Goalie Rakochy finds magic touch, twice

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports - Ted CLARKE Cit­i­zen staff [email protected]­i­t­i­zen.ca

Jeff Rakochy has seen many days as a soc­cer goalie but never had he won backto-back cham­pi­onships with two dif­fer­ent teams on the same day.

Un­til Satur­day.

Min­utes af­ter back­stop­ping a 4-2 win for the McQuick Gun­ners over the Great Cana­dian Bank Reds in the Prince George Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion 45-plus men’s di­vi­sion Satur­day afternoon on a rain-soaked North Cari­boo Field, Rakochy, was back be­tween the pipes play­ing for Sub­way in the Men’s Open Di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship.

Rakochy won that one as well, com­ing up with an­other bril­liant dis­play of net­mind­ing to help his team pull off a sur­pris­ing 3-2 win over PG Dome, the heav­ily-favoured cham­pi­ons of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

“I tried last year, I won one and lost the fi­nal in the Div. 1 (open di­vi­sion) fi­nal when I played for PG Dome – ob­vi­ously to­day was a good day,” said the 42-year-old Rakochy, who played two sea­sons for UNBC in the early 2000s, just be­fore the T-wolves joined the B.C. col­lege league.

“To play with the old boys that I’ve been play­ing with for a long time and to pull off the win as a bit of an un­der­dog, it worked out well. We had some subs and that made a big dif­fer­ence.

“Then in the se­cond game, (PG Dome) had a lot of subs and we went up two goals and their bench added to the games and they started get­ting pretty good pres­sure on us, but we just dug our heels in and played smart. The guys ad­justed to the wet con­di­tions and a bit of wind in our faces for the se­cond half and we kind of pre­pared our­selves for that.”

Rakochy set the tone early in the open fi­nal when he dove at the last minute to take away a shot from Madeiros that was dip­ping down into the net.

“I picked it up re­ally late and I caught it on the goal line and it bounced off my shins back to­wards the goal line,” said Rakochy.

“When you make a save early in a game it kind of lifts you up and you know your radar’s on so I just car­ried through with that.”

Cheona Edz­erza’s se­cond penalty-shot goal of the game in the 70th minute proved the dif­fer­ence. Edz­erza booted a low shot that skipped off the turf past the feet of goalie Emer­son Secor.

But there was still plenty of time and PG Dome made it dif­fi­cult for Rakochy the rest of the game. Cayle David­son rapped a shot of the cross­bar and so did his team­mate, Jon La­fontaine. The save of the game came not long af­ter that.

Ra­cochy’s anticipati­on com­ing out 25 yards to block a shot from Josh McAvoy was a real show­stop­per.

Sub­way started with just one spare player and when star striker Matt Ju­binville left the game late in the first half with a wrenched neck and his team cling­ing to a 2-0 lead it seemed only a mat­ter of time be­fore PG Dome would start find­ing the net, which they did.

Early in the se­cond half McAvoy missed the net high on a penalty shot and not long af­ter that Joao Medeiros took a long side­line pass from Con­nor Lewis and kicked the ball past Ra­cochy to cut the lead in half. PG Dome tied it a few min­utes later when David­son made good on his penalty shot.

Sub­way went 0-3 in the reg­u­lar sea­son against PG Dome but added some late­sea­son re­cruits and they made a dif­fer­ence in the fi­nal.

“They came out in the first half re­ally hard and we had to try to bat­tle back and it’s tough try­ing to play catch-up soc­cer,” said La­fontaine. “They have a cou­ple of exUNBC guys out there (Ju­binville, Edz­erza, Brett Bo­bier and Liam Ste­wart).

“I think we outchanced them in the se­cond half quite a bit and Jeff stood on his head and made three or four game­break­ing saves at the end of the game there. Four penalty shot in a fi­nal, that doesn’t hap­pen very of­ten in a fi­nal.”

Ju­binville, the play­off MVP with eight goals in three games, gave Sub­way the early lead early lead, which Edz­erza added to with his first penalty shot. In the game, ref­eree Car­los Her­nan­dez called two penalty shots in each team.

In the 45-plus men’s fi­nal, the Gun­ners claimed their fifth straight play­off cham­pi­onship. Craig Christie scored two goals, while Tien Mueller and Travis Sil­lence, with the gamewin­ner, also scored. Gra­ham Han­cock and Merv Skulsh found the net for the Reds, who cap­tured the reg­u­lar sea­son crown.

“Our guys know how to win when it comes to play­off time,” said Christie, a 56-year-old mid­fielder.

“We might be the old­est team in the league. We had five of six subs and that’s where you get your en­ergy. We just have this ca­ma­raderie and when push comes to shove and we have all the guys show up we just find a way to win.”

CIT­I­ZEN PHOTO BY JAMES DOYLE

Sub­way (white) took on PG Dome in the Prince George Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion’s Di­vi­sion 1 men’s fi­nal on Satur­day afternoon at North Cari­boo Field.

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