After a back-and-forth first half, the Laval Rouge et Or used a kick-started offence to punch a ticket to Sunday’s Consolation Final with a 1-0 win over the Western Mustangs on Friday morning.
On a cold morning at Gee-Gees Field, both teams needed the entirety of the first half to warm up and adjust to the conditions. Laval and Western, both runners up in their respective conferences, were held scoreless in their quarterfinal losses to Trinity Western and Cape Breton on Thursday.
Through the first 45 minutes, defence was the name of the game for both squads. With only a combined six shots between the teams in the first half, the majority of the early action was played in the mid-field.
A heightened pace in the second half saw both teams increase their offensive pressure, but it was the Rouge et Or who finally broke the stalemate. In the 62nd minute, midfielder Dominique Fortin beat Mustangs keeper Megan Girardi on chip shot inside the six-yard box.
Laval continued to pepper Girardi with shots for the remainder of the match, but the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. native stood tall, turning away 13 shots from the Rouge et Or in the second half.
The Mustangs put forth a valiant effort for an equalizer in the dying minutes of the match, but costly offside calls hampered their breakaway opportunities.
Fortin picked up an untimely yellow card in the 88th minute, giving the Mustangs another solid scoring opportunity, but Laval’s defence was able to turn away the attempt sealing the Rouge et Or win.
“It was hard for us to lose the game earlier,” said Fortin, who was named Laval’s Player of the Game. “We just wanted to win this one and continue to compete in the tournament. We weren’t really happy about the first half, so we came out knowing we needed to do better to win the game.”
Laval will advance to the Consolation Final on Sunday, where they will meet the victor of Friday’s second Consolation Semifinal between Montreal and Calgary.
Players of the Game
- Laval: Dominique Fortin
- Western: Megan Girardi