(OTTAWA, ON) — The Ravens survived the windy remnants of Hurricane Patricia to score a late winner against Nipissing to advance in the OUA East playoffs.
Despite dealing with the outside elements all game, Carleton got a well-deserved go-ahead goal with under ten minutes to play courtesy of fourth-year striker Andrew Bryan (Montreal, QC).
If it were not for the outstanding performance of Lakers keeper Grainger Munro, who came up huge throughout the contest with a plethora of highlight reel saves, the game could have had a much different scoreline.
"We did create numerous opportunities in the second half," said Ravens head coach Sandy Mackie. "[Munro] was the man-of-the-match. He had a couple of outstanding saves."
The windy conditions played a tremendous factor on the flow of the game in the first half as the teams had a difficult time moving the ball through the air. On several free kicks and goal kicks, the soccer ball could be seen rolling away from the players who would then have to respot it.
Nipissing had a best chance of the first half when Jean Michel Paulin broke free down the right wing before sending a low ball across the top of the 6-yard box which went right past the Ravens defenders and keeper Felix Daigle (Gatineau, QC), but there were no Lakers players to convert on the scoring opportunity.
The teams went into halftime tied at 0-0.
Carleton brought on fourth-year midfielder Mintcho Mintchev (Ottawa, ON) to add some grit and energy into the lineup, and it appeared to pay dividends shortly after, as the Ravens began to establish some flow on offence.
In the 58th minute, defender Dondrae Fells (Dartmouth, NS) moved into the 18 yard-box where he had two point-blank range chances to put the Ravens up, but his two headers were kept out of the net. The first shot was heroically turned away by a diving Munro, but the rebound popped out to Fells and his second header hit the cross-bar before falling down on the goal line and amazingly staying out of the net. Carleton shouted and argued for a handball, but to no avail.
Carleton continued to apply pressure in search of the game's first goal. The Ravens broke in on the Lakers net in the 65th minute, and had four shots in a row turned away by Munro. Andrew Bryan, Daud Dahir (Ottawa, ON) and Mekonen Lovemore-White (Ottawa, ON) were all rejected as the Nipissing goalie kept his team alive.
Following some more brilliant scoring chances, the Ravens finally put a goal on the board when Dahir made some excellent moves past a few defenders on the left wing before centering the ball to Bryan whose first attempt on goal was blocked by Munro nearly 18-yards out of the crease, but he was able to collect the rebound and fire the ball home into the gaping net for his 11th goal of the season.
Bryan had a few other glorious chances to add to his scoring lead but the goals were not required come the final whistle.
The victory inches Carleton one game closer to the OUA Final 4. The Ravens will now take the trip down to Toronto to take on the first-place Ryerson Rams in an OUA East semi-final on Sunday.
Source: Carleton Ravens