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Men’s Soccer Claims Third ThunderHawks Challenge Cup On Penalties

After defeating Confederation College by a score of 7-1 in their opening match of the Challenge Cup, it took penalty shots in Sunday afternoon's Cup Final against Lakehead University to determine a 2015 winner in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The Blazers conceded an early goal on a corner kick scramble against the Confederation ThunderHawks, but in the following 85 minutes it was all CMU as Jaime Hamilton scored twice and Ryan Jensen, Ben Wride, Michael Veremu, Afonso Arrais and Justin Jutzi added single goals to take the important three points that would set up Sunday's match of Lakehead versus CMU to become the Cup Final. 

Like CMU, the ThunderWolves handed Confederation College a lopsided defeat, in the case of Lakehead's first match the final score was 8-0.

"This annual match with Lakehead has always been one that we circle on our schedule," explained CMU head coach Russell Willms, "we have been very evenly matched opponents for the four years we've competed in this tournament, and it was again the case this year." The Blazers defeated Lakehead 1-0 in 2014, 2-1 in 2013 and in 2012, Lakehead would claim the Challenge Cup on a 2-1 victory.

A revamped formation allowed CMU to hold the majority of possession in the opening 45 minutes of the final and likewise, create most of the goal scoring chances. Late in the half the Blazers made it 1-0 on Ben Klassen's first CMU goal, as the first year midfielder poked it in off a corner kick in the 39th minute.

The ThunderWolves had two glorious chances in the mid-second half go missing, whilst CMU continued to look comfortable playing with the lead. 

With 4 minutes remaining in the match, calm turned to panic for the Blazers as Lakehead equalized on a half-chance that found the back of the net and set up what would be a thrilling penalty shootout to determine a winner.

Goals by Simon Dueck, Imran Karama, Cole Johnson and Andrew Letkeman and two missed Lakehead penalties against Thomas Friesen, produced a 2-1 scoreline and a third Challenge Cup for the Blazers; making it three consecutive titles and three in five tournament appearances.

Men's Soccer hopes to keep the momentum rolling as they host the defending MCAC Champions on Wednesday night at the Winnipeg Soccer Complex. Earlier in the season, Les Rouges defeated the Blazers 2-1 at Memorial Park setting up a monster midweek clash between the two opponents. Kick-off is scheduled for 7pm.

Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association