neall Rowlings about his team’s initial play.
Heading into the second half the Island lads found themselves down 2-0.
It would have stayed that way if not for the “heroic efforts” by Stuart (Shake N Bake) Barker, Rowlings explained.
Barker scored two goals to even the score and pushed Fraser Valley directly into a shootout.
While 49ers goalie Darian Achurch fared well between the pipes for the Island squad, only Will Moore and Neall Rowlings could score, whilst Fraser Valley scored thrice.
The epic comeback fell just short with Vancouver Island falling 3-2 in kicks.
Regardless of the result, Rowlings felt the team played well. And while 10 of his 49ers teammates were on the team, Rowlings chose to highlight some of the other players instead.
“Jesse Grass of Cowichan Steelheads, had an amazing half on left back,” he said. “He was everywhere and full of energy. Dean Anderson of UVic, led us at half time with an inspirational speech and the second assist. Will Moore of UVic, stepped up as captain on the field with Jesse Winter and helped assist the second goal.”
Rowlings continued: “Alex Thammavog of Prospect Lake, just kept running all over the field with purpose” and Steven Scott of UVic, created the first goal and continued to push their goaltender and defender the entire way.”
Vic West’s Zak Bougraine “was full of energy and speed chasing everyone down and creating opportunities,” Rowlings added.
Up next for the 49ers is a game against Vic West Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Sherman Road turf.