Thomas Ford surveys the field for an open teammate during Sunday's P.E.I. Canada Games contest with Fundy United at UPEI.
©Jason Malloy/The Guardian
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Prince Edward Island’s Canada Games soccer squad trailed two men’s teams this weekend, but battled back to earn a win and a tie.
And they did it while missing seven guys on Friday and eight on Sunday from its 18-player roster due to injuries.
“Those two comeback wins, for us, are real big character builders,” head coach Lewis Page said Sunday.
P.E.I. tied Codiac First Touch 2-2 on Friday and beat Fundy United 3-1 on Sunday in McCain New Brunswick Premier Soccer League action. Both games were played at UPEI.
P.E.I. went to the half training 1-0 on Sunday before Jensen Gauthier tied it and Donovan Bear scored the winner and the insurance marker.
“We threw a lot at them today with two or three different tactial changes in the second half. They all kept their composure, kept working hard and adjusted well,” Page said.
With players out with a variety of ailments, the Island squad relied on its veterans and younger affiliated players to help fill the void.
“Full credit to the guys that were still palying for their leadership and their commitment this weekend,” Page said. “To the young guys that came to play for us, I think that speaks volumes to our player development program we have with the P.E.I. Soccer Association. These are guys that are in our provincial team program that can just come in and play for the Canada Games team like that and we don't miss a beat.”
Roan Saengmeng and Bear scored in Friday’s contest while keeper Brandon Lund made a number of quality stops in both games for P.E.I.
Page said Brandon Eagle and Nathan Ford have both been working with the Island keepers in preparation for this summer’s Games experience.
The provincial team travelled to Winnipeg last summer, Montreal in March and recently completed an Atlantic tournament. They will play in the premier league until going to Winnipeg for the Games in early August.
“It’s a league that’s full of current and former AUS players,” Page said of the New Brunswick circuit that includes the SoccerStop P.E.I. F.C. “These kids are playing against university-calibre players that are sometimes six, seven, eight years older than them. We’re getting really good competition in this New Brunswick premier soccer league.”
P.E.I. F.C. 8 Fundy 3
Jared Murphy scored four times Saturday to lead P.E.I. F.C. to an 8-3 win over Fundy United.
Cameron O'Hanley added a pair of markers while Sam Smiley and MonSang Aung added singles.
MacKenzie Tamblyn and MacKenzie Tamblyn scored twice for Fundy while Alex Allison added one.
Eagle played the first half with Brett Strba playing the second half.
P.E.I. F.C. improved its record to 1-1-1.
P.E.I. Canada Games left wing Donovan Bears sets up a pass Sunday against Fundy United at UPEI.